MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, Swedish prosecutors confirmed that rape charges against Assange had been dropped following a seven-year investigation, but the UK police said it would still have to arrest Assange if he stepped out of the embassy.
"[The decision to drop the investigation is] a matter for the Swedish authorities and not one which the UK government has had any involvement in," the Home Office was quoted as saying by The Guardian newspaper.
According to the Home Office, the United Kingdom was legally obliged to arrest Assange under the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), upheld by the UK courts.
In 2010, Sweden began its investigation into rape allegedly committed by Assange. Since being granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012, Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Assange did not want to submit to questioning in Sweden for fear that he might be extradited to the United States over his whistleblowing organization's exposure of classified documents that shed light on activities of the US government.