BREAKING: Swedish prosecutor drops Julian Assange rape investigation

Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Swedish prosecutors have decided to drop the rape investigation into Julian Assange, ending a long probe that dates back to 2010.

Swedish deputy director of public prosecutions, Eva-Marie Persson, announced the decision to drop the investigation again at a press conference in Stockholm on Tuesday afternoon.

The investigation concerned events which took place in August 2010 after a Swedish woman met the Australian at a WikiLeaks conference in Stockholm.

Assange has always denied the allegation.

Persson said that she found the woman behind the accusation "credible and reliable", but that supporting witness statements had been weakened by the amount of time that had passed since the alleged incident.

"I would like to emphasize that the injured party has submitted a credible and reliable version of events. Her 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," she said in a statement published by Sweden's prosecution authority.

Assange has been held at a top-security British prison since April after police dragged him out of the Ecuadoran embassy in London, where he had been holed up since 2012 to avoid an extradition order to Sweden.

The 48-year-old was subsequently sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching bail conditions when he took refuge in the embassy.

Following his arrest, Swedish authorities reopened their 2010 rape investigation, which had been closed in 2017 on the argument it was not possible to proceed with the probe as Assange could not be reached.

More to come

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