Sweden drop rape case probe against WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

In a recent development, Swedish lawmakers have dropped the investigations against WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, which alleged him of rape back in August 2010. The decision will set free Assange after a 7-year legal stand-off.

In a statement, the Prosecutors’ Office said that:

  • “Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny has today decided to discontinue the preliminary investigation regarding suspected rape concerning Julian Assange.”

In 2012, Assange, an Australian citizen took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to protect himself from extradition to Sweden over the rape allegation. He also believes that once extradited to Sweden the authorities may extradite him to the United States where he might face death penalty over leaking highly sensitive documents related to the U.S. military and other diplomatic events on behalf of WikiLeaks.

The rape case investigations kicked off in 2010, while this Friday 19th, 2017 was the last day for the prosecutors to decide whether to drop the case or renew it. According to Assange lawyer Per E Samuelsson in Sweden:

  • “This is a total victory for Julian Assange. He is now free to leave the embassy when he wants. We have won the Assange case. He is, of course, happy and relieved. He has been critical that it has lasted that long.”

However, things may not be as easy as they sound since London’s Metropolitan Police have stated that despite dropping case Assange will still be arrested if he tried to leave the embassy. According to the official statement from the police:

  • “Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr. Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offense.”

Melinda Taylor, another Assange’s lawyer told TT news agency that dropping the investigation or lifting the arrest warrant does not necessarily mean Assange could simply leave to Ecuador.

“The first thing one likely needs to do is to seek guarantees from the British authorities that he won’t be seized in some other way,” said Taylor.

The US Justice Department still mulling charges against Assange, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that prosecution of organizations like Wikileaks is a “priority.”

A couple of days ago, Chelsea Manning who was imprisoned in 2010 for sharing sensitive documents with WikiLeaks, came out free after commuted by President Obama and now Assange. It looks like it’s a win-win situation for WikiLeaks but it will be a bumpy ride since the U.S. authorities do whatever it takes to snub Assange; especially after Vault7 leaks exposing CIA’s hacking tactics and tools.

This story is developing, more to follow therefore stay tuned.

Image Credit: Flickr/Surian Soosay

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