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Sweden drops warrant for WikiLeaks founder

Published: 21 Aug 2010 17:25 GMT+02:00

"I do not consider there to be any reason to suspect that he has committed rape," chief prosecutor Eva Finné said in a statement explaining her decision.

The statement was issued at 4.30pm on Saturday to confirm that Assange was no longer a suspect and is thus no longer required to contact the police.

"She (Eva Finné) has adjudged that he is not suspected of rape. There is thus no reason to retain a warrant for his arrest," Karin Rosander at the Prosecution Authority confirmed.

The Expressen daily had reported on Saturday morning that a warrant had been issued for the arrest of Julian Assange in connection with alleged incidents in Stockholm and Enköping.

A source close to the case told the newspaper that two women in their twenties went to the police in Stockholm on Friday to speak about their recent encounters with Assange.

The Prosecution Authority released a statement on Saturday morning in which it revealed that the warrant was based on “one report of rape and one report of molestation. A warrant has been issued for the person's arrest since there is a risk that he could hamper the investigation.”

Kristinn Hrafnsson, a colleague of Assange's who spoke to news agency AFP from Iceland earlier on Saturday, rejected the charges against Assange as a fabrication, but confirmed that Assange remained in Sweden and planned to turn himself in.

There has been widespread speculation in social media on Saturday that the allegations were completely unfounded and had an ulterior motive, an accusation that WikiLeaks, and comments attributed to them on Twitter, have also helped to forward.

"He didn't know of the charges until he read them in the right wing tabloid Expressen this morning", Hrafnsson said. "There are powerful organisations who want to do harm to WikiLeaks."

The WikiLeaks founder has also personally denied the accusations in an email to Stockholm daily Dagens Nyheter.

“Why these accusations are coming at this point in time is an interesting question. I haven't been contacted by the police. The allegations are false,” Julian Assange said.

Assange has spent time in Sweden over the last week as a guest of the Association of Christian Social Democrats. WikiLeaks chose to move its servers from the United States to Sweden in 2007 as Assange believed the site would benefit from Swedish laws protecting journalists' sources.

The pentagon recently called on WikiLeaks to halt the publication of 70,000 leaked classified documents from the US-led war in Afghanistan. But Assange instead vowed to press ahead with the publication of a further 15,000 secret documents.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

17:45 August 21, 2010 by Thebinary1
Why aren't the names of the women who accused him of raping them not being mentioned? I mean this is just so wrong. I expect to see a defamation case against the two women at least.
18:01 August 21, 2010 by caradoc
"I do not consider there to be any reason to suspect that he has committed rape," chief prosecutor Eva Finné said in a statement explaining her decision

So why was a warrant issued in the first place ?

Why have the police not arrested these two women for wasting police time?

What the hell is going on ?
18:04 August 21, 2010 by Sebastian_R
The guy pissed off some of the most powerful people in the world. And he did it in a way that they can't legally do anything against him.

This kind of story in the media right now? No wonder. I'm waiting for the next story that he is eating little children, spilling oil, doing tax fraud and all that while being a moslem terrorist and the mastermind behind 9/11...

Ghandi said: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." - Wikileaks seems to be past the ignoring and laughing stages now....
18:13 August 21, 2010 by LeoKinmann
Sebastian_R

Well said!

In Sweden the best way to defame any man is a rape accusation. The police will believe any woman, and the man is guilty unless showing an alibi. The usual paradigm of "innocent before proven guilty" doesn't apply.

When I read Expressen this morning I could only believe the whole accusation was a set-up. I'm relieved to hear it's over, hopefully!
18:24 August 21, 2010 by Sebastian_R
@LeoKinmann: I hope it is over, too. But I'm not sure it will be. I'm not worried about accusations. I'm more worried about car accidents that will happen, planes that will crash, food poisening and other freak accidents that may happen.

What did the DoD say? If you don't take the documents back we will force you to do it...
18:47 August 21, 2010 by nielsl
this is the most ridiculous thing I've heard in ages. i hope they punish these women for accusing him of rape. i hate this kind of charges, it's so easy ti accuse a man for rape, just like Leo said. looks like they put some CIA trainee on this case, it's ridiculous.
19:00 August 21, 2010 by Veronika Larsson
Sebastian_R's comment: "In Sweden the best way to defame any man is a rape accusation. The police will believe any woman, and the man is guilty unless showing an alibi. The usual paradigm of "innocent before proven guilty" doesn't apply. "

This is true in many countries but yes, a rape charge is especially damning in Sweden and prosecutors can be over-zealous when investigating any crime.

Here is what I believe happened, based on the very sketchy facts:

One or more persons alleged Julian Assange committed acts of rape and molestation.

The prosecutor's staff played "better safe than sorry" and issued an arrest warrant without carefully examining the evidence. Whether they did this because of Julian Assange's international fame or despite it, I can't say, since I can't read the minds of the prosecuting lawyers. But they were afraid that Assange would flee the country and wanted to at least have him in custody in case the charges proved to have substantial facts behind them.

Chief prosecutor Eva Finné examined the evidence and found there wasn't enough to even arrest Mr. Assange, which means they've got nothing. The evidence required to issue an arrest warrant is not the same as the evidence to convict, so the matter was clearly nothing.

The question is, who was behind this? Is it a right-wing plot to discredit the founder of WikiLeaks, or perhaps a way to hold Mr. Assange in jail so that an "accident" can happen to him while there? Or just some mentally or emotionally disturbed person who has no connection to any organisation?

At this point, we have only the barest facts, but I cannot imagine there will not be an investigation into this.

If I were Mr. Assange, I'd be very cautious about everything: where he resides, his modes of transport, and so forth. I don't know if there is a plot against his life, but at this point, "better safe than sorry".
19:21 August 21, 2010 by Marley420
CIA up to it's old tricks again.
19:28 August 21, 2010 by ryatech
So in Sweden the accusers have their privacy protected while the accused has his reputation smeared? Dirty trick in deed and the Swedish authorities ought to know better than to fall for such smearing tactics. HELLO Eva Finné and Marie Häljebo Kjellstrand, an explanation and apology is due here.
20:07 August 21, 2010 by thebert
Let's see... Assange sticks a hot poker into the US govonment's eye and then, miraculously from the ether, rape charges appear. Linkages have rarely been so clearly apparent.
20:07 August 21, 2010 by amirhosein
VIVA Wikileaks,
20:50 August 21, 2010 by nielsl
OK, this one lady from uppsala university identifies herself as a feminist...interesting.
21:41 August 21, 2010 by capt
So Assange puts in a call to a higher authority than the locals and poof, charges are dropped! Awesome just like in the U.S.
22:09 August 21, 2010 by memyselfandi
Its a matter of time before the CIA kidnaps this guy. He and the U.S. MIlitary files WILL disappear soon.
22:14 August 21, 2010 by waffen
Marley 420

You have hit this nail squarely on the head with your comment.

They were most likely assisted by Massaud, who are as excellent at this type of work as they are at extirpating "rendered" people in hotel rooms.

The United States will do anything to try to stop him from revealing more of the truth of their Sonderkommando's actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, et al. He had best get those 15,000s of documents out into the open soon.

He should also be advised to hire a body-guard, and to never attempt to start his unattended auto, or to ever return to the U.S.

U.S. citizens living abroad do not have the protection of the

Constitution, such as what is left of that Document after cheneybush.
22:34 August 21, 2010 by eZee.se
If I ran a site like WL I would try to cover my identity... but this guy did/has not.

By catching the tiger - that is the multi billion (trillion?) dollar military machine - by the tail, I think the poor guy has set himself up to become a martyr or a nasty accident.

Keep in mind we already know that the US can force Sweden to do illegal things. Heck, the movie and music companies forced Sweden to go (illegally) after thepiratebay, I am pretty f***ng sure the US govt/military has more clout than them.

It should be interesting to see how this plays out though, because the US cannot just do something when all eyes are on him. Perhaps this rape thing was a test to see how people would react?

Right now I'm guessing they are trying to see the balance of what they can do to him without a direct worldwide backlash.

Land of the free? true, but only for a select few.

(And for the record, I am NOT a "US basher" nor have anything against the US, loved my vacation there. The people are absolutely lovely, its the govt that leaves quite a bit to be desired.)
22:52 August 21, 2010 by sak61
Who knows what really happened. The timing is suspect, but perhaps the tension over the past weeks made Mr. Assange too eager to release his chakras. Wouldn't want to falsely accuse the women or deem Mr. Assange guilty.

The best thing would be for all of the files to be leaked and posted on the internet. I'm sure Mr. Assange would agree.
23:54 August 21, 2010 by capt
The majority of comments being displayed here is quite disturbing. The notion that the CIA or even the US Military has resorted to bribing some local bar sluts into trashing this man with false accusations is disturbing to say the least.

Most likley one of two situations have taken place. 1) The accused was drunk on his newly aquired fame and percieved power over people and has actually commited the offense. 2) The women are indeed bar sluts looking to aquire their own fame and fortune. Some simple detective work should sort it out. It really is as simple as that.

Now carry on bashing the U.S. as is the norm on this forum.
23:54 August 21, 2010 by subfuzion
Anybody else notice this? ....Coincidence?

Two Social Democratic election candidates from central Sweden were caught by police having sex with prostitutes....

http://www.thelocal.se/28452/20100819/
00:01 August 22, 2010 by redfish
Thebinary1 said: "Why aren't the names of the women who accused him of raping them not being mentioned? I mean this is just so wrong. I expect to see a defamation case against the two women at least."

That's kind of an ironic thing to ask for, isn't it. Many people say that because WikiLeaks doesn't name their sources, their website could potentially be used for defamation by publishing false documents.
00:49 August 22, 2010 by LeoKinmann
@capt

You are speculating just like everyone else in this thread. The only difference is you don't accept the possibility of some foreign power at play. Which means you are just as clueless as the others, me included.

1. The prosecutors determined the accusations were baseless and the evidence supporting a rape was inadequate. Assange probably had damn good alibi. After all, if I were to attend a foreign conference I'd have myself surrounded by people all the time. So your first speculation won't hold. Innocent until proven guilty, remember?

2. So far the women's name never showed up anywhere. Fame? Hardly any. This is the election year. Going after Littorin or some Social Democratic candidates stirs up much more local concern than accusing Assange, who's basically a visitor. Talking about fortune, who's providing them with fortune then? Their American employers?

Another interesting thing is how quickly Expressen reported the news. The police report was made and the first warrant issued Friday evening. By Saturday morning, the news was on the frontpage of Expressen on the shelves. Apparently Expressen gained inside-information. The news was published to hurt, intentionally or not. Interestingly, Expressen stated that these two women knew each other. What's more, later that day, Aftonbladet, another Swedish newspaper wrote that one of the women spoke out, saying specifically that Pentagon wasn't behind this. Smells fishy to me.
00:49 August 22, 2010 by beam_me_up
I agree with capt. The CIA wouldn't do something that could be blamed so easily on them. Most likely the women were looking for excitement and fame to some degree, and as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, it might come true. Maybe Swedes are somehow behind this. No country is innocent.
01:41 August 22, 2010 by redfish
@NickM:

You don't see the hypocrisy though?
04:02 August 22, 2010 by mojofat
It appears that "innocent till proven guilty" applies to everyone except the US gov't. Very well, but does it not seem to be an amateur move to bribe/plant a rape accusation? The CIA has kidnapped people all over the world and carted them off to secret prisons, not to mention a host of other dirty tricks. I suspect that if Julian (whom I fully support) does become a big enough pain, they're not going to fool around with something as half-assed as this would be.
04:02 August 22, 2010 by Thebinary1
@redfish:

You have confused a news report (where sources are protected) with criminal-charges (where the sources/claimants/victims aren't protected unless they are put into witness protection etc...). In a criminal-charge, the accused has the right to find out who the accuser is.
11:44 August 22, 2010 by d_s
This is getting really interesting.

Just read Expressen, they continue making a point about this:

Why does an innocent man not go to the police immediately?

Now, its not difficult to imangine that mr. Assange may have been thinking that wat if USA would have requested extradition immediately when they have gotten him in a police station..
12:30 August 22, 2010 by NickM
This is an interesting latest update on the story:

http://tinyurl.com/28n4ec7
13:23 August 22, 2010 by ryatech
Swedish legal watchdog organization is filling a report on judge responsible for issuing warrant. I hope the Local will follow this case.

http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article7655734.ab
15:32 August 22, 2010 by DeafJeff
They should say why he is no longer accused of rape. If the women weren't really raped, they should go to prison, and then to hell. If they really were raped, and he bought his way out (sounds pausible to me), then he should go to prison and then to hell.
18:16 August 22, 2010 by redfish
@Thebinary1:

But people want to find out the names of the women because they think this is defamation, not because of whether Assange will be convicted. If Assange is convicted he'll be convicted on the facts. But defamation is defamation, whether its in a police report or in a newspaper. Also, would it have been different if these women, instead of going to the police, went to a local reporter? If that happened, would you be uninterested in finding their names?

You need to throw up a lot of smoke to rationalize the difference, imo
19:05 August 22, 2010 by musiktjej
You are kidding Sebastian _R with this statement right? "In Sweden the best way to defame any man is a rape accusation. The police will believe any woman, and the man is guilty unless showing an alibi. The usual paradigm of "innocent before proven guilty" doesn't apply."

If and I say IF a man should actually be proven to have committed a rape....his time is what? Like 2 years? Defame his character? For goodness sake, rape is not a problem in this country....any man can do it and get away with it....in fact they usually do!

And molestation? They think that now he ONLY molested them? Oh, well, that's not even a crime...is there a warrant out for him on that? no? So, in other words, molestation in Sweden is quite alright.
00:19 August 23, 2010 by LeoKinmann
@musiktjej

Stop bugging Sebastian_R, the statement came from me.

Sweden is ranked pretty high when it comes to the occurrence of reported rape per capita. Whether it's a social, cultural or political problem remains to be discussed. However, I'd say for a man, the number of years in prison doesn't matter as much as the conviction itself. Apparently few mentally healthy women enjoy the company of rapists. For famous guys like Littorin, as soon as the accusation has been put on the table, he will lose everything. Any woman can do it and get away with it. There was one case when a woman accused her sambo for over 500 rape and/or rape attempts during 2 yrs. He'd be incredibly hung if it were true. 200 of them were impossible since he served in the army during the time. He was convicted on the alleged 300 occasions. If a woman scratched my neck with her fingers when we were alone and ran away to the police, she can show them the scar on my neck and my DNA under her nails and I'd be in a shitload of hell.
00:53 August 23, 2010 by redfish
Leo,

In Sweden do you have a sex offender registry like exists in the US?
09:00 August 23, 2010 by jl238
I'm curious.

If the U.S. military were in fact behind this, wouldn't the tactic of setting up an obviously false accusation against Assange backfire by making him appear even more legitimate in the eyes of the public?

Or is it a call of duty for all true sisters to drop their support of him?
18:05 August 23, 2010 by Vetinari
Musiktjej obviously have never heard of Littorin.

I, along with most others it seems, beleive that this was a US based plot. Why? becasue Assange has annoyed the US military.

No other organization is right now angry at Assange. this is a very easy connection to make. Is it true? Don't know.
18:29 August 23, 2010 by redfish
Vetinari,

Assange has certainly annoyed the US military, but as of now his leaks have not substantially altered the policy debate like Assange believed it would. The reaction from most of the press to the Afghan war leaks was that it was just more of what we already knew.

So its hard to say if the military views him as something more than a fly.
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