After Sweden’s top prosecutor has said she has dropped an investigation into Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder appeared on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy to state that he will not “forgive and forget.”
August 14, 2010 Assange was the key speaker at a seminar by the Social Democrats’ Brotherhood Movement on “War and the role of media” and he reportedly had sex that night with a woman who made prior arrangements for the Wikileaks founder to stay at her home.
On August 17, Assange reportedly had sex with another woman he met at the seminar and both women apparently shared aspects of their respective sexual encounters with Assange with each other and a journalist in Sweden.
The Swedish Prosecutor’s Office issued an arrest warrant for Assange on allegations of rape and molestation on August 20 citing statements from both women, who by then said that what started as consensual sex became non-consensual.
At the heart of the charges, which are no longer being investigated, is whether Assange removed a condom he was wearing while engaging in sex acts with those women but media reports have frequently said the allegations involve rape.
“As the statute of limitation has run on some of the crimes, I am compelled to discontinue the investigation with respect to these crimes,” said Marianne Ny, the Swedish director of public prosecution.
Assange denied the accusations and has living inside Ecuador’s London embassy since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden based on a fear that he would be sent to the United States for prosecution on espionage charges for what he considers journalism.
Assange fears that if Britain extradites him to Sweden he would then be extradited to the United States where he could be tried for one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history after publishing U.S. military and diplomatic documents five years ago.
British police said Assange would still be arrested if he left the embassy.
“I am extremely disappointed. There was no need for any of this. I am an innocent man,” Assange said. “Detained for 7 years without charge while my children grew up and my name was slandered. I do not forgive or forget.”
Juan Branco, a lawyer representing Assange, said he would now seek political asylum in France, though did not elaborate on how the campaigner planned to get there without being arrested.
Assange is a hero to some for exposing government abuses of power and championing free speech, but to others view him as a criminal who has undermined the security of the West.
The former computer hacker enraged Washington by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables that laid bare often highly critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders from Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Saudi royal family.
President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions made recent statements that authorities should arrest Assange indicating that he faces prosecution in United States. CIA Director Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service.”
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