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Assange still faces London arrest after Sweden drops rape investigation

Swedish authorities decided to drop the prosecution against him, but Assange also faces the lesser charge of not surrendering to a court in the UK after the arrest warrant was issued.

world Updated: May 19, 2017 21:35 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange,Ecuadorean embassy,Sweden
File photo of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.(Reuters)

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will be arrested if he leaves the Ecuadorean embassy in central London, where he sought refuge in 2012 following n European arrest warrant issued to face charges in Sweden, but the prosecution has now been dropped, official sources here said on Friday.

Swedish authorities decided to drop prosecution against him, potentially ending a seven-year stand-off, but Assange also faces the lesser charge of not surrendering to a court in the United Kingdom after the arrest warrant was issued.

Scotland Yard said: “Westminster Magistrates’ Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on June 29, 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, 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.”

First Published: May 19, 2017 21:13 IST