May 19, 2017 / 9:52 AM / 4 months ago

UK police say WikiLeaks' Assange will be arrested if he leaves Ecuador's embassy

FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, in central London, Britain February 5, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - British police said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would still be arrested if he leaves the Ecuadorean embassy in London after Swedish prosecutors said on Friday they would drop a preliminary investigation into an allegation of rape against him.

Assange, 45, has been holed up in the embassy since 2012 after skipping bail to avoid extradition to Sweden over the allegation of rape, which he denies.

“Westminster Magistrates’ Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012,” London police said in a statement. “The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy.”

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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