STOCKHOLM: Sweden's prosecution authority said Tuesday it had dropped its investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over a 2010 rape allegation, even though prosecutors found the plaintiff's claim "credible".
"I want to inform about my decision to discontinue the preliminary investigation,'' Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson told a news conference.
"My assessment is that all investigative measures that can be taken have been taken. But... the evidence is not strong enough to file an indictment," deputy director of public prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson told reporters.
Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, said in a tweet that the focus should now move onto the ``threat'' that Assange has been ``warning about for years: the belligerent prosecution of the United States and the threat it poses to the First Amendment.''
Tuesday's decision follows a ruling in June by a Swedish court that Assange should not be detained.
Two months earlier, Assange was evicted from the Ecuador Embassy in London where he had been holed up since 2012. He was immediately arrested and is currently serving a 50-week sentence in Britain for jumping bail in 2012.
He is also fighting extradition to the U.S., which accuses him of publishing secret documents.
Jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing extradition to the United States over the 2010 publication of thousands of leaked classified documents.
Swedish prosecutors decided Tuesday to drop a separate rape investigation against him. Here is a recap of Assange's battle to avoid extradition.
2010: assault charges
Between July and October 2010, Assange's WikiLeaks whistleblowing website releases 470,000 classified military documents concerning US diplomacy and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It later releases another batch of more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables.
In November a Swedish prosecutor issues a European arrest warrant for Assange over sexual assault allegations involving two Swedish women.
He denies the claims, saying they consented.
But he turns himself in to police in London in December and is arrested pending a ruling on the Swedish request for his extradition. A week later he is released on bail.
2012: embassy refuge
In February 2011 a British judge rules that Assange can be extradited to Sweden.
He launches an appeal, claiming the Swedish allegations are a pretext to transfer him to the United States.
In June 2012 he takes refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid extradition. Ecuador, then ruled by left-wing president Rafael Correa, grants him asylum in August.
In May 2017 Swedish prosecutors drop the sex assault investigation, frustrated by the failure to have Assange transferred.
In December Ecuador grants Assange nationality but is blocked by Britain from according him diplomatic status.
2019: arrest, prison
In January 2018 Ecuador, now ruled by right-wing President Lenin Moreno, says its hosting of Assange has become "untenable".
In March it temporarily cuts off his communications, including use of the internet or a mobile phone.
Tensions peak in April 2019 when Moreno says Assange has "repeatedly violated" the conditions of his asylum.
Ecuador cancels his citizenship on April 10.
The next day British police drag Assange out of the embassy, having been informed that his asylum has been withdrawn. He is arrested on a US extradition request.
In May Assange is sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for having breached bail in 2010.
The legal process for his extradition to the United State begins. Swedish prosecutors also say they are reopening the 2010 rape investigation.
On May 23 the US Justice Department formally charges Assange with having violated the US Espionage Act by publishing military and diplomatic files in 2010.
UN rights experts Nils Melzer says Assange had been subjected to drawn-out "psychological torture" that had seriously affected his health.
Assange makes his first appearance since being jailed on June 15, telling a court via videolink that WikiLeaks is "nothing but a publisher".
The judge says his full extradition hearing will start in February.
Back in court again on October 21, Assange appears frail and confused.
Swedish charge dropped
On November 19, Swedish prosecutors say they have dropped their rape investigation because "the evidence is not strong enough", despite "credible" claims from the woman who filed the complaint.