On Thursday, Swedish prosecutors revealed they would be dropping two of the charges against Julian Assange—that he molested and coerced two women in 2010—as the statutes of limitations in the investigation runs out at the end of August. The charge of rape against him still stands, and that investigation is ongoing.
Assange’s case has been lengthy and convoluted. After drawing ire for leaking a multitude of government documents on his site Wikileaks, Assange visited Sweden, where the alleged rape involving the two women took place, as CNN reports. After charges were pressed against him, in 2012, Assange headed to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he was granted asylum from the charges, and was able to prevent being extradited to Sweden. Assange has held that he fears returning to Sweden because he’s worried the U.S. government will then extradite him to America in order to hold him accountable for the material he’s leaked.
Now, as the BBC notes, Assange may get off on several of the charges due to a technicality, as “prosecutors have run out of time to investigate Mr Assange for sexual assault because they have not succeeded in questioning him.” In the interim years, Swedish prosecutors eventually offered to go to London to interview Assange, but ostensibly, that still didn’t grant them enough time to explore the claims. One of the women who originally accused him of molestation and coercion, however, is not upset that the charges have been dropped. “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 told the BBC.
The rape allegation expires in 2020.
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