Prosecutors said they have closed the seven-year rape investigation into Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid prosecution. He still faces arrest in the UK for jumping bail.

The announcement means Assange is no longer under any investigation in Sweden.
The announcement means Assange is no longer under any investigation in Sweden.

Swedish prosecutors on Friday said they would drop a preliminary investigation into an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, bringing to an end a seven-year legal stand-off.

"Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny has today decided to discontinue the preliminary investigation regarding suspected rape concerning Julian Assange," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

The chief prosecutor, however, did warn that the investigation could be re-opened.

"If Julian Assange were to return to Sweden before the statute of limitations, before the time lapses in August of 2020, the preliminary investigation could be opened," Ny said during a press conference.

Assange, 45, has lived in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, after taking refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden over an allegation of rape, which he denies.

Shortly after the decision, Assange said that he will not "forgive or forget" the allegations.

Assange still faces arrest in UK

British police said Assange would still be arrested if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy for skipping bail.

"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," London police said in a statement.

"The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy."

The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long has responded, tweeting, "The European Arrest Warrant no longer holds. The UK must now grant safe passage to Mr Julian Assange,"

Maintaining accusations

The woman who accused Assange of rape has slammed the decision by Swedish prosecutors to drop an investigation, calling it a "scandal," her lawyer said Friday.

"It is a scandal that a suspected rapist can escape justice and thereby avoid the courts... my client is shocked and no decision to [end the case] can make her change that Assange exposed her to rape," the plaintiff's lawyer Elisabeth Fritz said in a statement.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies