Sweden partially drops Assange investigation

2:37 min

Sweden will drop the investigation of Julian Assange regarding suspected sexual molestation and unlawful coercion, as the statute of limitation expired on Thursday, the Swedish Prosecution Authority says in a press release.

"Today, 13 August 2015, an incident of suspected unlawful coercion and an incident of sexual molestation will be time barred. On 18 August, an additional incident of sexual molestation will be time barred," the institution says.

Assange will still be investigated for an incident of suspected rape, which will not expire until August 2020.

"Julian Assange, on his own accord, has evaded prosecution by seeking refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador. As the statute of limitation has run on some of the crimes, I am compelled to discontinue the investigation with respect to these crimes. I regret having to say, that this means there will be no closure with regard to these events, as we have not been able to interview the suspect," director of public prosecution Marianne Ny says in the press release.

Britain said it would make a formal protest to Ecuador as Foreign Minister Hugo Swire called Assange's residence at its embassy in London "an abuse of diplomatic relations" and "a growing stain on the country's reputation", reports AFP.

The founder of WikiLeaks has been holed up in the Latin American nation's embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on allegations of rape and sexual assault. Assange denies all charges.

After numerous attempts to question Assange in Sweden, Swedish prosecutors finally petitioned to interview him at the Ecuadorian embassy, but have not managed to interrogate him yet.

In the negotiation between both countries, Ecuador expressed its concern that, if Assange goes to Sweden, he could then be delivered to US authorities, who may try him for leaking thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010.