Rape inquiry dropped, WikiLeaks' Assange remains in embassy
Rape inquiry dropped, WikiLeaks' Assange remains in embassy
Media outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London this morning
20 May, 2017, 06:30
Sweden's top prosecutor dropped a long-running inquiry into a rape claim against Assange on Friday, saying there was no way to detain or charge him "in the foreseeable future" because of his protected status inside the embassy.
"Today is an important victory for me and for the UN's human rights system but it by no means erases the years of detention without charge in prison, under house arrest and nearly five years here in this embassy without sunlight, seven years without charge while my children grew up without me".
"Westminster Magistrates' Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012", London police said in a statement.
His decision to jump bail and seek political asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012 also makes sense given the probability that the British government would accede to an extradition request from Washington.
The 45-year-old Australian has always denied the 2010 rape allegations, which he feared would see him extradited to the United States and tried over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret USA military and diplomatic documents. "The war, the proper war is just commencing", he told supporters and media after raising a clenched fist in a gesture of victory.
He promised that WikiLeaks would continue its "fight" for government transparency and digital rights, while also voicing bitterness toward the Swedish allegations against him, which date back to 2010.
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While Assange has maintained his innocence in the face of the sex crime allegations, he has not left Ecuador's embassy for five years, except for occasional appearances on the building's balcony.
"'Today is an important victory for me, and for the United Nations human rights system", he told supporters.
"I do not forgive or forget". CIA Director Mike Pompeo has branded WikiLeaks a "hostile intelligence service", and Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month that Assange's arrest is a priority.
Assange, whose website has released thousands of confidential US government documents, has been trapped at the embassy since going there in 2012 to seek asylum.
On Friday, prosecutors in Sweden said that they were quitting their attempt to extradite Julian Assange. The South American country has granted him asylum.
The worst scandals to affect WikiLeaks have been those involving Assange.
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"If he were to return to Sweden before the statute of limitation on this case expires in August 2020, the preliminary investigation could be resumed... it is regrettable we have not been able to carry out the investigation.
Therefore the investigation is discontinued", they said in a statement on Friday evening (AEST).
Swedish authorities announced Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny made a decision to "discontinue" the long-running investigation of suspected rape, while saying she was unable to judge whether Assange was guilty or not. They surfaced after the women accused Assange of sexual misconduct during a visit to Stockholm in 2010.
The department said Friday it had no comment on Assange. The rape allegation, the more serious claim, remained under investigation. "Julian Assange safe passage", Long said via Twitter, adding he hoped that would happen "promptly". Prosecutors were trying to determine, among other things, if Assange had sex with the woman while she was asleep and without using a condom.
Yeah, Chelsea Manning served 7 years in prison over that - but there's still talk Assange could be charged in the case.
WikiLeaks also had a role in the 2016 US presidential campaign when it published emails written by Hillary Clinton's campaign officials.
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