Rape charges dropped against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 19-May-2017

Stockholm (Sweden), May 19: In a huge relief to the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Swedish Director of Public Prosecution, Marianne Ny “has today decided to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange”. Ny filed a request on Friday in the Stockholm District Court to revoke Assange’s arrest warrant.

Assange had visited Sweden in August 2010, where he became the subject of sexual assault allegations from two women. He was questioned, the case was closed, and he was told he could leave the country. However, only a couple of months later the case was re-opened by a special prosecutor who said she wanted to question Assange over two counts of sexual molestation, one count of unlawful coercion and one count of "lesser-degree rape". Assange denied the allegations, and said he was happy to face questions in Britain.

In 2010, the prosecutor said Swedish law prevented her from questioning anyone by video link or in the London embassy. In March 2015, after public criticism from other Swedish law practitioners, she changed her mind and agreed to interrogate Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange is currently residing, with interviews finally beginning on 14 November 2016.

On the same day Swedish Police, prosecutors, and Ecuadorian officials met with Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London about the sexual assault allegations.

Julian Assange had sought for political asylum from Ecuador on 19 June, 2012, fearing that his deportation to Sweden could lead to his extradition to his home country, United States, where he would face severe penalties for his activities related to WikiLeaks.

Assange has been residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 with an ardent backing of Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, who, on numerous times resisted even UK Government’s notices and threats regarding the asylum.

Following official announcement from the Swedish Public Prosecution Director, WikiLeaks took to Twitter, stating that the “focus now moves to the UK”, saying the UK had “refused to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange”.