Swedish prosecutor drops rape probe against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

Swedish prosecutor drops rape probe against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

Sweden's top prosecutor said Friday she is dropping an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after nearly seven years.

"Director of Public Prosecution, Ms Marianne Ny, has today chose to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange", the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

"This is a total victory for Julian Assange".

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday it would be "an operational matter for the police" to decide whether to arrest Assange if he left the embassy.

The 45-year-old has lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 to avoid facing charges in Sweden.

Police in London said they were still obliged to arrest Assange if he left the embassy for skipping bail.

In documents filed to the Stockholm District Court, Prosecutor Ny said legal obstacles had prevented the case from moving forward.

A statement from Wikileaks said that they were anxious that Assange could still be extradited to the United States, where he could face trial for leaking state secrets.

"UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a United States extradition warrant for Julian Assange". US President Donald Trump last month said he would support any decision by the Justice Department to charge Assange.

STOCKHOLM/LONDON Swedish prosecutors dropped an investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday over a rape allegation, but British police said he would still be arrested if he left the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has been holed up for five years.

A lawyer for Assange welcomed the decision of prosecutors to drop the seven-year rape investigation against him, saying it was the "end of his nightmare". Lawyer David Allen Green, who has followed the case, tweeted: "Once outside embassy, Assange more at risk from any U.S. extradition attempt than if he had gone to Sweden".

But it adds that Assange is now wanted for a "much less serious offense" than the original sex crimes claims, and police "will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offense".

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