Sweden drops case but WikiLeaks' Assange is not in the clear

Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London Britain

Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London Britain

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange no longer is the subject of an active rape investigation in Sweden, but he remains holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London facing an unclear future because of uncertainty over whether American authorities will try to get him handed over next.

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 was in custody he might ultimately be extradited to the United States for his role at the helm of WikiLeaks, which has enraged governments around the world by publishing tens of thousands of leaked classified USA documents.

"UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a U.S. extradition warrant for Julian Assange".

The announcement means the outspoken WikiLeaks leader no longer faces sex crime allegations in Sweden, although British police say he is still wanted for jumping bail in Britain in 2012.

In view of the fact that all prospects of pursuing the investigation are now exhausted, it appears that, in light of the views expressed by the Supreme Court in its assessment of the proportionality in this case, it could be argued that it becomes less proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence via a European Arrest Warrant. "The proper war is just commencing". "The UK has said it will arrest me regardless. That is not acceptable".

Before his balcony appearance on Friday, Assange, now 45, took to Twitter to share an an old image of himself smiling.

The Swedish Prosecutor's Office may resume the investigation against Assange, if he returns to the country before August 2020, Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny said.

Is he facing United States charges?

It's not known if US officials are seeking Assange's arrest because of a possible sealed indictment.

The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by Manning.

Barry Pollack, an attorney in Washington representing Assange, said the British should allow Assange to travel to Ecuador.

Text of Swedish prosecutor's decision to drop Assange probe. "At this point, it is more apparent than ever that the United Kingdom should provide Mr. Assange safe passage to Ecuador". He has been there ever since, fearing that if he is arrested he might ultimately be extradited to the United States. "The UK no longer has any legitimate basis to interfere with Ecuador's lawful decision".

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. This is regrettable that we could not continue the investigation in the way we would want.

"There are no causes now to continue the preliminary investigation because we have no possibility to ensure his [Assange's] presence [in Sweden]".

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

Elizabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for Assange's accuser, criticized the Swedish authorities' decision in a statement to CNN.

A lawyer for the woman who alleged she was raped by Assange said "it's a scandal that a suspected rapist can avoid the judicial system and thus avoid a trial in court". "Evidence in the case is available and that evidence should have been tested in court". "To conduct a preliminary investigation for so many years and today make a decision to close the investigation is something I am very critical of", she said. "Nobody wants to be sentenced for rape because it's a bad and humiliating crime", she concluded.

British police said they would arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy on the relatively minor charge of jumping bail, but the more severe threat is a possible sealed USA indictment against him.