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Julian Assange: Rape investigation against Wikileaks founder dropped

Julian Assange: Rape investigation against Wikileaks founder dropped

Mr Assange, 45, has lived in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012, trying to avoid extradition.

However, reporters have now gathered outside the Knightsbridge embassy in the expectation he could finally leave after four years and 334 days.

"We don't make any statement of guilty or not", she said.

Shortly after the Swedish prosecutor's announcement, Assange, who still resides in the embassy, posted the following picture on his personal Twitter account.

"Given that the European Arrest Warrant no longer holds, Ecuador will now be intensifying its diplomatic efforts with the United Kingdom so that Julian Assange can gain safe passage in order to enjoy his asylum in Ecuador".

However, a right-wing politician and former prosecutor urged that Assange be pursued, and prosecutor Marianne Ny reopened the case, but allowed Assange, who had remained in Sweden to speak with authorities, to leave the country, after which an European arrest warrant was issued for him.

The UK government declined to comment Friday on whether the US has asked for Assange's extradition, but last month US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Assange's arrest was a "priority".

The announcement by prosecutor Marianne Ny means the outspoken WikiLeaks leader no longer faces sex crime allegations in Sweden, although British police said was still wanted for jumping bail in Britain in 2012.

The Ecuadorian government is to step up efforts to allow Mr Assange to continue his asylum in its country after Sweden's Director of Public Prosecutions Marianne Ny said she had made a decision to "discontinue" her investigation.

A British judge rules that Assange can be extradited to Sweden.

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Mr Assange reacted to the news by tweeting a photo of himself smiling inside the Ecuadorian Embassy where he has been living for nearly five years.The European arrest warrant issued for Mr Assange is being revoked, sparking speculation he would be leaving the London embassy.

The statement, however, noted that Assange was "wanted for a much less serious offence" than before and said the force would "provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence".

The Australian activist sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy while on bail in 2012, over fears the Swedish investigation would result in him being extradited to the U.S. over leaked military documents and diplomatic cables.

WikiLeaks tweeted: "UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a USA extradition warrant for Julian Assange".

It ends a three-year police operation which is estimated to have cost more than 12 million pounds ($17 million). "Focus now moves to United Kingdom", the group tweeted.

WikiLeaks says the ball is now in Britain's court after Sweden's decision to drop its rape investigation of Julian Assange. It is not clear if that may change now that the investigation has been dropped.

Despite Friday's announcement by Swedish prosecutors, Assange, who is still the subject of a United Kingdom arrest warrant, acknowledged he is unlikely to walk out of the embassy any time soon.

Britain's Crown Prosecution Service said that breach of bail is punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine.

"This implies that we can now demonstrate that the USA has a will to take action. this is why we ask for the arrest warrant to be cancelled so that Julian Assange can fly to Ecuador and enjoy his political asylum", lawyer Per Samuelsson told AFP at the time.


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