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UK police say Assange still faces arrest

20 Mai 2017

Swedish prosecutors said on Friday they would drop a preliminary investigation into an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday, bringing to an end a 7-year legal stand-off.

The Metropolitan Police Service in London said after the news was announced that it remained obliged to arrest Assange should he leave the Ecuadoran embassy on a lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court, the BBC reported.

However, Assange has thus far been cautious about taking advantage of the development.

A statement tweeted on Friday complained that the United Kingdom had refused to confirm or deny whether U.S. authorities had asked for Assange to be extradited - implying that they believe he may not be out of the woods yet.

The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday it would be "an operational matter for the police" to decide whether to arrest Assange if he left the embassy.

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"We are not making a statement about his guilt", Ny said, adding that the investigation could be reopened if Assange came to Sweden before the statute of limitations deadline for the rape allegation in 2020.

Meanwhile, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long urged Britain to "grant safe passage" out of the country to Assange.

"Julian Assange has been a victim of a huge abuse of procedure". But Assange later wrote on Twitter that he would "not forgive or forget".

"Detained for seven years without charge.while my children grew up and my name was slandered", the WikiLeaks founder said.

Samuelsson, the lawyer in Sweden, told Swedish Radio he had been in touch with Assange via text message and the Australian had written, "Serious, Oh My God". He has repeatedly reiterated his innocence and said the sex was consensual.

UK police say Assange still faces arrest