Sweden no longer plans to seek Assange's extradition, he hails victory

By Chris Peterson in London | | Updated: 2017-05-20 01:21

Sweden no longer plans to seek Assange's extradition, he hails victory


Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London, Britain, May 19, 2017. [Photo by Wang Bo/]  

Assange, 45, had said that as soon as Manning was released, he would fly to the US, as long as his lawyer obtained assurances about his civil rights there. Such an assurance was not forthcoming, his lawyers have said.

Although President Donald Trump had initially hailed Assange as a hero for releasing documents about his presidential rival Hillary Clinton, recently US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said prosecuting Assange and Wikileaks over the release of documents was a priority.

However British officials say no formal extradition request has been received as of this week.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said after the news from Sweden that the question of him being arrested was a matter for the police, effectively distancing herself from the matter.

One of Assange's lawyers, Melinda Taylor, said on Friday that the preliminary investigation into him being closed or the lifting of the European arrest-warrant would not necessarily mean the Australian would make a hasty exit for Ecuador.

"The first thing one likely needs to do is seek guarantees from the British authorities that he won’t be seized in some other way," she told the Swedish news agency TT.

Both British and American authorities have "consistently refused to confirm or deny" if there is a request for extradition to the US, she said. Assange is also accused of breaching his bail conditions in the UK for fleeing to Ecuador's embassy, she noted.

After refusing to travel to Sweden for questioning, Assange was grilled last December by an Ecuadorian prosecutor on questions provided by Swedish officials, with Swedish prosecutor Ingrid Isgren present.

He has consistently denied the rape allegations, saying the sex was consensual.

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