Breaking: Assange Cleared of All Charges

Assange Cleared of All Charges

On Friday, Swedish authorities announced that they were dropping the investigation into sexual misconduct charges against Julian Assange, The Associated Press reported.

The rape investigation, which the controversial WikiLeaks founder has described as politically motivated and has been floated as a possible pretext for extradition to the United States, had forced Assange into de facto house arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012.

Marianne Ny, who heads the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said that she “has decided to discontinue the investigation” because there was no possibility of his arrest “in the foreseeable future.” The investigation stemmed from accusations made by two women during Assange’s 2010 visit to Stockholm.

“Today was an important victory,” Assange said in a speech on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy, according to The New York Times. However, he added that “(t)he road is far from over … The war, the proper war, is just commencing.”

While a victory for Assange, this could be the beginning of a longer legal battle. Firstly, he’s wanted for jumping bail in Britain in 2012. London Metropolitan Police have said that the bail jumping is a “much less serious offense” than the accusations in Sweden, so they “will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offense.”

Secondly, if there is a sealed indictment against Assange in the United States, this could make things even worse for Assange if he leaves the embassy. Unlike Sweden, the British likely wouldn’t hesitate to extradite Assange to the United States if an indictment exists.

Neither the American Department of Justice nor the British Home Office or Crown Prosecution Service would comment on the possible existence of extradition requests for the WikiLeaks leader.

Ecuador is also likely to step up requests to allow Assange to leave the United Kingdom to seek asylum in their country.

“Given that the European arrest warrant no longer holds, Ecuador will now be intensifying its diplomatic efforts with the U.K. so that Julian Assange can gain safe passage, in order to enjoy his asylum in Ecuador,” Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long said.

Julian Assange’s mother has also jumped into the fray. According to Australia’s ABC, Christine Assange called on the prime minister to help secure Assange’s freedom of travel.

“I’m officially calling on Malcolm Turnbull to step in, act like a prime minister, and protect a citizen,” Assange said.

“I’d like him to re-issue Julian’s passport, so that he can travel — immediately,” she continued. “I’d like him to take to task Sweden for what they’ve done breaching his human rights and lying to the media, and I would like him to pressure the U.K. government to allow him safe passage to Ecuador.”

That’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. However, it’s clear that the battle for the WikiLeaks’ leader’s freedom has taken a new twist — and it’s one that may force the Trump administration’s hand.

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