USA in 'cat and mouse game' with Julian Assange

Scotland Yard said it remained obliged to execute a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates' Court for Assange's arrest following his failure to surrender to the court in June 2012, should he leave the embassy.

No-one would willingly place himself in such a position, so it was understandable that Assange declined to fly to Sweden to answer the rape charge against him without a guarantee of non-extradition to the US.

At a press conference Friday in Stockholm, Ny, chief of the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said she "has made a decision to discontinue the investigation" and call back the European arrest warrant for Assange.

Maajid Nawaz said while this marks the end of one set of charges, he has some of his own he thinks Assange should face up to.

Ny added that if Assange entered Sweden before August 2020 then the investigation would be reopened.

In Sweden, Assange's accuser was left stunned by the prosecutors' decision.

For instance, he could have thought twice before releasing his triumphalist press statement concerning the dropped case, where he rather diva-ishly intoned that he would not "forgive or forget". According to The New York Times, it is "unlikely" that Assange would risk leaving the Ecuadorean Embassy because of the US government's desire to chase him.

"UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a United States extradition warrant for Julian Assange".

In Australia, his mother Christine Assange urged the Canberra government to provide him with a new passport so he could leave Britain.

The department said Friday it had no comment on Assange.

Another lawyer, Christophe Marchand, told AFP that "We have been waiting a long time for this decision".

The WikiLeaks founder has always proclaimed his innocence of the charges and claimed that his extradition to Sweden would have led to his transfer to the United States, where he could be tried for publishing a huge store of confidential military and diplomatic documents. Assange takes refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London and asks for political asylum.

Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning served seven years in prison for giving classified material to WikiLeaks. First Amendment rights, that my arrest and the arrest (of) my other staff is a priority.

However, despite his happiness with the abandonment of the rape inquiry, Assange acknowledged that he had other worldwide legal problems.

Assange has won his battle against extradition to Sweden, which wanted to question him about a rape allegation.

He said that lawyers for the Australian, who are based around the world, were discussing the implications of the decision.

Ny said the case was not being dropped because Assange has been found innocent.

The Swedish Prosecutor has now dropped that investigation because all avenues to pursue it have been exhausted.

News organizations that reveal government secrets and crimes are "enemies" of the United States, said Pompeo, adding that individuals who leak secret information about U.S. crimes are guilty of "treason". "So we don't make any statements on the issue of guilt", she said via a translator.

  • Jon Douglas