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Julian Assange will no longer face the rape charge
Sweden's Director of Public Prosecution announced today they would drop the preliminary investigation into the allegation of rape – bringing an end to the seven-year standoff.
In a statement, the office said: "Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny has today decided to discontinue the preliminary investigation regarding suspected rape concerning Julian Assange."
After the announcment today, Wikileaks tweeted that the foceus "now moves to the UK", saying Britain has "refused to conirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant".
However if the Wikileaks chief leaves the embassy he could still be arrested by Metropolitan police in London, officials have warned.
Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuador embassy since 2012
The 45-year-old has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012 after taking refuge there to avoid extradition to the US to face trial over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents.
The accusation dates back to August 2010, when the alleged victim, who says she met him at a WikiLeaks conference in Stockholm a few days earlier, filed a complaint.
She accuses him of having sex with her as she slept without using a condom despite repeatedly having denied him unprotected sex.
in a 19-page testimony released in December 2016, he said: "I am entirely innocent."
And the Wikileaks boss argued the sex was consensual and that the accusations are "politically motived".
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It is believed that Julian Assange chooses to live in Sweden because the country's media laws are among the world's most protective for journalists
Last month his lawyer Per Samuelsson filed a new motion demanding that the arrest warrant be lifted after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that arresting Assange would be "a priority".
The statement said: "This implies that we can now demonstrate that the US has a will to take action… this is why we ask for the arrest warrant to be cancelled so that Julian Assange can fly to Ecuador and enjoy his political asylum."
Shortly after the announcement was made today, Mr Assange tweeted a picture of himself smiling from ear to ear with no caption.
Mr Assange has not left the embassy for several years
But a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police today said that despite Sweden's European arrest warrant for the WikiLeaks founder being lifted, he was under a separate warrant for skipping bail.
The statement read: "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."
Scotland Yard stood down the 24/7 police presence outside the embassy building in 2015 – but today pledged to make “every effort” to arrest Mr Assange if he left.
The Wikileaks boss argued the sex was consensual
The Metropolitan Police in London issued a statement saying that its actions had been based on a response to a "European Arrest Warrant for an extremely serious offence".
It went on: "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."
The MPS said it would "not comment further on the operational plan".
And experts now claim it would be easier for the US to extradite Mr Assange now, as they only need the UK to agree and not Sweden as well.
Lawyer David Allen Green tweeted: "It is now easier for US to obtain Assange's extradition, if they (ever) wanted it.
"Now only UK's consent required, not UK and Sweden."
The announcement comes just two days after the US released former soldier Chelsea Manning, seven years into her 35 year sentence for disclosing top secret military documents to Mr Assange.
The massive haul of intel, believed to be the biggest breach of classified information in US military history, included around 700,000 documents, diplomatic cables, videos and battlefield accounts.
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