Will not forgive those who slandered me, says Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
- Author: Sonia Alvarado May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 9:52
Last month, CNN reported us authorities had prepared charges to seek Assange's arrest while The Washington Post reported USA federal prosecutors were weighing charges against WikiLeaks members after the Justice Department declined to do so during President Obama's time in office.
The only official outstanding warrant for Assange's arrest was from Sweden, where he had been wanted in connection with a rape allegation. Assange believes the United States wants him extradited and arrested in connection with WikiLeaks' publication of classified US documents.
Chief prosecutor in Sweden Marianne Ny said the investigation had not been able to proceed because of legal obstacles.
"We don't make any statement of guilty or not", she said.
The statute of limitations on the rape allegation expires in August 2020, and prosecutors could reopen the case if Assange returns to Sweden before then.
Assange said the claim that the United Kingdom had the right to arrest him for seeking asylum when no charges had been laid against him was "simply untenable".
Later on Friday, British police said separately they would still arrest Assange if he walked out of the embassy because he had broken his conditions for bail by failing to surrender on June 29, 2012 for extradition to Sweden.
British police kept up round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until December 2015, when the operation was scaled back, in part because of the cost, which had exceeded 11 million pounds (over $17.5 million at the time).
The computer programmer's defense fears that London will send him to the United States, where he would be tried for disseminating confidential information about USA national security and could be sentenced to life imprisonment or death.
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She said that under Swedish law a criminal investigation needed to be conducted "as quickly as possible".
Assange, who did not take questions, said detention and extradition without charge had "become a feature of the EU" and that needed addressing.
Assange has always denied the allegations against him, claiming the sex was consensual and that the case was politically motivated to get him extradited to the United States as it followed massive Wikileaks dumps of secret USA military reports that year.
Assange, wearing a dark brown leather jacket, held his clenched fist in the air after stepping onto the small balcony below a flapping Ecuadorian flag before saying the Swedish decision was "an important victory".
Today was the deadline for the public prosecutor's office to either renew the pan-European arrest warrant or lift it.
Assange leaves the embassy and is arrested, but moves quickly through the British courts process, before being given a minor fine.
Without the threat of extradition, it would appear now, more than ever that Assange may finally be free to leave the embassy. But the British government has not commented on whether the United States had made a request to extradite Assange.
Assange has disputed the rape allegations.
Katz reported from London.