Swedish prosecutors on Friday said they had decided to drop the preliminary investigation into rape charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Reuters reported. The development concludes a seven-year long case. Swedish Director of of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny filed a request to the Stockholm District Court asking it to drop the arrest warrant against Assange.
Assange now risks extradition to the United States over charges that he leaked thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents. Following the Swedish prosecutor’s statement, Wikileaks tweeted that the “focus now moves to the United Kingdom”, as London is yet to “confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange”. On Twitter, WikiLeaks posted, “UK states it will arrest Assange regardless.”
The 45-year-old WikiLeaks founder had sought refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012, and has been living there since to avoid extradition to Sweden over the rape charges. He has repeatedly denied the allegations.
The Wikileaks founder will be arrested even though Sweden has dropped its charges, since he is wanted under a separate warrant for skipping bail, a statement issued by the Metropolitan Police said. “Westminster Magistrates’ Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012. The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy,” a statement said.