Assange says "will not forgive or forget" detention for 7 years


Assange says

On Friday, Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation of rape allegations against Julian Assange after seven years.

The announcement means the outspoken WikiLeaks leader no longer faces sex crime allegations in Sweden, although British police say he is still wanted for jumping bail in Britain in 2012.

Assange, who did not take questions, said detention and extradition without charge had "become a feature of the EU" and that needed addressing.

Assange, wearing a dark brown leather jacket, held his clenched fist in the air after stepping onto the small balcony below a flapping Ecuadorian flag before saying the Swedish decision was "an important victory".

Assange said being detained for seven years without charge while his children grew up and his name was slandered is something that he won't "forgive or forget".

Assange has always denied the rape allegation, which stems from a WikiLeaks conference in Stockholm in 2010.

Swedish director of public prosecutions Margaret Ny said the decision to drop the rape investigation had been made after all possibilities for charges had been "exhausted".

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".

But the 45-year-old programmer isn't totally free of charges just yet. He has been there ever since, fearing that if he is arrested he might ultimately be extradited to the United States.

But the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in the United Kingdom said Assange will still be arrested on a minor offence if he leaves the embassy. The Metropolitan Police Service in London said that its officers would be "obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy". It has been an expensive standoff: Assange's first three-year stay in the Ecuadorean embassy alone cost the British taxpayers £11.1 million ($14.4 million).

He didn't win the election, but his denouncement of Assange could reflect a growing concern of Ecuadoreans about being linked to Assange and the leaking of confidential information. "Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence", it said.

He also fears being extradited to the United States, where he is under investigation for leaking classified USA documents.