The Statute of Limitations on Some of the Sexual Assault Allegations Against Julian Assange Have Expired

The WikiLeaks founder remains holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

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Aug 14 2015, 4:05pm

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On Thursday, expiring statues of limitations forced Sweden to drop some of its investigations into sexual assault allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, though prosecutors have promised their investigation into the more serious rape allegations will continue.

Assange, who fled to Ecuador's London embassy in 2012, has claimed since the allegations were made in 2010 that all the sexual encounters he had with the women were consensual. The activist and his supporters have long feared that if he went to Stockholm he would be extradited to the US and tried on charges related to his publishing of documents provided to him by Chelsea Manning, who is now in prison. This March, Swedish prosecutors agreed to to question Assange inside the embassy rather than in Sweden, but that agreement later fell apart.

On Thursday, UK Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire issued a statement protesting Ecuador's continued hosting of Assange, saying, "Ecuador must recognise that its decision to harbour Mr Assange more than three years ago has prevented the proper course of justice... It is completely unacceptable that the British taxpayer has had to foot the bill for this abuse of diplomatic relations."

According to the New York Times, police surveillance of the embassy has cost the UK government about $14 million as of April.

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