Swedish Police officially dropped their seven-year long investigation into rape accusations against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, but a British arrest warrant still hangs over his head.
Assange, 45, was the subject of an arrest warrant from Sweden during the height of Wikileaks’ prominence in 2010, over accusations he had raped a woman in the country. Fearing an arrest by Sweden would lead to his extradition to the United States where he is wanted for espionage, Assange went to ground in 2012 by taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has lived ever since.
While the arrest warrant for Assange from Sweden has now expired after Sweden’s director of public prosecution decided to drop the case, Assange is still subject to a British arrest warrant for “failing to surrender to court” when requested on 29th of June 2012.
A statement from London’s Scotland Yard police headquarters said Friday morning:
“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.
“Whilst Mr Assange was wanted on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for an extremely serious offence, the MPS response reflected the serious nature of that crime. Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence. The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence”.
While compared to rape the charge for which he is wanted for in the UK is still minor, Mr Assange remains unlikely to leave the embassy yet as the British government has not confirmed whether or not it has received an extradition request from the United States for Mr Assange, again over espionage.
UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to UK.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 19, 2017
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