Sweden’s director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, has dropped the rape investigation into Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Mr Assange has been living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition in Sweden over the rape allegations and for fear of being extradited to the US, where the Australian could face trial over the leaking of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents.
However, Mr Assange still cannot leave the Ecuadorean Embassy as Scotland Yard have said that they will be obliged to arrest him if he left for failing to appear in court in 2012.
Yesterday, Chelsea Manning, the US soldier who furnished the documents to Wikileaks, was released from prison, serving only 7 years out of the 35-year sentence. Former US President Barack Obama commuted the sentence before leaving office.
The British Government have still not confirmed whether they have received an extradition request from the US but just last month the Justice Department in Washington was reconsidering whether to charge Mr Assange for his role in the leak. Jeff Sessions, the US attorney general, says arresting Mr Assange is a “priority”, giving reason to believe that the US are planning to take action.
Marianne Ny issued a statement regarding the decision to drop the investigation, stating that the decision to surrender Mr Assange to Sweden cannot be executed in the foreseeable future.
“Chief Prosecutor Marianna Ny has today decided to discontinue the preliminary investigation regarding suspected rape concerning Julian Assange”, the statement from the prosecutors’ office began.
“As a result of the decision to discontinue the investigation, the prosecutor has reversed the decision to detain him in his absence and withdrawn the EAW (European Arrest Warrant).
“In view of the fact that all prospects of pursuing the investigation under present circumstances are exhausted, it appears that it is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence. Consequently, there is no basis upon which to continue the investigation.”
Speaking at the press conference in Stolkholm, Ms Ny said that there is a possibility of the investigation being reopened if Mr Assange returns to Sweden before 2020.