Sweden today announced it has decided to drop its investigation in to rape allegations made against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a move his lawyer described as a ‘total victory’.
The dramatic decision was revealed by Sweden’s Director of Public Prosecution, Marianne Ny, who said the probe had been ‘discontinued’ having effectively become a lost cause.
The Daily Mail reports,
The 45-year-old Australian, who denies the 2010 rape claims, has been living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost five years and has been granted political asylum.
The focus will now move to the governments of the UK and the US and whether Assange will attempt to fly to Ecuador to avoid extradition to America for trial over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret military and diplomatic documents.
Met Police today confirmed there is a warrant for his arrest for not appearing in court in 2012, and that it was ‘obliged’ to execute the warrant if he leaves the embassy.
But the offence is ‘much less serious’ than the sex crimes claims, and police ‘will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence,’ the force said.
Moments after this morning’s decision, he tweeted a picture of himself smiling. It was immediately retweeted by actress Pamela Anderson who has visited him at the embassy several times.
Sweden’s probe into Assange was ended because there was ‘no reason to believe that the decision to surrender him to Sweden can be executed in the foreseeable future’, prosecutors said.
However, it is not yet clear whether he will be arrested should he try to leave his London hide-out or whether he would be stopped at airport security if he attempted to leave the country.
In a statement this morning, Met police said it was ‘obliged’ to execute a warrant for the arrest of Assange should he leave the embassy after he failed to surrender to Westminster Magistrates’ Court in June 2012.