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Sweden drops probe into Assange rape allegation

Swedish prosecutors have closed a seven-year investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over allegations of rape.

“Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny has today decided to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape by Julian Assange,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement released on Friday.

It was not clear what had prompted the decision. Ny and Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren are set to hold a press conference on the issue at 1000 GMT on Friday.

Fearing extradition from Sweden to the US over his leak of classified US data on WikiLeaks, Assange sought refuge at the Ecuadorian mission in June 2012 after Swedish prosecutors issued the arrest warrant against him over allegations of rape and sexual assault filed by two women in Sweden in 2010.

Ecuador granted Assange political asylum in 2012, but a constant police presence and the arrest order has prevented him from exiting the embassy in London ever since.

The Ecuadorian government has criticized Sweden over the “serious lack of process” in dealing with the sexual assault allegations against the Australian journalist and publisher.

While the decision to drop the investigation against Assange could have meant that Assange could now leave the embassy, UK police has said he would still be arrested for jumping bail.

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