Sweden's director of public prosecutions drops Julian Assange investigation

 
Caitlin Morrison
Follow Caitlin
UN Panel Rules That Wikileaks Founder Is Arbitrarily Detained
Julian Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 (Source: Getty)

Sweden's director of public prosecutions (DPP) has dropped its investigation into the Julian Assange rape allegations - but he still faces arrest in the UK if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy.

Marianne Ny, the Swedish DPP, has decided to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape by Assange.

An order for the Wikileaks founder's arrest was first issued by Sweden in 2010, after allegations of sexual misconduct and rape were made against him .

After failing to overturn the arrest warrant in the British courts and facing extradition to the Scandinavian country, Assange sought refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy, where he has been based since 2012.

Another attempt to have his case set aside by the Swedish court of appeal failed last September, with the court finding that "Julian Assange is still suspected on probable cause of rape".

Assange is also wanted by US authorities in connection with a criminal investigation into Wikileaks.

Last February, the Metropolitan Police said they would arrest Assange if he left the embassy, despite reports that suggested a UN panel had ruled in his favour.

And today, the Met confirmed that this was still the case. In a statement, the police said: "Westminster Magistrates' Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012. The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy.

"Whilst Mr Assange was wanted on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for an extremely serious offence, the MPS response reflected the serious nature of that crime. Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence. The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence."

The MPS said it will not comment further on the operational plan, and added: "The priority for the MPS must continue to be arresting those who are currently wanted in the Capital in connection with serious violent or sexual offences for the protection of Londoners."