Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecution, Eva-Marie Persson, said they had made the decision because the evidence has “weakened considerably” due to the long period of time since the events in question.
“I would like to emphasise that the injured party has submitted a credible and reliable version of events. Her statements have been coherent, extensive and detailed; however, my overall assessment is that the evidential situation has been weakened to such an extent that that there is no longer any reason to continue the investigation,” she said.
The 48-year-old Australian has repeatedly denied the allegation against him, made in 2010.
Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, said: “Sweden has dropped its preliminary investigation into Mr Assange for the third time, after reopening it without any new evidence or information. Let us now focus on the threat Mr Assange has been warning about for years: the belligerent prosecution of the United States and the threat it poses to the First Amendment.”
In June, a Swedish court said it would not seek to detain Assange in relation to the suspected rape case, meaning while the preliminary investigation should not be abandoned, he would not be extradited and could be questioned in Britain.
Two months earlier, the WikiLeaks founder was evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had been holed up since 2012.
He was immediately arrested and recieved a 50-week sentence for breaching bail.
Assange currently remains in Belmarsh prison in London, where he is fighting extradition to the US, which accuses him of publishing secret documents.
A statement issued by the Swedish prosecuting authorities said: “The preliminary investigation concerning allegations against Julian Assange was resumed on 13 May 2019 after Assange left the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
“The investigation relates to a suspected rape committed in August 2010. A number of investigative measures have been conducted since May, largely in the form of witness interviews.
“The preliminary investigation has now been discontinued, the motive for which is that the evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question.”