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Sweden Robbed Assange of Chance to Clear Name Despite Dropping Rape Case - EU Lawmaker

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GENOA (Sputnik) - The decision of Swedish prosecutors to discontinue their investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after nine years of brutal scrutiny over sexual assault charges brings no positive change to the whistleblower's situation, Clare Daly, a member of the European Parliament, said.

"By cancelling the investigation after ten years, the Swedish authorities are now denying him a chance to clear his name. This is another injustice, but given what is now happening to him it's probably among the least of his worries," Daly, who is a member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, said.

WikiLeaks announced on Tuesday that Sweden had discontinued its investigation into a rape allegation against Assange, which it began in 2010. However, the whistleblower still faces criminal charges from two other countries — the United Kingdom and the United States. Assange is currently serving a prison sentence in the United Kingdom for breaching his bail conditions, but the United States has requested that he be extradited.

According to Daly, the investigation does not help the WikiLeaks founder at all.

"There is a good argument that the process in Sweden has been abused in various ways, and that this has tied Assange down and exposed him to the US prosecution. It has also, over the years, succeeded in decimating his support. But now that Assange is deteriorating in a high-security prison, and is facing the thing he always feared - extradition to the United States, no hope of a fair trial and up to 175 years in prison – it is hard to see how discontinuing that investigation helps him that much," she continued.

Commenting on Sweden’s decision, Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, wrote on his Twitter page on Tuesday that there must be compensation for the harm inflicted on Assange. The rapporteur further claimed that the whistleblower had been subject to psychological torture.

"There is a serious body of a legal opinion from the United Nations and civil society about the physical and psychological effects of Assange's situation. It is a serious human rights issue. But whether he should ask for compensation or not, and whether he is likely to get it - that is a matter for his lawyers. Although, again, I would imagine his priority, for now, will be fighting the US extradition and the guaranteed show trial he will face if it happens," Daly said.

Assange still faces extradition to the United States, where he could get 175 years in prison for espionage, and it is up to the UK courts to decide on this matter.