Some of the claims made against Julian Assange — who has been holed up at Ecuador's London embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition — have reached their statute of limitations after five years.
“Now that the statute of limitations has expired on certain offences, I am obliged to drop part of the investigation,” prosecutor Marianne Ny said, adding she still wanted to question the Australian on a more serious rape claim.
Prosecutors formally had until midnight on August 13th to quiz the WikiLeaks founder on one charge of sexual molestation and another of unlawful coercion, dating back to 2010, before the charges were due to expire.
Under Swedish law, if a suspect is not questioned before the deadline expires, they can no longer be tried for the alleged crimes.
Julian Assange, who turned 44 last month, strongly denies the accusations made by two women he met in Sweden five years ago.
“I have spoken to Julian…he is extremely disappointed due to the fact that he has been deprived of the opportunity to prove that he is innocent,” his chief Swedish lawyer Per Samuelsson told The Local on Thursday, just after Ny's announcement.
“She has had five years to come to London to question him.”