:: Peoples Time Online ::
Swedish prosecutors dropped their rape case against Julian Assange, a cofounder of WikiLeaks, it was announced on Tuesday.
Assange faced a rape charge stemming from 2010, but prosecutors decided that, while the Swedish complainant was credible and evidence reliable, her memory of the night in question had faded and there was limited corroborative evidence available.
“Her statements have been coherent, extensive and detailed, however, my overall assessment is that the evidential situation has been weakened to such an extent that there is no longer any reason to continue the investigation,” said Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecution.
In 2010, being suspected of committing sexual offences in Sweden, Assange fled to the United Kingdom, eventually taking up residency in the Ecuadorian embassy where he remained from June 2012 until April this year.
Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, said as far as he was aware British lawyers had not yet been able to contact Assange in jail to inform him of the Swedish decision.
“This is the end of Assange’s association with the Swedish justice system,” Samuelson said. “But he is not happy with the way he’s been treated. He lost faith in the Swedish justice system years ago.”
In 2017, the public prosecutor responsible for the case at that time discontinued the investigation after exhausting all possibilities to make progress. After Assange’s removal from the embassy in April 2019, the case was reopened at the request of the counsel for the injured party in Sweden.
The decision to discontinue the investigation can be appealed.
Elisabet Massi Fritz, a lawyer for the accuser, said she and her client would discuss whether to request a review of the decision to drop the case. The right decision would have been to interrogate Assange in London and then charge him with rape, she said.
“After today’s decision my client needs time to process everything that has happened over these nine years in order to be able to move on with her life.”