As­sange claims vic­tory af­ter Swe­den drops rape probe

New Straits Times - - World -

LON­DON: Wik­iLeaks founder Ju­lian As­sange gave a clenched fist salute on Fri­day af­ter Swedish prose­cu­tors dropped a sev­enyear rape al­le­ga­tion, but he in­sisted the “proper war” over his fu­ture was just be­gin­ning.

As­sange stepped into the bal­cony of Ecuador’s em­bassy here, where he has been holed up since 2012, to cel­e­brate, but said the road was “far from over”.

The 45-year-old Aus­tralian’s ac­cuser was an­gered by the decision and As­sange de­clined to say whether he would leave the em­bassy. Bri­tish po­lice could ar­rest him im­me­di­ately for breach­ing ear­lier bail con­di­tions if he left the build­ing, while US authorities had warned they re­garded Wik­iLeaks as a “hos­tile in­tel­li­gence ser­vice”.

“To­day is an im­por­tant vic­tory,” As­sange, in a black shirt and jacket, told re­porters and a small band of sup­port­ers crowded around the tiny bal­cony.

“But it by no means erases seven years of de­ten­tion with­out charge. In prison, un­der house ar­rest and al­most five years here in this em­bassy with­out sun­light.

“That is not some­thing that I can for­give. It is not some­thing that I can for­get.” AFP

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