Julian Assange defiant as Sweden drops rape investigation

Julian Assange defiant as Sweden drops rape investigation

"My legal staff have contacted the UK authorities and we hope to engage in a dialogue about what will be the best way forward," he added, saying he was also "happy to engage" with the US.

Police in London have said they would still be obliged to arrest Mr Assange if he left the Ecuadorean embassy, despite the Swedish prosecutors' decision.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said Mr Assange still faced the lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court, an offence punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine.

But the UK has not commented on whether it has received an extradition request from the US, where Mr Assange could, potentially, face trial.

The plaintiff in the rape case was "shocked" by the decision, her lawyer said, and maintained her accusations against Mr Assange, Agence France-Presse reported.

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Sweden's decision coincided with the release by Wikileaks of another tranche of documents about the US Central Intelligence Agency's technical capabilities.

BBC security correspondent Gordon Correra says previous leaks, of what look like highly sensitive secret documents, have been damaging to the agency.


She said that under Swedish law a criminal investigation needed to be conducted "as quickly as possible".

Sweden did not expect Ecuador's co-operation in formally notifying Mr Assange of the allegations against him, a necessary step in proceeding with the case, she added.

But she said: "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."

She said it was "regrettable we have not been able to carry out the investigation", and added: "We are not making any pronouncement about guilt."


The MPS issued a statement saying that its actions had been based on a response to a "European Arrest Warrant for an extremely serious offence".

It went on: "Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence. The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence."

The MPS said it would "not comment further on the operational plan".

Last month, Mr Samuelson filed a new motion calling for his client's arrest warrant to be lifted.

He cited a comment by new US Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the arrest of Mr Assange would be "a priority".

Mr Samuelson told Agence France-Presse: "This implies that we can now demonstrate that the US has a will to take action... this is why we ask for the arrest warrant to be cancelled."



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