Assange may ask France for asylum after rape case dropped

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Julian Assange may ask France for political asylum, Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday, after Swedish prosecutors closed a seven-year preliminary investigation into an allegation of rape against the WikiLeaks founder.

Prosecutor Marianne Ny (L) attends a press conference in Stockholm on May 19, 2017. /AFP Photo
Prosecutor Marianne Ny (L) attends a press conference in Stockholm on May 19, 2017. /AFP Photo
“Director of Public Prosecution, Marianne Ny, has today decided to discontinue the preliminary investigation regarding suspected rape concerning Julian Assange,” according to a statement.
After Swedish prosecutors said they had dropped the investigation on Friday, Assange said he would “not forgive or forget” those behind the rape investigation which he claimed prevented him seeing his children while they grew up.
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Julian Assange is seen through the window of the door leading to the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in central London. /VCG Photo
British police to arrest Assange if he leaves embassy
British police said on Friday they would arrest Assange if he left Ecuador’s embassy in London where he has been holed up, under a separate warrant for skipping bail.
Assange, 45, has lived in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, after taking refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden over the allegation of rape, which he denies.
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who had a rape investigation against him in Sweden dropped on May 19, 2017, has lived in Ecuador’s embassy in London for nearly five years to avoid arrest. /AFP Photo
Following the British police statement, Prime Minister Theresa May said it would be an operational matter for police to decide if Assange should be arrested.
Assange could face a maximum jail term of one year, AFP reported, citing a spokesman for the state Crown Prosecution Service.