Sweden will not proceed with its preliminary probe into sexual assault claims against Julian Assange, WikiLeaks whistleblowing organization said Tuesday.
Commenting on the decision, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson underscored the need to “now focus on the threat Mr Assange has been warning about for years: the belligerent prosecution of the United States and the threat it poses to the First Amendment”.
URGENT: Sweden Drops Investigation of Julian Assange.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 19, 2019
In a statement on Tuesday, WikiLeaks, in turn, expressed regret over the fact that “a process in Sweden, with which Mr Assange has always expressed his willingness to engage and indeed did so, became so exceptionally politicised itself”.
In this vein, WikiLeaks insisted that instead of the investigation against Assange, a probe “into how the justice system failed to withstand the political and media pressure and lessons learned should be pursued”.
Referring to the Trump administration seeking “a 175-year prison sentence for the same journalistic work that has won Mr. Assange […] dozens of journalism prizes”, WikiLeaks warned that Washington’s prosecution of Assange may “deal a fatal blow to the First Amendment in the United States and set back press freedoms globally”.
Sweden Resumes Probe Against Assange
Back in May, Swedish prosecutors reopened the investigation against Assange over a woman's claim of having been sexually assaulted by the WikiLeaks founder.
Assange denied the accusations, stressing that all sexual contacts had taken place through mutual consent and that police had motivated the women to file a complaint against him.
Sweden's move followed Assange being stripped of his political asylum by Ecuador and detained at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The WikiLeaks founder skipped bail and hid in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012 for fears he would be extradited to the United States to face death penalty for leaking Afghan war logs.
On 1 May, a court in London sentenced Assange to 50 weeks in prison for breaching bail by seeking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy. The UK police detained him in the embassy in April after the Ecuadorian government withdrew asylum.