Sweden drops Assange investigation, UK police says he still faces arrest

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Swedish Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny said Friday the investigation into the rape allegations would not proceed because "there's no possibility of arresting Assange in the foreseeable future".

Assange, 45, has been holed up in the embassy since 2012 after skipping bail to avoid extradition to Sweden over the allegation of rape, which he denies.

He has been living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, where he sought refuge as he feared he would be arrested in Sweden on the rape charge and extradited to the USA as he is wanted for revealing secret government documents.

Friday was the deadline for prosecutors to renew or lift the warrant for Assange's arrest.

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Chelsea Manning was released from prison on Wednesday after serving seven years of her 35-year sentence, which was commuted by Barack Obama as one of his final acts as President.

In documents filed to the Stockholm District Court, Prosecutor Ny said legal obstacles had prevented the case from moving forward.

Meanwhile, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long urged Britain to "grant safe passage" out of the country to Assange.

Last month CIA Director Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks a "hostile intelligence service", and Sessions, responding to a question about Assange, said the Trump administration was stepping up its efforts against all leaks of sensitive information.

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During last year's US presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks published emails from Hillary Clinton's staff and the Democratic National Committee which some believe helped to lose her the election to Trump.

Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, is thought to have cost the United Kingdom taxpayer in excess of £10 million during his time in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

However, it noted that now the Swedish authorities had dropped their investigation, Assange was "wanted for a much less serious offence" than before and said the force would "provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence".

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