Swedish prosecutors said Friday that they were dropping the long-running rape investigation into Julian Assange. The embattled founder of document-spilling site WikiLeaks has been living in Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012 in a bid to avoid prosecution on those allegations and to shield himself from a potential US espionage prosecution.
The Swedish Prosecution Authority chief Marianne Ny said that the agency has "decided to discontinue the investigation" because neither Assange nor Ecuador would cooperate.
Almost 5 years ago Julian Assange was permitted refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has resided ever since. In doing so, he has escaped all attempts by the Swedish and British authorities to execute the decision to surrender him to Sweden in accordance with the EU rules concerning the European Arrest Warrant. My assessment is that the surrender cannot be executed in the foreseeable future.
According to Swedish legislation, a criminal investigation is to be conducted as quickly as possible. At the point when a prosecutor has exhausted the possibilities to continue the investigation, the prosecutor is obliged to discontinue the investigation.
Assange, 45, has always maintained his innocence. His attorney, Per Samuelson, said "an innocent man proved he was not guilty." The authorities, however, said that they were not declaring Assange's innocence but instead conceding they could not leap the legal hurdles presented by Assange's diplomatic protection.