Swedish prosecutor drops rape probe into WikiLeaks' Assange

Swedish prosecutor drops rape probe into WikiLeaks' Assange

Swedish prosecutor drops rape probe into WikiLeaks' Assange

Scotland Yard said on Friday that it is still obliged to execute a warrant issued by Westminster magistrates court for the arrest of Assange after his breach of bail conditions in June 2012.

The UK government declined to comment Friday on whether the US has asked for Assange's extradition, but last month US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Assange's arrest was a "priority".

Assange, 45, took refuge in the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over the rape allegation, which he denies.

"The proper war is just commencing", he told the crowd of reporters and onlookers gathered outside the embassy.

But the United Kingdom has not commented on whether it has received an extradition request from the U.S., where Mr Assange could face trial over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret USA military and diplomatic documents.

Assange has been holed up at Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid extradition to answer questions about sex-crime allegations from two women.

Assange said Friday his legal team would contact United Kingdom officials to seek a way forward in resolving his status.

British police said despite Sweden's decision to drop a rape investigation, Assange still faces arrest if he leaves Ecuador's embassy in London.

British police kept up a round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until December 2015, when the operation was scaled back partly because of the costs, which had exceeded 11 million pounds (over $17.5 million at the time).

"But it by no means erases seven years of detention without charge under house arrest and nearly five years here in this embassy without sunlight", Assange said.

"The decision to discontinue the preliminary investigation is not because we've been able to make a full assessment of the evidence in this case, but because we didn't see any possibilities to advance the investigation forward".

United States attorney general Jeff Sessions has said arresting Assange was "a priority", over alleged crimes relating to Wikileaks' publication of classified documents.

The U.S. military says Army Specialist Bradley Manning, who was deployed to Baghdad, has been arrested in connection with the release of a classified video showing a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff, in the Iraqi capital.

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However, London police issued a statement after the Swedish announcement making clear Assange was still wanted by them.

In a tweet, Wikileaks said the "focus now moves to the UK".

British officials said they do not comment on individual extradition cases. He is later released on bail and calls the Swedish rape allegations a smear campaign.

Why has the investigation been dropped? The rape allegation, the more serious claim, remained under investigation. The charade culminated in Ny being ordered by a Swedish court to interview him or face the quashing of her prosecution in 2014.

The WikiLeaks founder has said the claims were politically motivated and insists he had only consensual sexual encounters with the women.

Ny claims that she may reopen the prosecution "if Assange returns to Sweden before the statute of limitations ends in 2020" - despite the fact that Assange was actually interviewed in Sweden in 2010, repeatedly offered to be interviewed further by Ny when she took over the case, and was interviewed again last November. Ny filed a request to the Stockholm District Court to revoke the arrest warrant.

"Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence", it said.

Throughout his time under house arrest and then in the Ecuadorean Embassy, Assange has received no assistance from the Australian government; in his memoir of his time as Foreign Minister under Julia Gillard, Bob Carr joked about deliberately trying to enrage Assange supporters.

Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation on May 19, 2017.

"It's not about money but redress", Samuelsson said.

Assange and WikiLeaks have repeatedly infuriated USA officials with the widespread release of sensitive secret documents related to military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and diplomatic relations around the world.

During the most recent US presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks published emails from Hilary Clinton's staff and the Democratic National Committee which some believe helped to lose her the election.

The huge release of memos known as "cablegate", which embarrassed governments worldwide, would not have been possible had it not been for USA soldier Chelsea Manning, who handed WikiLeaks 700,000 classified documents.

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