Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson said in a statement that, though there’s compelling evidence to charge Assange, it’s been nearly a decade and the witnesses’ memories likely wouldn’t be deemed reliable in a court.
“After conducting a comprehensive assessment of what has emerged during the course of the preliminary investigation I then make the assessment that the evidence is not strong enough to form the basis for filing an indictment,” Persson said.
Back in 2010, as The Guardian reported at the time, Assange had flown to Stockholm for a 10-day visit. While there, he stayed in the apartment of a woman identified only as “Miss A.” After going out for a meal and returning to her apartment, the woman claims that Assange began touching her in an unwanted way, as well as attempting to forcibly remove her clothes.
Miss A then claims that she realized Assange was attempting to have unprotected sex with her and failed to properly put on a condom. By the time she fully grasped what was happening, he had finished.
A second woman, identified as “Miss W,” alleged that, later during Assange’s Stockholm visit, she had fallen asleep next to Assange and had woken up to him attempting to perform a sex act on her.
Initially, police questioned Assange and determined there was no crime and that he could leave the country. Months later, after which Assange had already left Sweden, Swedish authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.
Hiding Out In London
Assange would spend the better part of the next decade hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, attempting to avoid being extradited to Sweden. At the same time, United States authorities also issued an extradition order for Assange, having charged him with multiple counts of violations of the Espionage Act and other crimes.
This year, Ecuador withdrew Assange’s asylum, and he was placed under arrest and taken to a British prison.
What Happens Next?
Now that Assange is no longer a wanted man in Sweden, British authorities will not have to make the uncomfortable decision as to whether to extradite him there or to the U.S. WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said in a statement that getting him to the U.S. had been the plan all along.
“Let us now focus on the threat Mr. Assange has been warning about for years: the belligerent prosecution of the United States and the threat it poses to the First Amendment,” she said.