Assange’s trials: Sweden stops persecution of WikiLeaks founder, but it did not help him a lot

Whistle-blower is still in the Embassy of Ecuador in London

Assange’s trials: Sweden stops persecution of WikiLeaks founder, but it did not help him a lot Photo: epa.eu

Swedish prosecutors stopped the rape investigation of Julian Assange who was suspected of rape and sexual assault. At the same time, they note the case can be reopened. If it happens, the founder of WikiLeaks will be in the kingdom until 2020 – when the period of limitation of the case expires, according to RIA Novosti. Realnoe Vremya tells what Assange had to go through and how one of the modern-day whistle-blowers reacted to his release.

Straight shooter, don't go to Sweden

WikiLeaks was created in 2006. Documents found during leaks or taken from anonymous sources started to be published there. In the spring 2010, WikiLeaks posted one of his most notorious publications – about a murder of Reuters journalists and Iraqi civilians by an American helicopter. In addition, this resource declassified 77,000 reports of allied forces from Afghanistan and about 400,000 from Iraq. 250,000 letters linked with the U.S. State Department's work were also made public.

In the summer 2010, Assange publicly claimed that WikiLeaks had many interesting things to tell. Then he arrived in Sweden. On 20 August 2010, the media spread the news that Sweden issued an order to arrest the journalist. Assange was suspected of rape. Two women complained about the whistle-blower. Very Assange did not deny he had had sex with them emphasising that everything happened by mutual consent. He linked the criminal persecution with his activity only saying that after arrest Sweden would rat him out to the USA. This idea was supported by the media though the presupposition that jealousness of one of the women was the reason of everything is still not leaving journalists' mind in peace.

In the summer 2010, Assange publicly claimed that WikiLeaks had many interesting things to tell. Photo: newsru.co.il

Great Britain did not help

The investigation stopped first but then continued. They could not find Assange to interrogate him. Interpol put him on the wanted list on 20 November 2010. On 7 December, the founder of WikiLeaks came to the police office himself but in London. 10 days later the journalist was released on bail of £240,000.

The decision of the British court to extradite Assange to Sweden where he would face criminal responsibility was decisive. He remained in Great Britain and filed appeals but they were denied. Then Assange talked to the authorities of Ecuador seeking political refuge. The journalist's request was approved, and Assange has been in the building the Embassy of Ecuador to Great Britain since then (19 June 2012).

It is curious that the British media calculated how expensive Assange was for taxpayers. The thing is that police workers always keep vigil near the Embassy of Ecuador who don't let the journalist leave the refuge. It means they need to get a salary. By the beginning of 2015, it was equal to $13,8 million (27-hour vigil of three security staff workers was equal to $17,000 per day).

Police workers always keep vigil near the Embassy of Ecuador who don't let the journalist leave the refuge. Photo: digitaljournal.com

To wait out the storm

In August 2015, Swedish prosecutors exculpated Assange in three crimes linked with sexual assault. So, the creator WikiLeaks would have being persecuted in one episode until 17 August 2020.

From 2012, Sweden tried to have a meeting and interrogate Julian Assange. In December 2015, Ecuador and Sweden signed a bilateral agreement on legal assistance. According to Vistazo, the Ecuadorian minister of foreign affairs said his country would help to interrogate Assange. However, in January, Swedish prosecutors said their colleagues from Ecuador denied the request to interrogate him in the embassy. The creator of WikiLeaks was interrogated only in November 2016.

Release

Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny explained the ''too'' early refusal from the accusations. According to her, Assange has been hiding in the embassy for 5 years already and escaped all the attempts of the authorities to be ratted out to Sweden. A formal presentation of suspicions of the crime is needed to continue the investigation, which has not happened yet. There is no prospect of bringing Assange to Sweden ''in the foreseeable future'', RIA Novosti writes.

Ny also stressed that the USA did not put pressure on the course of the investigation.

What will happen to Assange further

British police workers claim that Julian Assange will be arrested as soon as he leaves the building of the embassy. The acting order issued by Westminster Magistrates' Court five years ago is considered the formal reason. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador point out the duty of Great Britain to give the founder of WikiLeaks a possibility to leave the territory of the embassy of the country in London.

In an interview to France Info, defender of Assange's interests Juan Branco claimed the journalist would seek refuge in France. Later he noted on his Twitter page that Assange would not send the request to France but would be there if France's President Emmanuel Macron wishes.

The investigation on Assange can restart. Swedish prosecutors emphasise that it will happen if the founder of WikiLeaks visits the country until 2020 before the period of limitation of the case.

On Twitter, Assange said he don't forgive and forget his imprisonment without accusations. Time will show whether it is a sign that the world will see new reveals from WikiLeaks.

By Aleksandr Shakirov