Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

United Kingdom police say Assange still faces arrest

United Kingdom police say Assange still faces arrest

Mr Assange said he had spent seven years either under house arrest or living inside the embassy, without charge, as he faced sex-related allegations in Sweden, which he has always denied.

Britain and the U.S. have an extradition treaty, so if Assange leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy where he's claimed asylum, the British could arrest him and send him to the US.

Marianne Ny, the Swedish director of public prosecutions announced Friday that she was dropping the rape case because there is no prospect of bringing Assange to Sweden "in the foreseeable future" and it is "no longer proportionate" to maintain the European arrest warrant.

In a court document seen by Reuters, chief prosecutor Marianne Ny said there were no further avenues to pursue to take the investigation forward.

"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", a statement said. "The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy".

Mr Assange said the United Kingdom had refused to confirm or deny whether there is a warrant from the US for his extradition, insisting he was happy to talk to the US Justice Department.

Asked if Britain would now support a request to extradite Mr Assange to the United States, Prime Minister Theresa May said: "We look at extradition requests on a case-by-case basis". 24 - Assange says WikiLeaks will have to stop publishing secret cables and devote itself to fund-raising.

Assange has been granted asylum by Ecuador and has been able to evade justice because he is on Ecuador's sovereign territory by being in the embassy.

WikiLeaks says the ball is now in Britain's court after Sweden's decision to drop its rape investigation of Julian Assange.

The news service reports he also called on the U.K.to allow Assange safe passage back to Ecuador.

Assange's Swedish lawyer last month filed a new motion demanding that the arrest warrant be lifted after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in April that arresting Assange would be "a priority".

However, British police said he is still a wanted man for failing to surrender in the country in 2012. London police say he will still be arrested if he leaves the embassy building.

Assange was arrested by Britain in December 2010 and released on bail while fighting the extradition order to Sweden, a bid that finally failed in June 2012 when Britain's Supreme Court declined to reopen the appeal.

It ends a three-year police operation which is estimated to have cost more than 12 million pounds ($17 million).

"Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter".

Despite Friday's announcement by Swedish prosecutors, Assange, who is still the subject of a United Kingdom arrest warrant, acknowledged he is unlikely to walk out of the embassy any time soon.

The panel said he should be freed and entitled to compensation.

August 25, 2011 - WikiLeaks releases thousands of previously unpublished US diplomatic cables from its cache of more than 250,000 State Department reports.

WikiLeaks claims "victory" after then U.S. president Barack Obama commutes the sentence of Chelsea Manning, a soldier who leaked a huge amount of defence department files published by WikiLeaks, and who is released on May 17.

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