Sweden is dropping its investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on rape allegations, according to a prosecution statement released Friday.
Assange, who has always denied wrongdoing, has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, in an effort to avoid a Swedish arrest warrant. Despite Friday's announcement, he's unlikely to walk out of the embassy imminently.
The Australian national has previously expressed concern that he could end up being extradited and facing the death penalty in the United States over allegations of revealing government secrets through his site, WikiLeaks.
Following the Swedish statement, Assange, now 45, tweeted an old image of himself smiling. Four hours later, he tweeted: "Detained for 7 years without charge by while my children grew up and my name was slandered. I do not forgive or forget." A lawyer for the woman who accused Assange of rape said her client was shocked by the decision, Agence France-Presse news agency reported.
"It is a scandal that a suspected rapist can escape justice and thereby avoid the courts ... my client is shocked and no decision to (end the case) can make her change that Assange exposed her to rape," lawyer Elisabeth Fritz said, according to AFP.