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Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation

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By Yuliya Talmazan  with NBC News World News
Image: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures from the window of a priso
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange   -   Copyright  Daniel Leal-Olivas

Sweden on Tuesday announced it was dropping a rape investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

"Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson has today decided to discontinue the investigation," Swedish prosecutors said. "The reason for this decision is that the evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question."

Assange, who has always denied the allegations, spent seven years holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London before he was dragged out in April. He faces 18 counts in the United States including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law. He could spend decades in prison if convicted