Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Ecuador calls on United Kingdom to grant WikiLeaks founder safe passage

Ecuador calls on United Kingdom to grant WikiLeaks founder safe passage

In view of this, and that to continue with legal proceedings would require Julian Assange's personal appearance in court, there is no longer any reason to continue with the investigation.

No. The investigation began after two women accused Assange of sexual offenses during a 2010 visit to Stockholm - allegations he denies.

The controversy surrounding founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape accusations, has also polarised opinion on the group.

"It is no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence", she said.

Assange appeared on the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy to thank supporters, protest what he called his long "detention", and vowed continued struggle against any charges laid against him.

The Ecuadorian government is to step up efforts to allow Mr Assange to continue his asylum in its country after Sweden's Director of Public Prosecutions Marianne Ny said she had made a decision to "discontinue" her investigation.

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But over time, it has increasingly set its sights on the United States and even come under suspicion that it might be working with Russian Federation, claims that Assange has denied.

The 45-year-old Australian, who has lived inside the Ecuador embassy for nearly five years after seeking asylum, said the "road is far from over" while adding that it was "extremely regretful" that he was still being threatened with arrest if he leaves the embassy.

The prosecutors said their decision was based on the nation's inability to apprehend Assange in the foreseeable future, adding that they could reopen the case if the transparency advocate returns to Sweden before 2020.

U.S. President Donald Trump said last month he would support any decision by the Justice Department to charge Assange.

Assange has said that all the sex was consensual.

What do you think of Julian Assange?

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"My client is shocked and no decision to (end the case) can make her change (her mind) that Assange exposed her to rape", she said.

So when Sweden's prosecutors announced Friday that they were abandoning their attempt to extradite him, invalidating the warrant for his arrest, Assange proclaimed it a happy moment of vindication. In December, he spoke for the first time on the allegations, releasing a statement and documents as he claimed he was "entirely innocent". Prosecutors were trying to determine, among other things, if Assange had sex with the woman while she was asleep and without using a condom.

"It is a scandal that a suspected rapist can escape justice and thereby avoid the courts", the attorney, Elisabeth Fritz, said in a statement to news agencies.

Assange is arrested and held for months while his case progresses, before being given a prison sentence that could reach a maximum of one year.

American officials have previously stated they would try a "very serious criminal investigation" against Assange and WikiLeaks for leaking large volumes of classified documents online, including those related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

In his ten-minute speech, Assange also pointed to the release of the American whistleblower and former US Army soldier Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) who landed in prison after she leaked almost 750,000 military files and cables to WikiLeaks.

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US intelligence agencies also contend Russian Federation used WikiLeaks to publish emails by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during last year's USA presidential election.

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