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Why the dismissal of rape charges against Assange might not help him leave the embassy

The WikiLeaks founder has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 in order to prevent Swedish authorities from questioning him over charges of alleged rape. Julian Assange has always denied the charges and said they were just a cover so, once Sweden had Assange in their possession, they could extradite him to the United States where he could face charges for leaking state secrets.

But with today’s news that Swedish Chief Prosecutor Marianne Ny has decided to “discontinue the preliminary investigation regarding suspected rape” by Assange (via Reuters), many are speculating that this means Assange may finally be able to leave the embassy in London. However, it’s not that simple. Assange still has an outstanding police warrant against him in the U.K. for jumping bail, and as Wikileaks tweeted, the “U.K. refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a U.S. extradition warrant” for him. If it has, Assange may not be able to step out of the embassy for a long time without immediately being arrested and extradited to the U.S.

Regardless, Assange was clearly very happy to hear the news about Sweden, tweeting this:

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