Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Swedish prosecutor drops Assange rape investigation

Updated

But WikiLeaks founder still faces arrest for jumping bail in U.K.

Thomson Reuters
Posted: May 19, 2017 5:27 AM ET
Last Updated: May 19, 2017 6:26 AM ET

Sweden’s top prosecutor said Friday she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, bringing to an end a seven-year legal stand-off. 

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement that Marianne Ny “has decided to discontinue the investigation.”

Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London in 2012 to escape extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sex-crime allegations from two women. He has been there ever since, fearing that if he is arrested he might ultimately be extradited to the United States to face charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of classified American documents. 

Friday’s announcement means Assange is no longer under any investigation in Sweden.

He is still wanted in Britain for jumping bail, and London’s police service has said he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy, though officials also appeared to hint on Friday that this is not a top priority. 

“Mr. Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence,” than the original rape charge, the Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement. 

“The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence.” 

SWEDEN-ASSANGE/BRITAIN

Police officers stand outside the Ecuadorian embassy in August 2015. London’s police service appeared to hint on Friday that arresting Assange on his remaining charge of bail jumping was not a top priority. (Peter Nicholls/Reuters)

With files from CBC News and The Associated Press

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