Sweden drops rape investigation into Assange
Sweden's director of public prosecutions Marianne Ny has decided to drop the investigations into allegations of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Ending the 7-year standoff, Ny filed a request to the Stockholm District Court, requesting the revocation of the arrest warrant issued against Assange in the case. However, he still faces arrest and extradition to the US if leaves the Ecuadorian embassy.
Who is Julian Assange?
Julian Assange who was born in 1971 is an Australian computer programmer and journalist. He initiated WikiLeaks in 2006 post a career in hacking and programming and is the editor-in-chief Assange came under investigation when WikiLeaks published US military and diplomatic matters. Assange was charged with sexual offenses in 2010 and an investigation was filed over him by the Swedish Director of Public Prosecution.
Refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy
In February 2011, a magistrate's court in Belmarsh ruled that Assange is to be extradited to Sweden. Assange appealed the judgment at the High Court which reserved its judgment. In 2012 the UK Supreme Court ordered Assange's extradition to Sweden as it was legally permissible. In June 2012, Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London seeking political asylum, which he was granted in August.
An Embassy is a sovereign nation
Under the Vienna Convention, embassies are sovereign territories upon which the laws of the host nation do not apply. By entering the Ecuadorian embassy, Assange is technically on Ecuadorian soil.
Assange’s appeal for removal of charges declined
Julian Assange appealed to the Swedish High Court for removal of the charges pressed over him. The appeal was rejected and the molestation charges against Assange could not be lifted. Assange's lawyers however, had hopes that the court could change their mind over the appeal. Per Samuelson, Assange's Australian lawyer condemned the judgment and called it a "weak decision".
Assange cleared from sexual assault allegation
The sexual assault charge against Julian Assange was dropped by the Swedish prosecutors. Two out of the four allegations that Assange faced were cancelled as the time for proving the charges had elapsed. These allegations were charged on him in 2010, and the statute provides a maximum of five years to bring charges. However Swedish authorities did not drop Assange's rape charge.
Swedish court upholds Assange arrest warrant
A Swedish appeals court has upheld an arrest warrant against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, over allegations of rape. The court said, "The court of appeal shares the assessment of the district court that Julian Assange is still suspected on probable cause of rape." This was the 8th time Assange's warrant had been tested by a Swedish court, with all verdicts having been against him.