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30 May 2017, 00:18 HRS IST
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  • Defiant Assange says will not 'forgive and forget'

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21:2 HRS IST

From Aditi Khanna

London, May 19 (PTI)
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange today attacked the Swedish authorities for detaining him for seven years without charge and said he will not "forgive" those who "slandered" him.

Assange, who is expected to make an official statement from his Ecuadorean embassy hideout in London, used social media to vent his anger, hours after the Swedish prosecution decided to drop its rape investigation against him.

"Detained for 7 years without charge by while my children grew up and my name was slandered. I do not forgive or forget," Assange, 45, said in a tweet.

He had earlier tweeted a smiling picture of himself from inside the embassy.

At a press briefing earlier today, Sweden's top prosecutor Marianne Ny said that by remaining in the embassy in London Assange had evaded the exercise of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) that would have seen him extradited to Sweden.

"If he were to return to Sweden before the statute of limitation on this case expires in August 2020, the preliminary investigation could be resumed... it is regrettable we have not been able to carry out the investigation. We are not making any pronouncement about guilt," Ny said.

The rape allegation against the Australian computer programmer had followed a Wikileaks conference in Stockholm in 2010.

Assange has always denied the allegations against him, claiming the sex was consensual and that the case was politically motivated to get him extradited to the US as it followed massive Wikileaks dumps of secret US military reports that year.

Ecuador Foreign Minister Guillaume Long said the UK should now grant Assange safe passage, as the European arrest warrant against him "no longer holds".

"Ecuador welcomes the decision to drop the charges," Long said.

However, Scotland Yard has said that it has an obligation to enforce the arrest warrant on Assange a lesser charge of skipping bail.

According to his lawyer, Assange wants political asylum in France after he leaves the Ecuador embassy.

Assange could face a trial in the US over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents.

The Swedish investigation into alleged rape allegations against Assange were dropped days after Chelsea Manning, who provided Wikileaks with classified intelligence on Iraq and Afghanistan that shocked the world, was freed from prison in the US.

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