By Ahmet Sait Akcay
Swedish prosecutors on Friday dropped a rape investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after a seven-year standoff.
The Swedish Prosecution Authority said in a statement that top prosecutor Marianne Ny "has decided to discontinue the investigation".
Prosecutor Ny, speaking at a news conference in Stockholm on Friday, said they have not come to conclusion whether Assange is guilty or not.
Ny admitted that they cannot find more evidence in the case which is continuing for 7 years and decided to close the rape investigation.
The prosecutor further said if the WikiLeaks founder comes to Sweden until 2020, the case can be opened again.
Following the announcement, London police issued a statement saying Assange was facing arrest if he left the Ecuadorian embassy, where he took refuge in June 2012 after U.K. authorities granted a Swedish request to extradite him.
"Westminster Magistrates' Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012.
"The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy," the statement said.
It added that while Assange was wanted on a European Arrest Warrant for an "extremely serious offence", the MPS response reflected the "serious nature of that crime".
'Important victory' for Assange
"Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence. The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence," it said.
Assange celebrated the day as an “important victory for me and UN Human rights system”.
"Today is an important victory for me and the UN human rights system, but by no means erases seven years of detention without charge... while my children grew up. That is not something I can forgive or forget," he told journalists from Ecuadorian embassy’s balcony in central London.
"My legal staff has contacted the UK authorities and we hope to engage in a dialogue about what will be the best way forward," he added.
Ecuador’s foreign minister Guillaume Long later said the U.K. should now grant the WikiLeaks founder a safe passage, as the European arrest warrant against him "no longer holds".
"Ecuador welcomes the decision to drop the charges," Long said.
"Ecuador regrets that it took Swedish prosecutor more than four years to carry out this interview. This was a wholly unnecessary delay," the minister added.
Assange's taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy provoked a stalemate, with diplomatic rules preventing British police from entering the building and Assange unable to leave without facing arrest.
* Ahmet Gurhan Kartal contributed to this report from London