Sweden Drops Effort To Arrest Assange On Rape Allegation

Sweden Drops Effort To Arrest Assange On Rape Allegation

Sweden announced Friday it has dropped a seven-year-old, Europe-wide arrest warrant against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Sweden had sought to arrest Assange on a rape charge he has denied.

“Detained for 7 years without charge while my children grew up and my name was slandered. I do not forgive or forget,” Assange tweeted in his only public reaction to the move, which reduces but does not eliminate the legal issues facing him.

Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for about five years. Ecuador has granted him political asylum.

Although Per Samuelsson, a lawyer for Assange, called the step “a big victory” for Assange, he noted that Assange must still look over his shoulder if he leaves the confines of the embassy.

“The United States is chasing him. They have made that clear,” he said.

The United States has long expressed an interest in charging Assange for using WikiLeaks to disseminate highly classified information, even if he did not leak or steal it. One reason Assange gave for holing up on the embassy was that if he returned to Sweden, the United States would try to have him extradited.

Britain also has a charge pending against Assange, who failed to appear in court in 2012. British police said if Assange leaves his hideout, they would have to arrest him.

Juan Branco, one of Assange’s lawyers, said he may ask new French president Emmanuel Macron to intervene.

“We need a political intervention to make this situation end. (Assange) is the only political prisoner in Western Europe,” he said.

Marianne Ny, the chief prosecutor in Sweden, said Swedish authorities are not painting Assange as innocent as much as they are accepting the fact they are unlikely to get their hands on Assange, and therefore are dropping the European warrants against him.

Ny said if Assange enters Sweden before 2020, when the statue of limitations expires, he could be charged for the alleged rape.

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Source: westernjournalism.com