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Assange will continue battle to clear his name

20 May 2017

Sweden's top prosecutor Marianne Ny said in a statement earlier Friday that she has made a decision to discontinue the investigation about sex-crime allegations against Assange from two women.

Speaking from the balcony of Ecuador's London embassy, the WikiLeaks founder says his seven-year legal ordeal - which he calls unjust detention - "is not something that I can forgive". "The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy".

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.

She said it was "regrettable we have not been able to carry out the investigation", and added: "We are not making any pronouncement about guilt".

Assange isn't completely out of the woods yet on rape allegations with prosecutors in Sweden claiming they can re-open the investigation if he returns to the country by 2020, when the statute of limitations ends.

However, she added that because Ecuador would not cooperate in serving Assange and transporting him to Sweden to face charges, her "assessment is that the transfer can not be executed in the foreseeable future".

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British police kept up round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until December 2015, when the operation was scaled back, in part because of the cost, which had exceeded 11 million pounds (over $17.5 million at the time).

A United Nations panel has said that Assange had been "arbitrarily detained" and should be able to claim compensation from Britain and Sweden. "Therefore the investigation is discontinued", Ny said.

"Assange has long insisted his stay in the embassy is unrelated to the Swedish case, but instead related to possible extradition to the United States in connection with WikiLeaks' activities", says Buzzfeed.

"As long as we fear that this is a case of political persecution ... as long as we fear for Mr. Assange's integrity and human rights, we will continue with our policy of offering him asylum", Long said in a telephone interview.

Assange leaves the embassy and is arrested, but moves quickly through the British courts process, before being given a minor fine.

Assange's lawyer, Per Samuelson, said in an email statement that Assange had "proved his innocence".

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Mr Assange said the United Kingdom had refused to confirm or deny whether there is a warrant from the US for his extradition, insisting he was happy to talk to the US Justice Department.

Asked if she would support Britain extraditing Assange to the US, Ms May replied: "We look at extradition requests when we receive them on a case by case basis".

Ecuador's foreign minister, Guillaume Long, tweeted Friday that Britain "must now grant safe passage" to Assange.

Elizabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for Assange's accuser, criticized the Swedish authorities' decision in a statement to CNN.

Journalist Per Nyberg reported from Stockholm, while CNN's Laura Smith-Spark and Lauren Said-Moorhouse wrote from London.

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