Sweden drops case, but WikiLeaks' Assange not in the clear

Marianne Ny told a news conference: "When we investigate serious crimes, we do not consider the costs". In a separate statement, the prosecutor noted that in Sweden a criminal investigation has to be conducted as quickly as possible.

He was on bail when he arrived at the Ecuador Embassy in Central London nearly five years ago.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange moved closer to freedom Friday after Swedish prosecutors moved to drop a rape investigation against him, leaving the door open for him to emerge from his self-imposed exile in a London embassy.

(AP Photo/Frank Augstein). A police officer walks past people gathering outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Friday May 19, 2017.

Julian Assange's lawyer is asking French president Emmanuel Macron to intervene in support of the WikiLeaks founder.

"Now that all appeals are exhausted I expect that the United Kingdom and Sweden will comply with their worldwide obligations and set me free", Mr Assange said following the ruling.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has hailed an "important victory" after Swedish prosecutors dropped a rape investigation against him.

Though Julian Assange's advocates welcomed the news Friday that Swedish prosecutors dropped their seven-year investigation of sex crimes allegations into the WikiLeaks founding editor, they expressed continued concern over the threats he still faces from the USA and United Kingdom.

His lawyer, E. Samuelsson, called the news, "a total victory" on Swedish Radio.

So, Sweden - whose officials questioned Assange in 2016 at the Ecuadorian embassy - has simply made a decision to stop investing resources in Assange, although Ny believes there's still probable cause in the rape case.

But the picture is more complicated than that. On Friday, Swedish prosecutors announced that they are no longer pursuing the case against Assange, and are dropping their investigation.

After that, the investigation stalled. The charges were amended to a count of "unlawful coercion", two counts of sexual assault, and one count of rape.

Marianne Ny, Sweden's director of public prosecution, said in a statement that the rape investigation was dropped because "there is no reason to believe that the decision to surrender him to Sweden can be executed in the foreseeable future".

The statute of limitations on the rape allegation expires in August 2020.

June 12: Assange asks Supreme Court to reopen case.

"So we won't make any statements on the issue of guilt", the Swedish prosecution claims.

He is now wanted in London on the lesser charge of skipping bail and failing to surrender to a court.

Mr Assange said: "Seven years of detention without charge - imprisoned under house arrest and nearly five years in this embassy without sunlight". He said Assange had convinced Swedish prosecutors during a November meeting past year that he was not guilty of any sex offenses.

Despite Friday's announcement by Swedish prosecutors, Assange, who is still the subject of a United Kingdom arrest warrant, acknowledged he is unlikely to walk out of the embassy any time soon.

He was granted diplomatic asylum in August that year.

The WikiLeaks founder claimed Sweden might have extradited him to the US, where he could face charges for leaking sensitive USA government information. 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. Scotland Yard intends to act on a warrant for Assange's arrest that was issued after he defied a bail order in 2012.

"Now all eyes are on the US - that's the reason for his asylum", she told NBC News.

Some legal experts say it makes his position less secure.

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