Swedish prosecutors have dropped their rape investigation into Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, ending a seven-year legal impasse.
Marianne Ny, Sweden’s director of public prosecution, announced on Friday she had decided to discontinue the investigation into rape allegations dating from 2010. She will give her reasons later on Friday.
“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 proportionality in this case – it is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence via a European arrest warrant”, Ms Ny wrote.
Mr Assange has sought refuge from Sweden’s arrest warrant in Ecuador’s embassy in London since 2012 over fears he could be extradited to the US due to Wikileaks’ publishing of classified information.
He posted a picture of himself smiling on Twitter while his lawyer in Sweden, Per Samuelsson, told Swedish media: “It is a total victory for Julian Assange.”
“He is free to leave the embassy whenever he wants”, he added.
But another of his lawyers, Melinda Taylor, said Mr Assange would probably seek assurances from British authorities that he would not be arrested for any other reason before leaving the embassy.
“[The] UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to UK,” Wikileaks wrote on Twitter.
Jeff Sessions, the US attorney general, said in April that arresting Mr Assange was a “priority”.
“We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail”, said Mr Sessions.
The accusations against Mr Assange date back to August 2010 when the alleged victim filed a complaint several days after she met him at a Wikileaks conference in Stockholm. She accused him of having unprotected sex with her as she slept. Mr Assange has denied the allegations.