The Swedish Prosecution Authority released a statement Friday saying it “has decided to discontinue” an investigation into a rape claim against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after almost seven years.
Following the accusation, Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London in 2012 to escape extradition to Sweden to answer questions about sex-crime allegations from two women. He has been there ever since, fearing that if he is arrested he might ultimately be extradited to the United States. Last month, President Donald Trump said he would support any decision by the Justice Department to charge Assange.
WikiLeaks tweeted after the Swedish announcement: “UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to UK.”
While top prosecutor Marianne Ny said she is dropping the investigation, meaning that Assange is no longer wanted in Sweden, the 45-year-old computer hacker still faces arrest for “much less serious offense” of jumping bail in 2012.
“This is a total victory for Julian Assange. He is now free to leave the embassy when he wants. We have won the Assange case. He is, of course, happy and relieved. He has been critical that it has lasted that long,” Per E Samuelsson, his lawyer in Sweden, told Swedish Radio.