WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's lawyer says 'end of his nightmare' after rape probe is dropped

A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Friday welcomed the decision of Swedish prosecutors to drop a seven-year rape investigation against him, saying it was the "end of his nightmare".

"We have been waiting a long time for this decision," Christophe Marchand, a member of Assange's Brussels-based legal team, told AFP.

"Assange has been a victim of a huge abuse of procedure. We are very pleased and very moved, as this marks the end of his nightmare," he added.

Sweden’s director of public prosecutions Marianne Ny had earlier said on Friday that Assange's arrest warrant was being revoked as it was impossible to serve him notice of his alleged crimes.

“In order to proceed with the case, Julian Assange would have to be formally notified of the criminal suspicions against him. We cannot expect to receive assistance from Ecuador regarding this. Therefore the investigation is discontinued," Ny said, according to The Guardian. However, she added that if at a later date Assange makes himself available, the investigation will be resumed immediately, the report added.

Marchand also said that lawyers for the Australian, who are based around the world, were discussing the implications of the decision.

A picture of Assange smiling broadly was posted from his Twitter account.

The 45-year-old has been living in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012, after seeking asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape dating back to 2010. With the threat of extradition to Sweden dropped, the he could potentially opt to leave the embassy.

He has always denied the charges, which he feared would see him extradited to the United States and tried over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret United States military and diplomatic documents.

With inputs from AFP

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Updated Date: May 19, 2017 18:20:40 IST