A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange welcomed the decision of Swedish prosecutors today to drop a seven-year rape investigation against him, saying it was the “end of his nightmare”.
“We have been waiting a long time for this decision,” Christophe Marchand, a member of Assange’s Brussels-based legal team, told AFP.
“Julian Assange has been a victim of a huge abuse of procedure. We are very pleased and very moved, as this marks the end of his nightmare.”
He said that lawyers for the Australian, who are based around the world, were discussing the implications of the decision.
Assange posted a picture on Twitter of himself smiling broadly, without comment.
Sky News quoted him as saying that ‘I cannot forgive terrible injustice.’
He told reporters and supporters in central London that his children had grown up without him during the total of seven years he has spent in detention without charge.
He said, “The reality is detention and extradition without charge has become a feature of the European Union.”
Although he’s no longer facing threats of prosecution from Sweden, he will still be arrested by the British police should he step out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Ecuador’s foreign minister Guillaume Long said, “Given that the European Arrest Warrant no longer holds, Ecuador will now be intensifying its diplomatic efforts with the UK so that Julian Assange can gain safe passage in order to enjoy his asylum in Ecuador.”
The 45-year-old has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, after seeking asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape dating back to 2010.
He has always denied the claims, which he feared would see him extradited to the United States and tried over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents.
(With PTI inputs)