Swedish Authorities Drop Rape Charges Against WikiLeaks' Julian Assange but He Might Still Face Arrest in U.K.
"If he, at a later date, makes himself available, I will be able to decide to resume the investigation immediately," a statement about Julian Assange reads
Julian Assange is no longer being investigated for sexual assault in Sweden.
In a statement released online Friday morning, Sweden’s director of public prosecutions Marianne Ny says authorities have moved to drop their investigation of the Australian WikiLeaks founder, revoking the Swedish arrest warrant against him.
“At this point, all possibilities to conduct the investigation are exhausted. In order to proceed with the case, Julian Assange would have to be formally notified of the criminal suspicions against him,” part of the statement reads. “We cannot expect to receive assistance from Ecuador regarding this. Therefore the investigation is discontinued.”
The history of the investigation dates back to 2010, when two women came forward to accuse Assange, 45, of sexual assault and rape. According to USA Today, he has denied these allegations and been living at the Ecuadorean embassy in London for five years, where he was granted diplomatic asylum in 2012.
“The motive is that there is no reason to believe that the decision to surrender him to Sweden can be executed in the foreseeable future,” Ny said in the statement.
Assange celebrated the news by posting a smiling photo on his personal Twitter account.
However, Ny didn’t rule out the possibility of renewing the investigation, adding, “If he, at a later date, makes himself available, I will be able to decide to resume the investigation immediately.”
NPR‘s Frank Langfitt reports that Assange’s fear of extradition to Sweden would lead to him being extradited to the United States, “where he could face trial for leaking hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic and military documents.”
British law enforcement made it clear that they would still take legal action regarding Assange should the need arise, and that the decision from Sweden does not affect other reasons for his potential arrest for a “less serious offense.”
“Westminster Magistrates’ Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on June 29, 2012,” Metropolitan Police said in a statement. “The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy.”
“Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offense,” they said. “The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offense.”