Sweden has dropped a rape investigation into Julian Assange but the WikiLeaks founder still faces arrest by the Metropolitan Police, it was announced on Friday.
Scotland Yard said it was obliged to execute a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court for the arrest of Assange following his failure to surrender to the court in June 2012 should he leave the embassy.
PA Wire/PA Images
Sweden’s Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny has decided to discontinue the investigation into the 45-year-old, who has lived in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012, trying to avoid extradition.
Ny reportedly filed a request to the Stockholm District Court to revoke his arrest warrant, seemingly ending a seven-year legal stand-off.
UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to UK.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 19, 2017
WikiLeaks tweeted on Friday morning that the “focus now moves to UK” as Assange awaits confirmation whether or not a US extradition warrant for Assange has been receive.
The whistleblower fears being extradited to the US if he is sent to Sweden.
Assange could face trial in the US following the mass leak of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents.
Following Friday’s announcement, Assange tweeted an old picture of himself looking happy.
The Met Police said in a statement: “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 will not comment further on the operational plan.
“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.”