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Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant For WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange (Update)

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who had alleged “dirty tricks” after being a accused of rape in a Swedish arrest warrant Saturday has since been let off the hook, according to an AP report. Swedish prosecutors who had previously issued the arrest warrant have since withdrawn it, claiming that the rap suspicions are unfounded. In a brief statement Saturday, chief prosecutor Eva Finne says: “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape.”

Writing for the Associated Press, Karl Ritter reports:

Swedish prosecutors withdrew an arrest warrant for the founder of WikiLeaks on Saturday, saying less than a day after the document was issued that it was based on an unfounded accusation of rape.

The accusation had been labeled a dirty trick by Julian Assange and his group, who are preparing to release a fresh batch of classified U.S. documents from the Afghan war.

Swedish prosecutors had urged Assange – a nomadic 39-year-old Australian whose whereabouts were unclear – to turn himself in to police to face questioning in one case involving suspicions of rape and another based on an accusation of molestation.

“I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape,” chief prosecutor Eva Finne said, in announcing the withdrawal of the warrant. She did not address the status of the molestation case, a less serious charge that would not lead to an arrest warrant.

Prosecutors did not answer phone calls seeking further comment.”

UPDATE NBC News reports that an arrest warrant for molestation is still outstanding for Assange.

But Karin Rosander, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Prosecution Authority, told NBC News that the allegation of molestation remains. However, Rosander said that after a new prosecutor looked at the allegations, the arrest warrant was withdrawn because the severity of the case does not require an arrest at this stage.

Rosander told NBC News Swedish authorities have no idea where Assange is but have been trying to contact him.

Swedish prosecutors had urged Assange — a nomadic 39-year-old Australian whose whereabouts were unclear — to turn himself in to police to face questioning in one case involving suspicions of rape and another based on an accusation of molestation.

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