Sweden Drops Rape Charge Against Julian Assange; Did Trump Approve of This?

sweden drops rape charge

Sweden announced it is dropping a long standing rape case against Julian Assange. Assange has spent nearly 5 years living in the London Ecuadorian Embassy to avoid extradition and criminal charges. Assange has claimed that the rape charge is untrue and that the United States and the United Kingdom are using it to nab him for espionage.

Previously, the Obama administration sought the capture of Julian Assange for leaking thousands of classified files. Assange and his organization, Wikileaks, have long been the pariah of the U.S. up until the 2016 election. It was at this time Wikileaks gained notoriety for publishing the DNC and Podesta files, which painted Hillary Clinton and her aides as a conniving cabal, ultimately benefitting Donald Trump. 

It is unclear if the Trump administration approved Sweden’s backpedaling on the charge. In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that the U.S. was actively seeking the arrest of Assange. The United Kingdom sought to arrest him as a part of an agreement with Sweden. Now that Sweden backed out, the U.K. has declared they will arrest Assange because he violated bail on a previous charge that is no longer relevant.

So will the Trump administration continue to pursue him as well? 

Trump officials publicly slammed Wikileaks and Julian Assange in April and May. This included a blistering critique by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a previous proponent of Wikileaks during the election. Pompeo claimed that Assange and his supporters present a danger to democracies around the world.

He also called Assange and transparency activists “demons.”

In spite of the sharpening rhetoric coming from Trump administration officials, it is doubtful that Sweden would have dropped its rape charge without approval from Trump. The charge was set to expire in 2020, meaning that Assange could have faced another three years confined to the embassy.

During the Obama years, Sweden actually dropped all of the charges against Assange except rape. Assange repeatedly pointed out that the alleged rape, which he claimed was consensual sex, was used as a method of obtaining extradition to the U.S. where he would face espionage charges. According to Zerohedge:

“In the US, Assange faces questioning and potentially charges over his whistleblowing activities, as the FBI is investigating him for ‘espionage.’ The investigation revolves around the Iraq War leaks, sent to WikiLeaks by former US Army Private Chelsea Manning. She is currently serving a 35-year jail sentence for the leaks. With current US President Barack Obama reluctant to clear Assange, his supporters have turned to President-elect Donald Trump with a petition requesting him to pardon the whistleblowers.”

Assange has no current plans to leave the embassy at this time.