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Swedish prosecutors drop rape charges against Assange but U.S. extradition is still pending

Prosecutors in Sweden have dropped an investigation into a rape allegation made against Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange in 2010. Assange, who denies the accusation, has avoided extradition to Sweden for seven years after seeking refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012.

Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy.

The 48-year-old Australian was evicted in April and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions. He is currently being held at Belmarsh prison in London. The Swedish investigation had been shelved in 2017 but was re-opened earlier this year following his eviction from the embassy.

Separately, the U.S. is seeking Assange’s extradition from the UK over his alleged role in the release of classified military and diplomatic material by Wikileaks in 2010.

Swediesh Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson took the decision to “discontinue the investigation regarding Julian Assange”, the Swedish Prosecution Authority said. “The reason for this decision is that the evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question,” it added.

Persson said: “I would like to emphasize that the injured party has submitted a credible and reliable version of events. “Her statements have been coherent, extensive and detailed; however, my overall assessment is that the evidential situation has been weakened to such an extent that that there is no longer any reason to continue the investigation.”

With the end of Julian Assange’s legal troubles in Sweden, one long chapter in the saga is over. But another one, in the United States, has barely begun.

The Wikileaks founder always argued that his fear of being extradited from Sweden to the US was why he had taken refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. That political refuge ended unceremoniously in April, when he was dragged out by British police.

Now Assange faces 18 criminal charges in the U.S., including conspiring to hack government computers and violating espionage laws. If convicted, he could face decades in jail. From behind bars in Belmarsh jail, Assange is trying to prepare for the case. The decision by Swedish prosecutors today means there’ll now be no competing extradition request to the one from the U.S.

Assange was accused of rape by a woman and sexual assault by another one following a Wikileaks conference in Stockholm in 2010. He has always denied the allegations, saying the sex was consensual. He also faced investigations for molestation and unlawful coercion, but these cases were dropped in 2015 because time had run out.

There was no immediate comment from Assange but Wikileaks welcomed the Swedish move to drop the investigation. Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said: “Let us now focus on the threat Assange has been warning about for years: the belligerent prosecution of the United States and the threat it poses to the First Amendment.”

Australian-born Assange faces a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in the US. He is accused of participating in one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets, which could result in a prison term of up to five years.

In June, the then UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, formally approved an extradition request from the U.S. Assange was due to be released from HMP Belmarsh in September after serving the custody period of his jail term.

But a judge ruled that Assange should remain in jail until his extradition hearing because of his “history of absconding”.

Last month, a judge rejected Assange’s attempt to delay the full extradition hearing, which is scheduled to take place at Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London in February.
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Credit: BBC News, www.bbc.com

20 thoughts on “Swedish prosecutors drop rape charges against Assange but U.S. extradition is still pending

    1. Two things ‘JOHN’, learn how to spell; Secondly, when we Trump/Johnson a charge of excessive stupidity against you and extradite you to RIKERS Island, you will find in your possessions package just the right amount of Rope a la EPSTEIN. If it seems to have gone missing? Contact that Prince among Men….Andrew.

    2. Once you finish your spelling lesson, try reading this: https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/now-that-assange-is-safely-locked-up-sweden-drops-its-investigation-5a95d3bd3a6c

      Here’s an excerpt for you in case you don’t do hyperlinks: Monstrous it is. And monstrous the whole thing remains. They have maneuvered circumstances and narratives in such a way that they are now able to literally imprison a journalist for exposing US war crimes, right in front of us, while telling us we live in a free society. It’s like watching someone who’s supposed to be your friend reach down and start strangling your dog to death while looking you right in the eye and saying “I’m not killing your dog. I would never do that. We’re friends.”

      They’ve locked him up. They’ve silenced him. They’ve broken his body. They’ve broken his mind. And now they’re trying to lock him out of sight forever, out of sight and out of mind, so we can all forget all about the evil things they’ve revealed about themselves.

      But all that means is that now his fate is in our hands. Back when he was strong and bright-eyed and had a voice, it was easy to kid ourselves and say “Eh, he’ll find a way out of this. He’s the smartest guy around!” It was easy to lean on his strength in order to abdicate our responsibility to defend him tooth and claw from a globe-spanning oligarchic empire which seeks to criminalize holding power to account.

      We can’t do that anymore. We can’t take comfort in Assange’s power, because he doesn’t have it anymore. His frailty now means we need to be the strong ones. We need to fight for him, because he can’t do it himself. We need to win this battle if we’re ever to have any hope of overturning the status quo that is oppressing us all and shoving us toward greater and greater peril. We can’t afford to lose this one. We need to fight for Assange like the world depends on it. Because, in a very real sense, it does.

    3. Assange put American lives at risk. Extending the first amendment to criminals isn’t in anyone’s security interest. If he’s innocent, so be it. If not, he should be in a prizon. (SIC)

      1. The war criminals that he exposed and the war crimes they committed put far more American lives at risk, not to mention the lives of millions of innocent men, women and children that were destroyed by their wanton acts of murder and mayhem.

        It’s the war criminals and their enablers who should be rotting in jail, not Assange.

    1. The bogus charges [https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=PZ0UgJRPhxw&feature=emb_logo] were dropped for one reason and one reason only; to facilitate the UK delivering what’s left of Assange to the US for his star chamber trial for the heinous crime of committing journalism.

        1. Was the video link I referenced above not sufficient? If you still have doubts, check this out:

          https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/now-that-assange-is-safely-locked-up-sweden-drops-its-investigation-5a95d3bd3a6c

          And if all of that is still not enough to convince you, try reading this detailed explication by Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture; Human Rights Chair, Geneva Academy; Professor of International Law, University of Glasgow; Vice-President IIHL, Sanremo:

          https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadPublicCommunicationFile?gId=24838

    2. Says the gal who spreads the lies about Eva Morales running a coke ring with out a shred of evidence? Seems the Bolivian legislature and judiciary call it a coup. But “the people in Bolivia ” tell Esmeralda what the cia wants propigated ?

      1. You can yell and scream and stomp your feet and continue asking for proof but that does not change the fact that the people are saying Morales runs drugs. That was one of the reasons they did not vote for Morales this time around. So they protested as they felt their vote did not count due to irregularities done by Morales crew.

        Heard this from many many Bolivians but then of course you in your chair somewhere else in the world would know way more than the people of Bolivia. You believe what you want, makes no difference to me or the Bolivians but the people of Bolivia are very well aware of what their politicians are up to.

        1. You can yell and scream and stomp your feet and continue asking for
          proof but that does not change the fact that the people are saying that Esmeralda runs drugs.

          Heard this from many many CHL readers but then of course you in your chair
          somewhere else in the world would know way more than the CHL readers. You believe what you want, makes no difference to me or the
          other CHL readers but these people are very well aware of what Esmeralda is up to.

          There. See how easy that was? Proof positive…and I didn’t even have to source CIA operatives.

          1. I realize you are disappointed to hear this about Morales and are lashing out at me. Morales does not even deny that they grow the leaves. We were told that the leaves that are grown (Morales approved of) are too hard to chew and can not even be used for religious purposes. These leaves are being used for cocaine and the honest Bolivians say that they are tired of being the big drug country and also helping Venezuela with this extra money. You do not have to believe me but for goodness sack believe the Bolivian people

            When Weinstein and Epstein insisted that the accusers were lying I hope you were not one of those people that believed Weisten and Epstein. The point I am trying to make is that when large groups of people are saying the same thing you need to admit that there is some truth to it. Look at Venezuela. It took millions of people to finally convince the naysayers that Venezuela has a problem.
            You can be one of those naysayers or you could have compassion for the Bolivian people.

            1. You do realize realize that you have not offered the slightest shred of proof to back up your wild conjecture, don’t you? You just keep repeating that “the Bolivian people say…”

              In your previous post you accused Morales of being a drug trafficker. Now you back off of that accusation and say that “Morales approved of” growing tough leaves.

              And my gosh, what in the %$#@ do Epstein and Weinstein have to do with any of this?

  1. Autocratic govts. are really having a hard time with the web. The inner workings of the US State Dept are not much different than the govts. that it opposes.

  2. We wouldnt know ANYTHING about what govts really Do, and who has been doing it to all their people…. if it werent for Assange, so of course he has to go down. Its unconscienable the protests for his freedom do nt exist. God love you Julian.

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