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Julian Assange probe dropped by Swedish prosecutors

Julian Assange probe dropped by Swedish prosecutors

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange no longer is the subject of an active rape investigation in Sweden, but he remains holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London facing an unclear future because of uncertainty over whether American authorities will try to get him handed over next.

As NPR's Frank Langfitt reports, Assange has remained at the Ecuadorean Embassy for years out of fear that an extradition to Sweden would spell another extradition, in turn, to the USA, "where he could face trial for leaking hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic and military documents".

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said Friday that chief Marianne Ny "has chose to discontinue the investigation" and Ny said she will call back the European arrest warrant on Assange.

Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny filed a request to the Stockholm District Court to revoke his arrest warrant, apparently ending a seven-year stand-off, the BBC reported.

7 - Assange is arrested by British police on a European warrant issued by Sweden and held in jail after a judge refuses to grant bail.

"The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy", the statement read. Assange has indicated concerns that he may face indictm.

Wikileaks tweeted on Friday morning: "UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a U.S. extradition warrant for Julian Assange". Assange fears Sweden will hand him over to United States authorities who could prosecute him for publishing the documents and possibly sentence him to death.

The Wikileaks founder took to his Twitter account to post a celebratory photo.

He also says he would be "happy" to discuss the case with the U.S. Department of Justice despite U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying that arresting Assange is a priority.

He has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012, claiming political asylum in order to escape a European Arrest Warrant over the claim.

However, Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny confirmed that if Assange were to return to Sweden before the statute of limitations runs out in August 2020, the preliminary case against him could be reopened.

He nonetheless called Sweden's decision to drop the rape investigation "an important victory for me and for the United Nations human rights system".

Ecuador's foreign minister, Guillaume Long, tweeted Friday that Britain "must now grant safe passage" to Assange.

"Julian Assange has been a victim of a huge abuse of procedure".

Scotland Yard stood down the 24/7 police presence outside the Ecuadorian Embassy building in 2015 but pledged to make "every effort" to arrest Mr Assange if he left.

Assange also lashed out at Sweden for taking seven years to investigate allegations he maintained were baseless. "Focus now moves to United Kingdom", the group tweeted.

It ends a three-year police operation which is estimated to have cost more than 12 million pounds ($17 million).

"Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter".

But it added 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".

The panel said he should be freed and entitled to compensation. During the presidential campaign previous year, WikiLeaks came under criticism for distributing hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee.


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