Julian Assange: Sweden drops rape investigation

Assange, who has always denied wrongdoing, has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, in an effort to avoid a Swedish arrest warrant.

The Australian national has previously expressed concern of which he could end up being extradited as well as facing the death penalty inside United States over allegations of revealing government secrets through his site, WikiLeaks.

On Friday afternoon, Assange appeared on a balcony at the embassy as well as described the development as “an important victory.”

“nevertheless the idea by no means erases seven years of detention without charge under house arrest as well as almost several years here in This kind of embassy without sunlight,” Assange said. “Seven years without charge while my children grow up without me. of which is actually not something I can forgive. the idea is actually not something I can forget.”

Despite Friday’s announcement by Swedish prosecutors, Assange, who is actually still the subject of a UK arrest warrant, acknowledged he is actually unlikely to walk out of the embassy any time soon.

“The proper war is actually just commencing,” he told the crowd of reporters as well as onlookers gathered outside the embassy. “The UK has said the idea will arrest me regardless. The US CIA Director (Mike) Pompeo as well as the US attorney general have said of which I as well as additional WikiLeaks staff have no … First Amendment rights, of which my arrest as well as the arrest (of) my additional staff is actually a priority. of which is actually not acceptable.”

Assange added of which WikiLeaks would certainly continue regardless of “the threats towards me as well as my staff” before hailing the Discharge of Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who provided classified information to WikiLeaks in 2010.

Before his balcony appearance on Friday, Assange, currently 45, took to Twitter to share an an old image of himself smiling.

A lawyer for one of the Swedish women who accused Assange of sexual assault said the prosecution decision to drop the investigation was a “scandal.”

is actually he facing US charges?

Authorities inside United States have prepared charges to seek his arrest, US officials familiar with the matter told CNN last month.

The Justice Department investigation of Assange as well as WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by Manning.

Julian Assange has been living inside Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost several years.

Britain as well as the US have an extradition treaty, so if Assange leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy where he’s claimed asylum, the British could arrest him as well as send him to the US.

Barry Pollack, an attorney in Washington representing Assange, said the British should allow Assange to travel to Ecuador.

“The decision by the Swedish prosecutor only highlights the fact Mr. Assange has been unlawfully detained for years,” Pollack said. “At This kind of point, the idea is actually more apparent than ever of which the UK should provide Mr. Assange safe passage to Ecuador. Ecuador has granted Mr. Assange asylum. Recent comments by the United States attorney general as well as director of the CIA demonstrate the obvious need of Mr. Assange for asylum. The UK no longer has any legitimate basis to interfere with Ecuador’s lawful decision.”

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

What did Sweden say?

Sweden’s chief prosecutor Marianne Ny told a news conference in Sweden of which the decision to discontinue the preliminary investigation into the rape allegations, which date back to 2010, had been made because “all possibilities to advance the investigation have currently been exhausted.”

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However, if Assange were to return to Sweden before the statute of limitations for the suspected offenses expires in August 2020, the investigation could be reopened, she said.

Dropping the investigation is actually not a result of deciding he is actually not guilty, Ny added — the idea’s because there’s no practical way to continue the idea.

“The decision to discontinue the preliminary investigation is actually not because we’ve been able to make a full assessment of the evidence in This kind of case, nevertheless because we didn’t see any possibilities to advance the investigation forward. So we don’t make any statements on the issue of guilt,” she said via a translator.

Elizabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for Assange’s accuser, criticized the Swedish authorities’ decision in a statement to CNN.

“the idea is actually a scandal of which a suspected rapist is actually able to evade the judicial system as well as so avoid trial,” Fritz said. “Evidence inside case is actually available as well as of which evidence should have been tested in court.”

Fritz said the process had dragged on for too long as well as of which her client was “shocked” by the decision to drop the idea currently. “To conduct a preliminary investigation for so many years as well as today make a decision to close the investigation is actually something I am very critical of,” she said.

Fritz also called for a review of parts of the judicial process, including how Sweden tries suspects who deliberately avoid court for years.

“He has acted like This kind of consciously as well as his fear must be of which he is actually afraid of being sentenced for rape. Nobody wants to be sentenced for rape because the idea’s a terrible as well as humiliating crime,” she concluded.

CNN is actually not naming the alleged victim whom Fritz represents.

Possible US charges aside, Assange is actually still subject to an arrest warrant inside UK after he failed to surrender to Westminster Magistrates’ Court in June 2012, London’s Metropolitan Police Service said Friday.

However, the idea noted of which currently of which the Swedish authorities had dropped their investigation, Assange was “wanted for a much less serious offence” than before as well as said the force would certainly “provide a level of resourcing which is actually proportionate to of which offence.”

the idea added: “The priority for the MPS must continue to be arresting those who are currently wanted inside Capital in connection with serious violent or sexual offences for the protection of Londoners.”

Source : Julian Assange: Sweden drops rape investigation

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