Swedish officials have dropped their rape investigation into Julian Assange.
The country’s chief prosecutor applied to cancel his arrest on Friday morning, seven years after it was first granted.
Assange tweeted a happy photograph of himself when the news broke:
— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) May 19, 2017
The development could mean that Assange is free to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been hiding for almost five years to avoid extradition.
British police were poised to arrest Assange and have him sent to Sweden to answer the case – but couldn’t act because of Ecuador’s diplomatic immunity.
Officers today said that Assange is still wanted in Britain – for failing to attend court – but hinted that it would not try very hard to arrest him.
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement they are still “obliged” to take him in, but would “provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate” to a “much less serious offence”.
Assange has thus far been cautious about taking advantage of the development.
A statement from Wikileaks said that they were worried that Assange could still be extradited to the United States, where he could face trial for leaking state secrets.
A statement tweeted on Friday complained that the UK had refused to confirm or deny whether US authorities had asked for Assange to be extradited – implying that they believe he may not be out of the woods yet.
His stay so far has been an enormous burden on the British taxpayer.
Last year Heat Street estimated that more than £13million had been spent policing Assange since his hideout began – a figure which will have increased since.
Assange’s reprieve comes in the same week that Wikileaks highest-profile source, Chelsea Manning, walked free from prison 28 years ahead of schedule.
Manning, who had her sentence commuted by President Obama days before he left office, celebrated her freedom by posting a celebratory photo on Instagram.