'Total Victory' for Assange, With a Catch

Sweden drops rape investigation against him, but arrest warrant still out there
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2017 6:08 AM CDT
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London on Feb. 5, 2016.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

(Newser) – Swedish prosecutors say they've dropped a rape investigation into Julian Assange, but the WikiLeaks founder will still face arrest if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London that has been his home for the last five years. Swedish Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny asked the Stockholm District Court to revoke Assange's European arrest warrant Friday after concluding that bringing Assange to Sweden will not happen "in a foreseeable future," per the BBC and AP. "This is a total victory for Julian Assange. He is now free to leave the embassy when he wants," Assange's lawyer in Sweden tells the AP. But that’s not exactly the case.

Earlier Friday, the UK's Metropolitan Police Service said an arrest warrant was issued for Assange when he violated his bail conditions by entering the embassy in 2012, reports the Guardian. Police are "obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy," the service said. Assange could also be extradited to the US, where he is likely to face trial over the leaking of documents through WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks on Friday tweeted the "UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to UK." On Friday morning, Assange tweeted a photo of himself relaxing with a big smile. He previously claimed his innocence. (Read more Julian Assange stories.)

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