Prosecutor Drops Julian Assange Investigation
Sweden's Director of Public Prosecution has decided to discontinue the seven-year rape investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The dramatic announcement came ahead of a press conference by the DPP, Marianne Ny, into the long running saga.
Mr Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost five years and has been granted political asylum.
He was questioned six months ago in the presence of Swedish officials over a sex allegation, which he has always denied.
Mr Assange faces extradition to the US for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves the embassy.
BREAKING: Sweden has dropped its case against Julian Assange and will revoke its arrest warrant— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 19, 2017
UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to UK.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 19, 2017
A brief statement ahead of today's press conference said: "Director of Public Prosecution, Ms Marianne Ny, has today decided to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange."
Friday's development follows a letter sent to the Swedish government by the government of Ecuador saying there had been a "serious failure" by the prosecutor, including a "lack of initiative" to complete inquiries.
LATEST: UK police say Julian Assange will be arrested if he leaves the Ecuadorean embassy in London pic.twitter.com/0qrwdFxJNu— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) May 19, 2017
The letter raised developments in the US since the election of Donald Trump as President, including a speech by CIA director Mike Pompeo describing WikiLeaks as a "hostile intelligence service".
Recent public declarations such as this constitute an "obvious risk" for Mr Assange, said the letter.
Mr Assange originally faced three sex allegations, all of which he denied.