After leaking secrets, dodging sex charges and costing the UK £13m, Julian Assange marks end of rape probe by giving world a human rights lecture

After leaking secrets, dodging sex charges and costing the UK £13m, Julian Assange marks end of rape probe by giving world a human rights lecture, by Julian Robinson.

Julian Assange in the Ecuderian Embassy, 2014

Julian Assange lectured Britain on human rights last night while showing no sign of leaving his embassy bolthole.

‘I do not forgive or forget,’ he said, blaming everyone but himself for his five years of self-imposed detention.

The 45-year-old WikiLeaks chief has been free to leave his Knightsbridge sanctuary at any time and yesterday Sweden withdrew a warrant for his arrest on a rape allegation.

Elisabeth Fritz, who represents Assange’s accuser, said the woman was shocked by the decision and stood by her claims. ‘It is a scandal that a suspected rapist can disregard the judiciary and thus avoid trial,’ she added.

The £13million farce is set to carry on because the US wants Assange for leaking secrets.

In a display of astonishing arrogance, Assange emerged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London yesterday, posing on its balcony for photographs with his fist raised in a victory salute.

The pale-looking Australian computer hacker gravely claimed to be the victim of a ‘terrible injustice’.

He said the Swedish decision was a victory for human rights and attacked the British government for threatening to enforce the now withdrawn extradition request.

‘It does not erase seven years of detention without charge in prison, under house arrest and almost five years here in this embassy without sunlight,’ he said.

‘Seven years without charge while my children grow up without me. That is something that I cannot forgive and something that I cannot forget.’

Why the rape charge was dropped:

The day of drama began when Sweden’s top prosecutor said an investigation into allegations that Assange raped a woman during a visit in 2010 had been ‘discontinued’.

Marianne Ny told a press conference that it was effectively a lost cause because there was no way of getting Assange to properly answer questions. …

She told a news conference in Stockholm that the investigation could be reopened if Assange returns to Sweden before the statute of limitations lapses in 2020. …

[The alleged rape victim] accused [Assange] of having sex with her as she slept without using a condom despite repeatedly having denied him unprotected sex.  He has always denied the claims.

Q & A:

Now the rape probe is over, will he leave the Ecuadorean embassy?

Assange is very unlikely to without a formal assurance that he will not be arrested, either in the street or at a border. He said his ‘legal team’ have contacted the UK authorities to find the ‘best way forward’.

What is his lifestyle?

Assange complains about ‘living without sunlight’. He has made a comfortable albeit cramped home at 3 Hans Crescent near Harrods in central London. His 194 sq ft room has a bed, computer, sun lamp, treadmill and a microwave, and he has a cat. Pamela Anderson is a regular visitor.

What will happen if he simply walks out?

Scotland Yard insists he still faces arrest for breaching bail when he fled to the embassy in 2012. A bench warrant was issued by local magistrates and remains valid. …

Why DOES the US want to put Assange on trial?

He is accused of leaking tens of thousands of US military and diplomatic documents. Charges could include conspiracy, theft of government property and violations of the Espionage Act.

The source for that material was army private Chelsea Manning, then Bradley, who was jailed for 35 years. This was commuted after seven years by Barack Obama and she was released this week.

President Trump supports Assange’s arrest. It is possible a sealed indictment has already been drawn up. The US justice department, White House and British government all declined to comment yesterday.

What are his chances of getting to Ecuador?

Once the bail offence has been dealt with, it might still be possible for Assange to go to Ecuador. The country’s foreign minister, Guillaume Long, says London ‘must now grant safe passage’ in accordance with international asylum laws.