Sweden Drops Rape Investigation Against Julian Assange

Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has one less legal headache to contend with, after Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation into a rape allegation made against him in August 2010.

Assange has always denies the accusation, and he fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in June 2012, after he lost his final plea in the UK to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he had faced allegations of raping a woman and sexually molesting and coercing another in Stockholm.

Those charges against Assange were dropped in 2015, but Swedish authorities reopened the investigation when British police in April 2019 entered the Ecuadorian Embassy and dragged him out, after a seven year stalemate.

Swedish decision

Assange was then found guilty in the Southwark Crown Court of breaching the Bail Act, and was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail, at Belmarsh prison in London.

But now it is reported that Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecution, Eva-Marie Persson, took the decision to “discontinue the investigation regarding Julian Assange”, the Swedish Prosecution Authority was quoted as saying by the BBC.

“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.

“I would like to emphasise that the injured party has submitted a credible and reliable version of events,” Persson reportedly said.

“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,” Persson said.

Assange always insisted that the sex was consensual, and he also suggested the Swedish charges were part of a smoke screen for him to be extradited to the United States.

US extradiction

The US is currently 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.

Last month Assange failed to delay his extradition hearing to the United States.

The US Justice Department had filed 17 new charges against Assange in May, accusing him of violating the Espionage Act after he received (from Chelsea Manning) and unlawfully published the names of classified sources.

Those new US charges are extremely serious for Assange, as he had originally been facing roughly five years in prison in the US on the original conspiracy to commit computer intrusion charge.

But now many of these new charges could each entail jail terms of five to 10 years, meaning Assange could face decades in prison if convicted.

In June then Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed a US request for Julian Assange to be extradited to America.

Supporter and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson recently warned that the health of Assange is causing concern. She said that said that his life “was at risk” and he is “unhealthy” in captivity.

In May this year Assange was too ill to appear via video link in a court room hearing to discuss his extradition to the United States. He had reportedly been moved to the hospital wing of the Belmarsh high security prison in London.

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Tom Jowitt @TJowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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