Swedish prosecutors have dropped their rape investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This preliminary investigation ends a seven-year standoff.
“The investigation is discontinued,” Marianne Ny, the director of public prosecution, announced in Sweden’s capital of Stockholm.
A very euphoric Assange tweeted a smiling photo after the news broke on Friday.
But also tweeted that he was “detained for 7 years without charge by while my children grew up and my name was slandered.” He added that he does “no not forgive or forget.”
“This is a total victory for Julian Assange. He is now free to leave the embassy when he wants. We have won the Assange case. He is of course happy and relieved. He has been critical that it has lasted that long,” said Assange’s lawyer E Samuelsson.
Separate allegations of sexual assault, made by a second Swedish woman, were dropped by Swedish authorities in 2015 after the statute of limitations expired.
Assange has denied the allegations of rape since they were introduced in 2010 when he was visiting Sweden. He believed the charges were a way for him to be taken to Sweden where he could have been extradited to the United States to face prosecution over the publication of classified military and diplomatic documents by WikiLeaks.
In 2012, the 45-year-old Australian took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Despite Sweden dropping the investigation, the leader of the anti-secrecy website can still be arrested. London’s Metropolitan Police said Assange is still subject to arrest for the “much less serious offense” of breaching bail conditions when he entered the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012. He was charged with failing to surrender to a court, which is an offense punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine.