Sweden drops investigation into rape allegation against Julian Assange

The WikiLeaks founder has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012

Sweden drops investigation into rape allegation against Julian Assange

File photo of Julian Assange. Picture by: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

Sweden has dropped its investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Mr Assange had been wanted by Swedish officials for questioning over a rape allegation.

In a statement, Swedish prosecutors said: "Director of Public Prosecution, Ms Marianne Ny, has today decided to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange".

Shortly after the announcement, Mr Assange tweeted a photo of himself smiling:

Mr Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012.

He was granted political asylum by Ecuador amid fears he would be extradited to the United States if he was arrested by Swedish officials.

It had been believed that he would be arrested by British police and sent to Sweden if he leaves the embassy. He was interviewed by Swedish prosecutors over the allegation - which he denies - last year.

Metropolitan Police said Mr Assange will still be arrested if he leaves the embassy.

In a statement, they said: "Westminster Magistrates' Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012. The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy.

"Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence."

Mr Assange - whose organisation has published confidential documents relating to the US intelligence services - is the subject of a "very serious criminal investigation" in the US, officials have previously admitted.

The US Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this year suggested that arresting Mr Assange is a 'priority' for the US.