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Julian Assange rape charges dropped by Swedish authorities
May 25 2017, 06:04 | Irvin Gilbert
The Latest: WikiLeaks awaits UK decision on Assange's status
The probe has been dropped because there was "no reason to believe that the decision to surrender him to Sweden can be executed in the foreseeable future", said Swedish prosecutors.
Assange, 45, has lived in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012 when he took refuge to avoid extradition to Sweden over the rape allegations.
Swedish prosecutors on Friday dropped their investigation, but Assange still faces the risk of arrest in Britain, and he fears he will be extradited to the U.S. and tried over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret USA military and diplomatic documents.
Shortly afterwards, he lodged his request for asylum in Ecuador and fled to the country's embassy in London.
Swedish prosecutors have dropped the investigation into the rape charge of Julian Assange according to Reuters.
But on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the WikiLeaks founder has been holed up since June 2012, he said he can not forgive or forget the "terrible injustice" he has suffered. "The war, the proper war is just commencing", Assange said, noting his lawyers were in touch with British authorities and hoped to begin a dialogue about the "best way forward". "And he's a free man", Samuelson said.
Ecuador's government welcomed the decision by Sweden, but said it was long overdue.
Her client was "shocked" and "had not changed her view that Assange raped her", the attorney said in an emailed statement to dpa.
"The governments of the United Kingdom and the United States have plotted against Mr. Assange for the past seven years, trying to silence him for his exposure of their crimes".
Assange stepped into the daylight on the balcony of Ecuador's London embassy, where he has been holed up since 2012, to celebrate, but said the road was "far from over".
After the news was announced on Friday, Wikileaks tweeted that the "focus now moves to the UK", but Assange's fate still seems unclear.
The U.S. Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates back to at least 2010, when the site posted thousands of files stolen by the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst.
He feared being extradited to the USA if sent to Sweden.
Branco says: "We need a political intervention to make this situation end".
It's not known if US officials have asked British police to arrest Assange because of a possible sealed USA indictment against him. For now, he remains in London at the Ecuadorian embassy, a refugee from the great powers of the world who want to punish him for revealing their secrets.
At a press conference in Quito, Long called on Britain allow Assange safe passage so he could take up his asylum in Ecuador.
At a press conference Friday in Stockholm, Ny, chief of the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said she "has chose to discontinue the investigation" and call back the European arrest warrant for Assange. (Content warning for details of sexual assault.) In one case, the woman had organized Assange's trip to Sweden for a speaking engagement. The rape allegation, the more serious claim, remained under investigation.
She accused him of having sex with her - as she slept - without using a condom despite repeatedly having denied him unprotected sex.
Assange has said the sex was consensual.
The statute of limitations on the rape allegation expires in August 2020, and prosecutors could reopen the case if Assange returns to Sweden before then. Samuelson later told the AP that Assange had texted "I won everything".
Elizabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for Assange's accuser, criticized the Swedish authorities' decision in a statement to CNN.
British police said they would arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy on the relatively minor charge of jumping bail, but the more severe threat is a possible sealed US indictment against him.