Sweden Drops Assange Rape Investigation After Nearly 10 Years

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STOCKHOLM—A Swedish prosecutor said on Nov. 19 she would not proceed with an investigation into an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after a review of the evidence.

Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson said that the complainants evidence was deemed credible and reliable, but that after nearly a decade, witnesses memories had faded.

“After conducting a comprehensive assessment of what has emerged during the course of the preliminary investigation I then make the assessment that the evidence is not strong enough to form the basis for filing an indictment,” Persson told a news conference.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson is seen during a news conference in Stockholm
Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson is seen during a news conference in Stockholm
Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson is seen during a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden on Nov. 19, 2019. (TT News Agency/Jessica Gow via Reuters)

The 48-year-old Australian citizen has repeatedly denied the allegation against him, made in 2010.

The move by the prosecutor heads off a possible dilemma for the British courts which could potentially have had to decide between competing extradition requests from the United States and Sweden. However, the prosecutor said the decision to drop the investigation could be appealed.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, England on Feb. 5, 2016. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

Assange is being held in a British jail pending a hearing in February on extradition to the United States, which wants the 48-year-old Australian citizen over 18 criminal counts including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law.

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