Swedish prosecutors will not pursue their rape investigation of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange any further, they announced, having successfully fulfilled their role in the years-long scheme to put Assange behind bars.
Announcing the decision during a press conference on Tuesday, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson said that it was determined that the evidence was simply not strong enough to file an indictment, and that interviewing Julian Assange regarding the case would not change this assessment.
“The reason for this decision is that the evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question.”
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The Prosecution Authority noted that while the victim was considered credible, oral testimony regarding the case had “weakened” and that corroborating evidence was not strong enough to pursue the case.
Assange is currently being held in a UK prison and is in the middle of a court battle to avoid extradition to the United States.
Swedish authorities reopened the rape investigation following his arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last April.
The Prosecution Authority said that its decision could be appealed.
No apology from Swedish Prosecution service over fact #JulianAssange case has been going on for 9 years. Current lead Eva-Marie Persson says she can only take responsibility for her work over past 6 months. She has confirmed they did not interview Assange again during this time.
— Maddy Savage (@maddysavage) November 19, 2019
Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, said that the focus should now move onto the “threat” that Assange has been “warning about for years: the belligerent prosecution of the United States and the threat it poses to the First Amendment.”
Commentators speculated that by dropping the charges, Sweden may actually be paving the way for Assange’s extradition to the United States.
By dropping the charges against Julian #Assange, Sweden ironically removes another way to stop an extradition to the US for him. Sweden can’t extradite him there, and the charges against him was probably a hindrance for the UK to just extradite him. https://t.co/CvF0QdeaNW
— Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi (@brokep) November 19, 2019
The Australian journalist has repeatedly denied the allegations against him, which were first made in 2010.
Although branded a criminal by Washington, Assange enjoys support from a broad international coalition of activists and civil liberties groups.
One of his most vocal defenders, Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, recently told RT that Assange is being made an example of in hopes of deterring other journalists from pursuing the truth and challenging those in power.
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