«This is a grand moment for the legal system, but only the first step towards freedom.» This is how Julian Assange described the last 24 hours only an hour ago. For the first time in awhile, he stepped out to the balcony of the Ecuador Embassy in London. The WikiLeaks founder called holding the unwanted and extradition without charges is modern Europe's hallmark, where they have long forgotten about civilized behavior.
Sweden closed the case against Assange. But why is he afraid to go outside? Aleksandr Khabarov reports from London. This was a triumph for Julian Assange. After 7 years of being persecuted by the Swedish authorities, which led him to Ecuador's Embassy in London, he now finally has a chance to get out of here. Today is an important victory for me and for the UN Human Rights System. But this fact in no way cancels the 7 years I spent locked up without any charges. First, I was under home arrest, then here, in the Embassy, for almost 5 years, without sunlight. 7 years without charges, while my kids were growing up without me. This isn't something I can forgive, this isn't something I can forget.
In 2007, in Stockholm, Assange was accused of a sex crime. But now the Swedish district attorney states that they cannot complete the investigation. Therefore, they revoke the arrest warrant. Today I decided to cancel Julian Assange's custody order and revoke his European arrest warrant. I also decided to stop the investigation on Assange's rape charges. It's unclear why this decision hasn't been made sooner. UN experts have already determined that Assange's persecution is illegal. But neither Stockholm, nor London had any reaction.
And even the revoked arrest warrant doesn't resolve everything in the WikiLeaks' founder's fate. In spite of the good news from Sweden, all Julian Assange can do right now is make a balcony appearance. He still cannot leave the Embassy. Police is right outside, ready to arrest him. The thing is, in 2012, he fled from court, violating his bail conditions. Because of that, he is facing up to a year in prison in England, or a large fine. Besides, there still might be charges against Assange for revealing US government secrets. And Washington may send an extradition inquiry to London.
Theresa May was vague, when answering questions about Assange's fate. Any decisions about Julian Assange and him leaving Ecuador's Embassy are in the competence of the police. The WikiLeaks founder announced today, that he realizes all the possible risks. The war, the proper war is only beginning. In Great Britain they said they'll arrest me anyway. The US said that my arrest and the arrests of any WikiLeaks employees is a priority for them. This is unacceptable. Assange refused to answer questions from journalists. One of his lawyers, Julian Branco, said that the WikiLeaks founder will seek political asylum in France. The lawyer thinks that the French authorities must treat this issue seriously.
From the very beginning, Assange said he was being persecuted because of WikiLeaks. Hundreds thousands of classified documents, exposing US politics, were published on this site. This includes the crimes, committed by the US military. Last year Assange said he was ready to stand before an American court. But only if they release Chelsea Manning. In the past, soldier Bradley Manning, who had a sex change in prison, was sentenced to 35 years for cooperating with WikiLeaks. This week Manning was released. But the question remains, when will Julian Assange be released from his jail in Ecuador's Embassy? In June, it will be 5 years since he walked into this building. He hasn't left since.