Sweden announced a surprising decision to drop its investigation into the rape allegations made against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. His lawyers described this news as a “total victory.” Sweden’s top prosecutor, Marianne Ny, said that the probe into the case against Assange was discontinued because it had effectively become a “lost cause.” The allegations of rape stem back to a 2010 incident in which a woman claims that Assange had unprotected sex with her while she slept after she had repeatedly denied his advances. Julian Assange has denied her claims and has stated that the sex was consensual. He has been living under political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost five years.
Sources close to Assange said that he had this reply when he heard the news, “Are you sure, oh my god, I won everything. I am very glad that the Swedish chapter of this story now has ended. But I am also very disappointed about the way the Swedish legal system has treated me. I had to wait for six years before being questioned. So behind today’s short burst of happiness lies a long period of disappointment due to the fact that I have been forced to be hiding at the embassy for so many years.”
Although Sweden’s interest in pursuing Assange has been discontinued, he is still wanted by the United Kingdom and the United States. And now that Sweden is out of the picture, the U.S. can seek to extradite Assange and try his case over leaking hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents. The WikiLeaks founder infuriated U.S. officials with the widespread release of sensitive information related to military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as diplomatic relations around the world. WikiLeaks also played a role in the 2016 presidential election when it published emails written by Hillary Clinton campaign officials.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo has branded WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service,” and Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month that Assange’s arrest is a priority. It is not clear whether or not America has already requested Assange’s extradition.
Now all eyes will be on whether or not Assange will risk arrest by attempting to leave the embassy and fly to Ecuador where he would seek long-term asylum. Do you think the U.S. will move in on Julian Assange now that Sweden has dropped out of the legal battle?
Credit: Daily Mail