Rape inquiry dropped, WikiLeaks' Assange remains in embassy

Media outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London this morning

With news that Sweden has ended its investigation into sexual assault allegations leveled against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder enters a new, uncertain legal landscape with USA authorities still eyeing his prosecution.

That's unclear. Assange suspects there is a secret USA indictment against him for WikiLeaks' publication of leaked classified American documents, which has infuriated US officials.

Assange's Swedish lawyer Per E. Samuelson declared Friday that "this is a total victory for Julian Assange".

The decision was taken after prosecutors concluded that "at this point, all possibilities to conduct the investigation are exhausted", Sweden's director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, said on Friday.

"Today is an important victory", Assange, in a black shirt and jacket, told reporters and a small band of supporters crowded around the tiny balcony. According to the New York Times, he could be arrested in London for jumping bail or he could be extradited to the United States if he were to leave the Ecuador embassy.

There were initially two separate allegations being investigated, but one was dropped in 2015 because the statute of limitations ran out.

The end of the Swedish investigation and the lifting of a European arrest warrant presents American prosecutors with a series of tough decisions about how - and whether - to pursue the case against Assange.

"Recent declarations by high-level US officials. reflect the executive branch's intention to once again take up criminal action against the WikiLeaks organization and Julian Assange", said Long.

Assange has always claimed the charges against him were politically motivated.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said that the decision to arrest Assange if he left the embassy would be "an operational matter for the police".

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Taxpayers face a mounting bill for the police to monitor Julian Assange after he indicated that he would stay in the Ecuadorean embassy, despite Sweden dropping its rape investigation.

He said he has suffered a "terrible injustice", without ever being charged with a crime. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday that "any decision that is taken about United Kingdom action in relation to him (Assange) would be an operational matter for the police".

Therefore the investigation is discontinued.

The department said Friday it had no comment on Assange. In December, he spoke for the first time on the allegations, releasing a statement and documents as he claimed he was "entirely innocent".

WikiLeaks complained about the lack of clarity in Assange's legal situation.

The allegation by her lawyer Elisabeth Fritz that Assange has deliberately obstructed the judicial process because he was "afraid" neglects to acknowledge that Assange's fear is not confined to being found guilty of rape.

"The important distinction is that her sentence was commuted by then president Barack Obama". Prosecutors were trying to determine, among other things, if Assange had sex with the woman while she was asleep and without using a condom.

The prosecutors said their decision was based on the nation's inability to apprehend Assange in the foreseeable future, adding that they could reopen the case if the transparency advocate returns to Sweden before 2020.

In January, Assange said he stood by an offer to go to the United States providing his rights were upheld and if former military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who was responsible for a 2010 leak of classified materials to Assange's anti-secrecy group, was freed.