Sweden drops charges against Assange

Sweden has dropped the charges against Julian Assange relating to allegations made seven years ago.

Stuff: Julian Assange all smiles after seven-year rape investigation is dropped

Sweden has dropped its investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who says he won’t forgive or forget the slandering of his name following an “important victory”.

The country’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Marianne Ny, made the announcement in Stockholm on Friday.

“Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny has today decided to discontinue the preliminary investigation regarding suspected rape concerning Julian Assange,” the prosecutors’ office said in a statement.

Ny said it was “not possible to take any further steps that would move the investigation forward”.

“All prospects of pursuing the investigation are now exhausted,” she said. “It is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence.

“To continue with legal proceedings would require Julian Assange’s personal appearance in court. There is no longer any reason to continue with the investigation.”​

Assange, 45, who has been in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012, where he was granted political asylum, tweeted a smiling image of himself after the news broke.

In February last year, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said Assange was in effect being arbitrarily detained against international law.

He wasn’t detained, I thought he chose to live in the Ecudorian Embassy to avoid facing the investigation.

So that is now over for Assange, but it may not be the end of his problems.

‘REAL RISK’ OF ARREST, EXTRADITION

​Swedish prosecutors interviewed Assange at the embassy last November and in mid-March received a full translation of the interview, which they have since been reviewing.

In May, Assange’s lawyers asked the Stockholm District Court to review the detention order and arrest warrant against him.

They argued that the US had expressed they were seeking his extradition to the US over alleged crimes relating to Wikileaks’ publication of classified documents.

Assange’s lawyer Per Samuelson said Assange faced a “real risk” of extradition from Sweden. He argued his client’s remand status should be changed so he could leave the embassy to travel to Ecuador.

He is limited to where he can travel in the world to avoid the possibility of extradition proceedings.

However Assange is not likely to celebrate by immediately leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he would still be arrested.

In a tweet, Wikileaks said the “focus now moves to the UK”.

US attorney general Jeff Sessions has said arresting Assange was “a priority”, over alleged crimes relating to Wikileaks’ publication of classified documents.

London’s Metropolitan Police Service, which has been staking out the embassy for five years, said there was still an outstanding warrant for Assange’s arrest in the UK for skipping bail. Wikileaks claimed the UK would arrest Assange “regardless”.

He may not find it easy to get out of Britain.

Melinda Taylor, a member of Assange’s legal team, said their next step was to push for the US to “clarify” Assange’s legal status.

“Their prosecution has been going on since at least 2010, that’s a hell of a long time,” she said. “He has been deprived of the ability to defend himself.”

His lawyers would approach the Department of Justice in the US and request that they either confirm their decision to seek Assange’s extradition, or drop the case altogether, she said.

Assange argues that he and Wikileaks are protected under freedom of speech laws, so he has no case to answer in the US.

Asked if Assange would consider agreeing to extradition to fight the case conventionally in the US courts, Taylor said Assange had already indicated earlier this year that he would do so “if he could rely on standard due process protections and assert a public interest defence”

Assange’s lawyers will also call on the UK to drop the outstanding arrest warrant against him.

They have a potential legal avenue: to approach the courts arguing that the Swedish decision constitutes a significant change in circumstances that means the warrant should be reviewed.

 

30 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  May 20, 2017

    “Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny has today decided to discontinue the preliminary investigation regarding suspected rape concerning Julian Assange,” the prosecutors’ office said in a statement.
    Ny said it was “not possible to take any further steps that would move the investigation forward”.
    “All prospects of pursuing the investigation are now exhausted,” she said. “It is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence.
    “To continue with legal proceedings would require Julian Assange’s personal appearance in court. There is no longer any reason to continue with the investigation.”​

    That’s a rather vague statement. All the Chief Prosecutor seems to be saying is they are discontinuing the investigation & cancelling the arrest warrant because they can’t pursue it any further if they can’t get him to Sweden.

    Personally I think the US should prepare their indictment & see if Assange is as good as his word & travels there. He’s got a helluva lot more faith in the US Justice system than I’d have if he really thinks he wouldn’t end up found guilty of something & locked up like Chelsea Manning. He says he won’t forgive & forget, & imo neither will the US military, security, state department or justice systems.

    • Blazer

       /  May 20, 2017

      Conrad Black maintains the U.S successful prosecution rate is over 95%.Why should Assange bother with the U.S.?The rape charges were a beat up anyway.Ny will go down in history for her comment…’how does she know she wasn’t raped…she’s not a…lawyer’!

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  May 20, 2017

        So in the US, to be accused is to be guilty, to all intents and purposes.

        When did Marianne Ny say that ? Was she saying that the accuser didn’t know this ? If not, who ?

  2. Corky

     /  May 20, 2017

    Stay put, Assange. Just as American justice has different types of pardons. your case is a minefield of legal complications. If in doubt…wait it out. Or get it in writing….which you’ll never receive.

  3. Pickled Possum

     /  May 20, 2017

    Morning
    “Asked if Assange would consider agreeing to extradition to fight the case conventionally in the US courts, Taylor said Assange had already indicated earlier this year that he would do so “if he could rely on standard due process protections and assert a public interest defence”

    “US attorney general Jeff Sessions has said arresting Assange was “a priority”, over alleged crimes relating to Wikileaks’ publication of classified documents.”

    Julian has shown the world thru Wikileaks exactly how corrupt the USA is
    AND they won’t forget it.

    • Gezza

       /  May 20, 2017

      Exactly, Possum. And even though Trump directly benefitted from Wikilieaks revelations, and he showed their government to be as crooked as a dog’s hind leg, a Trump administration would undoubtedly regard what he did as criminal and go for his jugular.

      • Pickled Possum

         /  May 20, 2017

        Also Geza How much did this exercise cost the Uk taxpayer to have a guard outside the embassy 24/7, just in case Julian wanted a warm beer from the pub down the road.

        • Gezza

           /  May 20, 2017

          The UK government’s in the pocket of the Americans when it comes to security & joining up with their illegal invasions etc. While I’m actually glad to know what wikileaks has revealed about the US, wikileaks is a direct threat to every government’s protected diplomatic, military, & state security communications,but they seem to mostly target Western governments & their allies where leakers seem to be more abundant. A leaker wouldn’t last long in Russia, China, or Iran or other repressive countries, I suspect.

          • Pickled Possum

             /  May 20, 2017

            “A leaker (is there even such a word gez) wouldn’t last long in Russia, China, or Iran or other repressive countries, I suspect.”

            Unless some one was leaking against UK USA et al western countries.
            I agree with you re vague statement from Sweden also,
            seems vague statements are a worldly go these days.

            Yep Gez its a man’s world all righty and its time for woman to take it back and put things into there true perspective , once again. 😉
            a great herstory from the BBc
            http://www.ascentofwoman.com/

            • Pickled Possum

               /  May 20, 2017

              Ny said the case could be reopened IF Julian returns to Sweden BEFORE the allegations lapse in 2020.
              I hope him and Pammy Anderson will be happy in the Ecuador Embassy

            • Gezza

               /  May 20, 2017

              Sounds great. Bring back Maggie Thatcher, Golda Meir, Hillary Clinton & Wayne’s mum. 👍

            • Pickled Possum

               /  May 20, 2017

              No I mean real woman gez not men in dresses.
              I am sure it is snowing somewhere up here in the far north.

          • Conspiratoor

             /  May 20, 2017

            “in the pocket of the americans” G? Or perhaps they just have better memories than others

            • Gezza

               /  May 20, 2017

              Yeah, ok that was maybe an unfair metaphor. They have a long & close association as allies – for understandable reasons as they have both cooperated against joint threats to English-speaking Western democracies’ strategic, commercial & diplomatic interests since WW2 when fighting the Nazis & the Japanese was undoubtedly justified on moral grounds as well as self-defence. Although they have also had some notable differences over cooperation at times, such as when the US opposed the Brits’ seizure of the Suez, & the Brits didn’t allow themselves to be sucked in to Vietnam. I’ve never forgiven Blair for his sucking up to the Cheney adminstration & sucking them in to invading Afghanistan & Iraq.

  4. Conspiratoor

     /  May 20, 2017

    Sit back folks, and watch while the leftist anti-US media go to work transforming a traitorous weasel into some sort of cult hero. I despair

    • Blazer

       /  May 20, 2017

      Assange is a conduit for information that shed light on the realities of western governments,he destroyed the ‘good guy’ narrative imprinted on the citizens.Snowden is the hero,sacrificing his ‘life’ on humane principle.An intelligent and articulate man worth 20x more than his…critics.

    • MaureenW

       /  May 20, 2017

      Your comments would have some resonance if the targets of the leaks were not traitorous, treasoness and corrupt also.

      • Conspiratoor

         /  May 20, 2017

        So you think espionage when it’s practiced by a narcissistic self serving individual is somehow worthy of praise, yet it’s not acceptable for the US government to use every tool in the arsenal to protect its citizens and advance american interests? And you think international diplomacy should be played out in the open on a level playing field under an agreed set of rules by a bunch of honourable gentlemen? I’ve got a bridge…
        Let’s discuss it further. Perhaps you could provide a couple of examples of the ‘corruption’ exposed by assange then we can debate whether he did the right thing by sharing the news with the entire world

        • MaureenW

           /  May 20, 2017

          The DNC leaks – there’s more to come on those but they were collecting money for Bernie Sanders when they had decided he wasn’t going to be the nominee. All those who donated to his campaign had their money fraudulently accepted to fund the loser Clinton.
          Vault 7 is rather enlightening also with the extent of hacking tools and blame-games able to be left as trails and lack of care in protecting those tools from other States who can now use them against Western interests.

          I guess what it comes down to is your view-point on the US creating havoc in other countries and using the limp MSN to spin their lies and whether citizens deserve to know better about what their Government is doing on their behalf.

          • Conspiratoor

             /  May 20, 2017

            I agree it comes down to perception. Personally I think he should hang

            “Yes, he admitted, there might be some “blood on our hands,” some “collateral damage, if you will.”

            releases the Social Security numbers of U.S. military personnel, opening them up to identity theft. He has revealed the names of Afghan civilians who collaborate with U.S. forces, a move that was greeted with joy by Taliban commanders, who quickly promised to hunt down and execute those named. He has betrayed the identities of human rights activists and journalists who, at great risk to themselves, passed information on their conditions to U.S. diplomats

            http://tech.mit.edu/V130/N58/wikileaks_p.html

            • Conspiratoor

               /  May 20, 2017

              together with two other pieces of filth …manning and snowden

            • MaureenW

               /  May 20, 2017

              That’s the first time I’ve seen this and can accept your view point because of it -and it matters.
              Would our media be it a better state with or without Wikileaks? IMO most of what passes for msm should just piss off, fold and die for the utter drivel they publish. The current state of US politics is barely worth reporting on other than for the slo-mo entertainment value train crash that it is. Leaders of the free world?? FFS!

            • Conspiratoor

               /  May 20, 2017

              It’s hard to see the media as a better place with or without wiki leaks. Perhaps the question we should be asking is what purpose does wiki leaks serve. Does it make the world a safer place. Could assange have handled this in such a way state security and lives were not put at risk. I believe he could have had he had the moral courage to do so

        • Blazer

           /  May 20, 2017

          ‘ yet it’s not acceptable for the US government to use every tool in the arsenal to protect its citizens and advance american interests? ‘…so where do you draw the line on…invasion,drone attacks,usurping govts,torture….lets hear it.

          • Conspiratoor

             /  May 20, 2017

            Fair question. I’m not okay with invasion of a non threatening peaceful sovereign country for the purpose of overthrow and occupation …think china and tibet, russia and ukraine/crimea
            But no problem with droning bad guys or enhanced interrogation techniques.
            How do you feel about your hero julian’s admission that sure he could have blood on his hands but hey ‘you’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelette’

            • Blazer

               /  May 20, 2017

              Assange is not a hero…Snowden is.’you’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelette’’…this is mild version of….’collateral damage’….something accepted as inevitable and condoned when the U.S flexes its military…muscles thousands of miles away from…home.

            • Conspiratoor

               /  May 20, 2017

              You might find syrians and iraqis would be very pleased to see more US military muscle at this time, not less

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 20, 2017

    It never seemed the rape allegations had much integrity and Assange’s fear of US extradition seemed realistic. Now it is over to the UK courts left holding the baby.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  May 20, 2017

      The thing that made me suspicious about the charge was the complainant saying that it was ‘really bad sex’ . This doesn’t sound like something one would say about being raped, surely. Bad sex and rape are not in the same category, except that the same parts of the anatomy are involved. I can’t imagine a rape victim talking about her ordeal in the same way as someone who’d slept with a partner who was hopeless at it would.