Swedish prosecutors have said that they will drop the investigation into the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who took refuge in the London Ecuadorean Embassy five years ago when Stockholm authorities opened up a preliminary rape inquiry.
Dropping The Investigation Does Not Mean Assange Is In Clear
Mr. Assange had been facing a legal storm and refused to go to Sweden over fears being extradited to the US. It has been said that the decision to drop the investigation does not mean that he is in the clear.
Assange is still looking at a warrant as he failed to appear in court and police in London said that they would arrest him, should he try to leave the embassy. Mr. Assange has always claimed his innocence.
Justice Department May Charge Assange Over Classified Information
The Justice Department in Washington was also considering whether or not to charge Assange for the part that he played in the disclosure of information that was highly classified. The British government has not said whether they have got a request for extradition from the US for Mr. Assange.
Reporters remained outside the London embassy and a spokesperson said that Ecuadorean officials did not have any comment and they were waiting on instructions from the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Police In London Aim To Execute Warrant
Police in London said that they did plan on carrying out the warrant that had been issued following Assange’s failure to give himself up in June 2012. They said they were obliged to ensure the warrant was executed should he leave the Ecuadorean Embassy where he had gone to seek asylum.
The police gave a statement saying that while the authorities in Sweden had stopped their investigation the situation had altered and now Mr. Assange was wanted by them for an offense that was less serious.
Case Dropped As Ecuador Refuses Cooperation
Sweden’s chief prosecutor said that the authorities had given up the investigation but this did not mean that they had said that Mr. Assange was innocent. Marianne Ny went on to say that based on evidence she could conclude that the probable cause for the crime did still exist. She went on to say that the prosecutors felt as though they did not have any choice but to stop the investigation as they had reached the conclusion that Ecuador was not going to cooperate and all other possibilities they could think of had been exhausted.
She said that in her assessment the transfer could not be executed in the foreseeable future. Should Mr. Assange return to Sweden then the investigation may be opened, if that happened before the statute of limitations ran out in August 2020.
WikiLeaks had gained controversy around the globe when they published damaging and confidential information from the US along with other countries. Last year when the presidential campaign had been running, the website had sent out hacked emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee.
Mr. Assange had said that the release of documents was timed to ensure that the maximum harm was done to Hilary Clinton’s prospects. He went on to say that he had come face to face with his accuser on a trip to Sweden in 2010. He went on to say how he had been forced to rely on others hospitality when his own bank cards had been blocked by the government in the US and their aggressive stance against WikiLeaks.
Assange Said Sex Was Consensual
He gave a statement with details about the relationship he had with the accuser and said that the woman had shown a desire that was clear to have sexual intercourse and after having sex many times the pair had parted amicably.
Arrange said that he denied due process when at the embassy and that he had gone through inhumane, cruel and degrading treatment. He has cited repeatedly the determination by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that the British and the Swedish governments had arbitrarily detained him ever since 2010.
Investigation Was Sluggish Claims Ecuador
Ecuador had criticized the lack of progress in the investigation through a letter sent recently, where they expressed total dismay at the pace it was going, which they described as being sluggish, even though Mr. Assange had been questioned by officials from Sweden while he was at the embassy towards the end of 2016. The case against Assange has been met with plenty of setbacks. In August 2015 the prosecution gave up on the investigation when considering two possible charges, one of which had been sexual molestation and the other being coercion, they dropped them due to being unable to question Assange.
The Justice Department considered whether or not to charge Assange for playing a part in the disclosure of information that was classified, which the government in the US thinks may have, undetermined national security along with diplomatic relations. The Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, had said that the arrest of Mr. Assange was a priority for them. At the moment it has not been made clear if prosecutors are going to go after Mr. Assange for the most serious charge, which is espionage, for the role in which he played years ago when he disclosed the documents that were classified, with Chelsea Manning, the Army intelligence analyst.
Assange Said If Manning Was Released He Would Go To US
Ms. Manning was given a sentence of 35 years, an unprecedented case, for the disclosure of archives of files that were secret to WikiLeaks. President Barack Obama then commuted her sentence and Manning was released from prison on Wednesday.
Mr. Assange did say in the past that if Ms. Manning was released he would be willing to be extradited to the US, however in January in added a clause, saying that he had always been willing to go to the US, provided of course that his rights were respected.