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November 19, 2019

Sweden is dropping its probe into Wikileaks founder Julian Assange without an indictment.

Assange had been under investigation for rape and sexual assault since he was ousted from his asylum-claiming hideaway at London's Ecuadorian embassy earlier this year — a followup of an investigation Sweden had previously abandoned in 2017. And on Monday, Sweden's deputy director of public prosecutions said the country would drop this year's investigation because its "evidence is not strong enough to form the basis of an indictment."

Sweden first started investigating Assange in 2010 after four women accused him of separate sexual assaults in Stockholm, all of which Assange has denied. Sweden then attempted to extradite him from the U.K., prompting his claim of asylum at the embassy. In the meantime, the statute of limitations expired on three of the four allegations.

Since Assange's asylum was revoked, Swedish prosecutors said they had talked to seven witnesses in the final case, including two people not previously interviewed. But even though the "injured party has submitted a credible and reliable version of events," "memories fade for natural reason," the prosecutor said, and thus they had to drop the probe.

Meanwhile in the U.S., Assange has been charged with the first-ever instance with violating the Espionage Act, along with a bevvy of other counts of receiving or publishing classified information. He's serving a 50-week sentence in the U.K. for skipping bail, and the U.S. has requested to extradite him after that ends. Kathryn Krawczyk

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