Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Friday saw the rape investigation against him dropped by the Swedish Prosecution Authority. File Photo by Kerim Okten/EPA

May 19 (UPI) — The Swedish Prosecution Authority on Friday said it dropped a rape investigation targeting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and will revoke his arrest warrant.

Sweden’s Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny “decided to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange,” the agency said in a statement. Ny filed a request to the Stockholm District Court to revoke the arrest warrant.

Out of four sex crimes allegations against Assange, three — unlawful coercion and two counts of sexual molestation — expired in 2015 due to statutes of limitations under Swedish law, while the investigation for the remaining rape allegation, which had an expiration date of 2020, was dropped on Friday.

Assange, 44, gained international recognition for publishing thousands of classified U.S. documents through his website, WikiLeaks. Ecuador granted him political asylum in 2012 under the authority of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

The divisive founder of WikiLeaks has repeatedly denied the accusations of rape and molestation made by two women he met during a trip to Stockholm in 2010. He was arrested in 2010 and he was set for extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault charges alleged by the women, but Assange did not surrender into custody. Swedish authorities never formally charged Assange for the alleged crimes.

Assange has said the charges were orchestrated to ultimately extradite him to the United States where he is wanted for questioning about the release of thousands of classified cables in 2010.

WikiLeaks said the British government will arrest Assange regardless of Sweden’s decision and the government “refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received an extradition request from the United States.”

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In April, outlets reported U.S. federal prosecutors are considering criminal charges against Assange for leaking diplomatic cables and military documents.

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