Sweden has dropped rape investigation against WikLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, according to foreign media reports. Assange, who pleads not guilty of the allegations levelled against, has avoided extradition to Sweden for seven years and sought refuge at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
According to the Swedish Prosecution Authority, the decision to "discontinue the investigation regarding Julian Assange" was taken by Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson. "The reason for this decision is that the evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question," it added.
"I would like to emphasise that the injured party has submitted a credible and reliable version of events. Her (victim's) statements have been coherent, extensive and detailed; however, my overall assessment is that the evidential situation has been weakened to such an extent that that there is no longer any reason to continue the investigation," Persson said.
The Swedish prosecutors had earlier this year reopened their investigation into the rape allegation against Assange, who is currently lodged at Belmarsh prison in London after being sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his bail conditions.
A lawyer for one of the women involved in the Swedish allegations had asked for the investigation to be resumed. Assange had also faced an investigation over a second sex-related allegation, but this was dropped in 2015 because time had run out. He has denied the accusations in both the cases.