LONDON, UK. (NEWS 1130) – An investigation into rape allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been dropped by prosecutors in Sweden, after almost seven years.
The Swedish Prosecution Authority is withdrawing the European arrest warrant claiming it is unlikely Assange can be brought back to Sweden “There are now no further measures remaining which are possible to take in order to advance the investigation,” said Prosecutor Marianne Ny through a translator.
Assange has spent the last five years inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid arrest on these charges.
Representing Assange, lawyer Per E. Samuelson proclaimed it a “day of victory” for the WikiLeaks founder. “[Prosecutors] were convinced as I have been all the time,” said Samuelson. “He gave a very good explanation to what happened between him and the woman and that explanation [fit like] a glove to all the circumstances in the case.” Samuelson adds Assange is now free to leave the embassy if he so chooses.
But his client understands there are still troubling times ahead. “While today was an important victory, and and important vindication, the road is far from over. The proper war is just commencing,” said Assange while standing outside the Ecuadorian embassy. “The UK says it will arrest me, regardless.”
He still faces charges in the UK for jumping bail back in 2012 and could face arrest for his role in leaking classified documents from the US government.
The 45-year-old has expressed concern in the past that he could end up being extradited to the US and possibly face the death penalty.
UK states it will arrest Assange regardless & refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received an extradition request from the US.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 19, 2017
Assange isn’t completely out of the woods yet on rape allegations with prosecutors in Sweden claiming they can re-open the investigation if he returns to the country by 2020, when the statute of limitations ends.
Officials started investigating Assange after two women in Stockholm accused him of sexual misconduct. Though one of the allegations was dropped after the statute of limitations ended two years ago, the investigation into rape — which was the more serious accusation of the two — continued.