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Rape inquiry dropped, WikiLeaks' Assange remains in embassy
May 25 2017, 06:03 | Perry Erickson
Sweden drops rape investigation into Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he can not "forgive or forget" what Sweden has put him through, following an announcement by Swedish prosecutors that they have dropped their rape case against him.
He is wanted by British police for breaching bail conditions - and WikiLeaks is concerned this could result in him being extradited to the USA, where he would face prosecution for publishing swathes of classified military and diplomatic documents.
It does not clear Assange's name, however, and some experts say it puts him into an even more precarious legal situation if the US has as some suspect a sealed indictment for his arrest.
Hailed as a hero by supporters and reviled as a manipulator by critics, the white-haired Australian has been holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.
"He is now free to leave the embassy when he wants", Per E Samuelsson, his lawyer in Sweden, told Swedish Radio.
Previously, Swedish authorities said that the probe against Assange was dropped because there was "no reason to believe that the decision to surrender him to Sweden can be executed in the foreseeable future".
"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". According to the New York Times, he could be arrested in London for jumping bail or he could be extradited to the United States if he were to leave the Ecuador embassy.
Although he is no longer facing action from Swedish prosecutors, Assange is still at risk of arrest if he tries to leave the Ecuadorian embassy.
There were initially two separate allegations being investigated, but one was dropped in 2015 because the statute of limitations ran out.
Mr Robertson said the U.S. was likely to indict Assange, and that the Trump administration could use his case as a diversion from the alleged ties to Russian Federation.
The challenge would be how to charge Assange.
However, Scotland Yard has said that it has an obligation to enforce the arrest warrant on Assange a lesser charge of skipping bail.
The former computer hacker said that despite the "extremely threatening remarks" emanating from Washington, he was "always ready to engage with the Department of Justice".
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 United States and tried over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret USA military and diplomatic documents.
Assange could fight any USA extradition request in the British courts, a process that could take years.
Through means of legal assistance provided by the Ecuadorian Republic, Ecuadorian prosecutors interviewed Julian Assange on 14-15 November 2016 in London.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he wanted to crack down on leaks and thus go after Assange, but Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, told The New York Times that Assange did nothing wrong.
"Julian Assange has been a victim of a huge abuse of procedure".
"We don't make any statement of guilty or not", she said. Prosecutors were trying to determine, among other things, if Assange had sex with the woman while she was asleep and without using a condom.
Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning served seven years in prison for giving classified material to WikiLeaks.