Swedish prosecutors said on Friday they would drop a preliminary investigation into an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday, bringing to an end an epic seven-year legal stand-off.
“Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny has today decided to discontinue the preliminary investigation regarding suspected rape concerning Julian Assange,” the prosecutors office said in a statement.
Julian Assange responded to the news on Twitter by posting a smiling photo.
Assange, 45, has lived in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, after taking refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden over the allegation of rape, which he denies.
Assange has maintained that if he went to Sweden to answer questions about the allegations, he would then be extradited to the US for his political activities with Wikileaks.
It’s not immediately clear whether Assange will now leave the embassy — Wikileaks did not immediately respond to a message from Business Insider seeking comment.
But the official Wikileaks account indicated in a tweet that the organisation is still concerned about a potential extradition to the US. It tweeted: “UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to UK.”
Wikileaks is fiercely controversial, and has repeatedly drawn the ire of the American government for its release of highly classified documents. These include internal memos from US embassies, and a “Collateral Murder” video which showed a US helicopter firing on journalists in Iraq.
In the run-up to the US presidential election last year, Wikileaks released emails and documents taken from the Democratic Party — dominating the news cycle with headlines unfavourable to establishment favourite Hilary Clinton. The US government has said the documents were stolen by Russian hackers, and deliberately released to undermine faith in the election and destabilise Clinton.
This story is developing…