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Sweden to Pursue Rape Claim Against Assange

  • VOA News

FILE - Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, left, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speak during a press conference inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Aug. 18, 2014.

FILE - Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, left, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speak during a press conference inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Aug. 18, 2014.

Swedish prosecutors said an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will continue to be investigated, but they have dropped several charges of lesser sexual misconduct.

Three cases of sexual molestation and unlawful coercion against Assange were dropped because a five-year statute of limitation expired.

Sweden issued an arrest warrant for Assange after two women accused him of rape and sexual misconduct during a visit there in 2010.

Prosecutors have until 2020 to investigate the claim of rape.

FILE - A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds a placard during a gathering outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, June 19, 2015.

FILE - A supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds a placard during a gathering outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, June 19, 2015.

Assange took refuge in the Ecuador Embassy in London in 2012 after British courts said he could be extradited to Sweden to face questioning.

He denies the charges, saying they are politically motivated.

Assange fears Sweden will turn him over to the United States, where he would likely face trial for his involvement in one of the largest leaks of classified material in U.S. history.

Leak of documents

A U.S. federal court said in March that there were “active and ongoing” attempts to bring Assange and WikiLeaks to justice in the United States on charges of espionage, conspiracy and computer fraud.

Assange and his WikiLeaks team published hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents, including military documents on the Iraq war and U.S. Embassy cables detailing its dealings with countries around the world.

Meanwhile Thursday, Britain said it would make a formal protest to the Ecuadorian government over its decision to provide asylum to Assange in its London embassy.

"Ecuador must recognize that its decision to harbor Mr. Assange more than three years ago has prevented the proper course of justice," British Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire said in a statement.

Some material for this report came from Reuters.

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