Sweden Is Dropping Its Rape Investigation Of Julian Assange
Sweden is no longer pursuing charges against the Wikileaks founder, but his legal troubles aren't over yet.
Sweden announced on Friday that it would be dropping the rape investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has taken refuge at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in the five years since the case was opened.
“At this point, all possibilities to conduct the investigation are exhausted,” the Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement. “In order to proceed with the case, Julian Assange would have to be formally notified of the criminal suspicions against him. We cannot expect to receive assistance from Ecuador regarding this. Therefore the investigation is discontinued.”
Assange responded to Friday’s news with photo of himself looking very satisfied.
— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) May 19, 2017
While at the embassy, Assange was able to avoid Swedish authorities until they gave up. In 2012, Assange fled to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid being detained and extradited to Sweden, where he was being investigated for sexual assault for an incident that allegedly happened in 2010. He has remained there ever since, making a few balcony appearances and taking in the occasional visitor. He has said that he wasn’t trying to avoid the case in Sweden, but fears the country will extradite him to the United States. If he were to be extradited to the U.S., he could face charges related to WikiLeaks, which posted thousands of classified military documents leaked by Chelsea Manning in 2010.
More recently, WikiLeaks posted hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and the personal email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, which U.S. intelligence believes were obtained by Russian hackers working to interfere with the 2016 election. Last April, anonymous sources told CNN that the United States was indeed preparing to charge Assange.
Even with Sweden dropping its investigation, Assange might not be packing his bags and leaving the embassy just yet. There is still a warrant for his arrest in the United Kingdom for failing to surrender to the court. Even so, The Guardian reports that Ecuador is hoping Assange will be allowed to leave the United Kingdom to go to Ecuador, where he was granted asylum in 2012.