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Lawyer says Assange free to leave Ecuadorian embassy any time

May 19, 2017, 15:05 UTC+3 OSLO

Julian Assange will still be arrested if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy, British police said earlier

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© AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

OSLO, May 19. /TASS/. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has the possibility to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London any time, Assange’s lawyer Per Samuelsson told Swedish radio on Friday.

The lawyer made this statement after the Swedish Prosecutor’s Office made a decision on Friday to discontinue an investigation against Assange suspected of rape and recommended the court of law to revoke a warrant for his arrest.

"This is a total victory for Julian Assange. He is free to leave the embassy when he wishes. We have achieved the goal we set and Assange is happy and very glad," Samuelsson said, adding, however, that his client was quite critical over the fact that the juridical standoff with the Swedish authorities had lasted almost seven years.

Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny said in an official statement on Friday that the investigation would be terminated as the Swedish Prosecutor’s Office had used up all the possibilities over the past period to continue it.

However, the statute of limitation on the Assange case expires only in 2020. Therefore, the investigation against the WikiLeaks founder may be resumed under certain circumstances.

The Swedish Prosecutor’s Office may resume the investigation against Assange, if he returns to the country before August 2020, Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny said.

"There are no causes now to continue the preliminary investigation because we have no possibility to ensure his [Assange’s] presence [in Sweden]. However, if he returns to Sweden before August 2020 [before the expiry of the statute of limitation on the case], the investigation may be resumed," she said.

"The cause [for terminating the investigation] is that he had been avoiding us for so long. This is regrettable that we could not continue the investigation in the way we would want. But we used all the available measures to carry out the investigation satisfactorily," Ny added.

WikiLeaks founder Assange requested asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19, 2012 to avoid his extradition to Sweden over rape and sexual assault allegations. Assange has rejected all the accusations, calling them politically motivated. The Australian fears that Sweden will deport him to the US where he faces up to 35 years in prison or death penalty for having published secret documents of the US Department of State.

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