Sweden Lets Assange Off Hook on Some Sex Charges

Statute of limitations has expired, but other rape allegations are still pending
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 13, 2015 4:33 AM CDT
Sweden Lets Assange Off Hook on Some Sex Charges
In this Feb. 1, 2012, file photo, Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, arrives at the Supreme Court in London.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

Swedish prosecutors say they've dropped two cases of sexual crimes against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because they've expired, but they'll continue to investigate accusations of rape against him. The Swedish Prosecution Authority says it has been unable to charge the 44-year-old Australian, who escaped a Swedish arrest warrant by taking refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012. Assange was wanted by police for questioning on four allegations involving rape and sexual misconduct made by two women during his 2010 visit to Sweden. The agency said today that a third case of sexual molestation "will be time-barred" on Aug. 18, but that he was still wanted for questioning on allegations of rape that expire in 2020.

One of the women whose case expired was said to be relieved that it's now over. "She had wanted him to stand before the court and answer the accusations, but it's five years ago and she's not interested in going to court now," her lawyer tells the BBC. "It's been a difficult time for her and she's now trying to forget about it and move on with her life." One of Assange's Swedish lawyers says that these charges should have been dropped long ago anyway due to lack of evidence and that he thinks Assange will be able to clear his name on the still-pending rape accusation. How, when, and if that will happen, however, is anyone's guess, as Swedish law dictates the suspect must be interviewed before charges are officially set down, and Swedish authorities haven't been able to gain access to Assange in the embassy. (More Sweden stories.)

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