Wikileaks founder Julian Assange could walk free after rape allegations against him set to expire
Wikileaks founder and fugitive Julian Assange can finally walk free after being on the run for three years. The 44-year-old Australian has been holed up at the Ecuadorean embassy in central London since June 2012 and was later granted political asylum there against extradition to Sweden to face questioning on three counts of sexual assault and one of rape alleged by two women.
According to Swedish authorities, three of the four charges against him will reach their five-year expiry date under Sweden’s statute of limitations and Assange will be automatically cleared. While the fourth charge of rape has a 10-year statue of limitations. However indications are that the Swedish authorities may not pursue this one either.
Swedish authorities had confirmed in March 2015 that they were prepared to offer Assange a concession and formally interview him in the embassy in London thereby ensuring he doesn’t need to leave the diplomatic confines and be arrested and extradited to face the claims in a Swedish court.
As of now he remains holed up in a back room of the Ecuadorian embassy which is besides Harrods department store loading dock in London. According to reports, the London police has spent more than $18459000 on personnel armed with arrest warrants posted outside the building 24 hours a day.
The three claims of sexual assault related to incidents in a flat in Stockholm in 2010 when he was invited to stay over by a Wikileaks supporter and allegedly took a consensual act too far, physically forced himself on the woman and later deliberately broke a condom she demanded he use.
The Swedish Prosecution Authority (SPA) said one allegation of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion would expire on Thursday, while another of sexual molestation would expire on Tuesday August 18. The last one will not expire until 2020.
So finally, after running for 3+ years from Swedish law, Assange may be a free man next week.