LONDON – The Swedish authorities announced on Tuesday that they would end an investigation into allegations of rape and sexual assault made against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, that date from 2010. t
“The evidence is not strong enough to create an indictment base,” said Eva-Marie Persson, Swedish director of public prosecutions. “In this case, the preliminary investigation should be discontinued, and that is what happened.”
Mr Assange, 48, remains in British prison awaiting extradition hearings in the United States, raising questions about whether the Swedish investigation would end the way that process would continue.
“This cleans one block on Julian Assange,” said Carl Tobias, professor of law at Richmond University. “It emphasizes the extradition process, and the extent to which the British authorities are willing to do so.”
Sweden began investigating Ms Assange in 2010, after two women accused her of assaulting them during specific sexual contacts during her visit to Stockholm.
When the Swedish authorities issued a European arrest warrant in 2012 seeking extradition from Britain for questioning on “suspects of rape, three cases of sexual manipulation and unlawful coercion,” he fled to London's Ecuadorean Embassy. Mr Assange and his lawyers said they were afraid that if he returned to Sweden then he would be extradited to the United States.
He stayed in self-imposed exile in the embassy for seven years, until was arrested in April following the revocation of its asylum status by Ecuador.
Ms. Persson had again questioned the people interviewed in 2010 and had spoken to two others who had not previously been interviewed. She said that the auditors were of the opinion that creditors were credible and that her statements were reliable but that some of the references were contrary.
In 2010, Anna Ardin, a Swedish woman who spoke publicly about the incident, informed Ms Assange that she would have to find unprotected sex. The second woman said that Mr Assange put her in without a condom while she was sleeping during the same trip to Stockholm.
“Memories are retreating for natural reasons,” said Ms. Persson, but she stressed the story that the injured party put a credible version of events into.
“His statements were coherent, extensive and detailed,” Ms. Persson under one of the plaintiffs. “However, my overall assessment is that the evidential situation has been reduced so much that there is no longer any reason to carry out the investigation.”
Reporters asked for the length of the procedure – almost 10 years – Ms. Persson said that the news coverage could be extensiveviability of cases.
“You need to think about what the witnesses have read and heard from the media,” she said.
The Swedish authorities dropped the investigation in 2017, t but it was reopened this year after Mr Assange He was arrested in London and one of the alleged victims was asked by a lawyer to be revisited, the prosecutor said. Mr Assange, who is an Australian, has always denied the allegations, and the complainants have been repeatedly worried by their lawyers that they want to slur WikiLeaks founder.
Mr Assange was detained last year and imprisoned for the bail-out after Ecuador suddenly withdrew him. The United States is trying to extradite it because of allegations that it has attempted to assist in the breach of classified data.
In September, a British court ruled that Mr Assange must remain in a British prison until it is heard, which is due early next year.
Mr Assange was informed by the Department of Justice that he had dropped many fees, including 17 breaches of the Episcopal Act, in that he had sought, obtained and published classified information at the west. informational analyzes, Chelsea Manning.
The charges raised questions about the freedom of the press, and critics expressed concern that the case could pre-empt the criminalization of the future actions of national security journalism.
The end of the Swedish investigation into allegations of sexual assault simplifies matters for the US government in its attempt to extradite it into American soil. Put simply, it means that there is now only one country, rather than two countries, that they would like to see transferred by the British authorities for further legal proceedings.
The Department of Justice refused to comment on how the end of the Swedish investigation would affect its case.
But Mr Assange's lawyers welcomed before Sweden's decision on Tuesday and said it was time to go for an American extradition request. Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor of WikiLeaks, I highlighted this sentiment in a statement published by the group.
“Sweden submitted his preliminary investigation to Mr Assange for the third time, having reopened him with no new evidence or information,” he said. “Let us now focus on the threat that Mr Assange has warned for years: the warring prosecution in the United States and the threat of the First Amendment.” T
Elisabeth Massi Fritz, a lawyer for one of the women who made allegations against Mr Assange, said in an email statement that she and her client do not share the prosecutor's assessment.
She said there are logical reasons that the evidence has changed since nine years ago and that if the previous investigation included more detailed questioning, “the interviews would be of a high standard and we would be able to use them today. ”
“Unfortunately, that is not the case,” said Ms. Fritz Massi. “The only right decision is to interview the suspect in London.”
Megan Specia reported from London, Christina Anderson of Stockholm and Charlie Savage from Washington.