1. ITV Report

Sweden drops investigations into some allegations against Assange as time runs out - but rape inquiry continues

The Swedish prosecutor has dropped investigations into some of the sexual assault allegations lodged against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, it was announced today.

Investigations into some of the claims against Assange have been dropped Credit: Reuters

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said accusations of sexual molestation and unlawful coercion - which date back to 2010 - are now "time barred" as they have reached the five-year limit to bring charges set out under the country's statute of limitations.

A further allegation of sexual molestation will be time barred on August 18.

However, the authority added, the investigation into an allegation of rape will continue, as the law allows an additional five years in which prosecutors may bring charges for a reported rape.

The country's Director of Public Prosecutions, Marianne Nye, said the investigations had been obstructed by Assange having holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past three years.

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.

– Marianne Nye, Swedish Director of Public Prosecutions
Assange has been granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London Credit: Reuters

Assange said he was "extremely disappointed", claiming the Swedish prosecutor had managed to completely avoid hearing his side of the story by refusing to travel to the embassy to interview him.

There was no need for any of this. I am an innocent man. I haven't even been charged. From the beginning I offered simple solutions - come to the embassy to take my statement, or promise not to send me to the United States.

This Swedish official refused both. She even refused a written statement. Now she has managed to avoid hearing my side of the story entirely.

This is beyond incompetence. I am strong but the cost to my family is unacceptable. Even though I have been improperly treated, I would like to thank the many people in Sweden and the UK who have been very understanding of the wrong which has been done to me and my family.

– Julian Assange

Ms Nye said negotiations were ongoing between Sweden and Ecuador, and an interview may yet take place within the confines of the embassy.

The founder of the Wikileaks site has always denied sexual assault of any kind.

He was granted asylum by the Ecuador embassy in London in June 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden to face the charges.

He claims that if he went to Sweden, he would then be extradited to the United States, where he could be tried for publishing information leaked from military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest data breaches in US history.