Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks – the controversial website that leaked secret information of governments including America – today got a breather as Sweden dropped rape investigations leveled against him by two women in 2010.
His lawyer said the discharge represents a ‘full victory’ for Assange who sought asylum in the Ecudorean Embassy in London five years ago to escape extradition to Sweden which could eventually result in the feared extradition to America.
Assange , during Obama’s tenure, was a persistent problem after he released classified and embarrassing documents from United States and other countries.
The police in Britain said on Friday, that he still faces a warrant for failing to appear in court – a minor charge that could fetch a one-year jail term – and was eligible for arrest if he left the embassy.
British govt. has so far declined to say whether it has US request for extradition on hand.
Not a clean acquittal.
The present freedom from rape charges comes from technical reasons. To proceed with the case, the court in Sweden has to serve him notice and require his presence in the court, both of which are impossible. As a result, the prosecutors said they had no choice but to drop the investigation. The investigation could be reopened if Assange returned to Sweden before Augus 2020, the deadline before the case gets time barred.
Assange’s stand on rape
Assange detailed his relationship with the accuser saying she had clearly expressed desire “to have sex” and that the two had parted amicably after multiple sessions. The woman’s lawyer said her client is shocked.
Interestingly, Sweden’s decision to let go rape charges coincides with fresh release by WikiLeaks of documents pertaining to Central Intelligence Agency’s technical capabilities and considered to be very damaging to it.
Meanwhile, holed up in the embassy the news of probe ending on its own drew an emotional tweet from Assange “Detained for 7 years without charge…while my children grew up and my name was slandered. I do not forgive or forget” he said.