Swedish prosecutors on Tuesday dropped a rape investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, ending an almost decade-old case that sent the 48-year-old into hiding in London’s Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition, AFP reported.

Swedish prosecutors had stopped the investigation in 2017, but reopened it this year after Ecuador rescinded its grant of asylum to Assange in April, allowing British police to arrest him. Assange is currently serving 50 weeks in London’s Belmarsh Prison for skipping bail in 2012.

“My assessment is that all investigative measures that can be taken have been taken,” Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson told reporters in Stockholm. “But... the evidence is not strong enough to file an indictment.”

She emphasised that the woman who had levelled the accusations against the WikiLeaks founder in 2010 “has given a credible and reliable account [of events]”. Persson added: “Her statement is clear, long and detailed. But altogether, my assessment is that the evidence has weakened in such a way that there is no longer reason to continue the investigation.”

The complainant had accused Assange of having unprotected sex with her while she was sleeping. She said she had refused to have unprotected sex with him before the alleged incident.

The WikiLeaks founder has repeatedly denied the allegations, describing them as part of a plot to discredit him and secure his eventual transfer to the United States. Assange is fighting an American extradition attempt. If his efforts fail, he is likely to face charges under the Espionage Act that could see him get sentenced up to 175 years in prison. Most of the charges relate to obtaining and publishing classified information, including military documents and diplomatic cables.

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