Julian Assange: Sweden drops rape investigation

Media captionWho is Julian Assange?

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 Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012.

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 US 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.

What did the prosecutors say?

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.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson. Photo: 19 November 2019
Image captionEva-Marie Persson said the decision had been taken after interviews with seven witnesses

Ms Persson said: “I would like to emphasise 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.”

Media captionJulian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London

Prosecutors told reporters the decision to drop the inquiry had been taken after interviews with seven witnesses in the case.

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