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Julian Assange Rape Probe Dropped: 4 Things to Know

Image: Julian Assange Rape Probe Dropped: 4 Things to Know

Journalists crowd outside Ecuador Embassy in London where WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has been hiding since 2012. (Alex McNaughton/Sputnik via AP)

By    |   Friday, 19 May 2017 01:19 PM

Even though the Julian Assange rape probe was dropped by Swedish prosecutors, the WikiLeaks founder is not completely out of the woods legally.

Here are four things to know about the Julian Assange case:

1. It may not be over — Marianne Ny, the director of public prosecution in Sweden, has reserved the right to reopen the investigation against Assange. In a statement she explained that the current probe has been discontinued because Assange has "escaped all attempts by the Swedish and British authorities to execute the decision to surrender him to Sweden in accordance with the EU rules concerning the European Arrest Warrant."

But, "if he, at a later date, makes himself available, I will be able to decide to resume the investigation immediately." According to the BBC News, if Assange would return to Sweden before the statute of limitation on this case expires in August 2020, the preliminary investigation could resume.

2. U.K. police could bring Assange in— London Metropolitan Police could still arrest Assange on an outstanding 2012 warrant for failure to surrender. It was initially issued by the Westminster Magistrates' Court, and the Metropolitan Police Service stated that it is obliged to execute that warrant should Assange leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he's resided for five years, NPR reported.

3. America's role — The United States has renewed its interest in Assange since President Donald Trump has taken office. According to the BBC News, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last month in response to a question about Assange that the U.S. has "already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail."

The Justice Department has been investigating Assange for releasing classified information since WikiLeaks posted thousands of embarrassing diplomatic cables given to them by the U.S. Army soldier now known as Chelsea Manning in 2010. Manning, then known as Bradley Manning, was recently released from military prison after former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence just before leaving office, according to CNN.

4. Ecuadorean politics could get in the way — Conservative opposition presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso campaigned on booting Assange from London's Ecuadorean embassy if he won the election.

"I will take on the responsibility of inviting Mr. Assange to leave the Ecuadorean embassy at the latest 30 days after the start of our government," Lasso told Reuters back in February.

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.

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Even though the Julian Assange rape probe was dropped by Swedish prosecutors, the WikiLeaks founder is not completely out of the woods legally.
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2017-19-19
Friday, 19 May 2017 01:19 PM
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