Assange: charges caused ‘enormous’ damage

Assange: charges caused 'enormous' damage
WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange on Thursday said that the handling of rape and molestation allegations against him by Swedish prosecutors has caused enormous damage to his person and to the whistleblower website.

“Currently there are millions of websites around the world with the combination ‘Julian Assange and rape’ as a result of how the prosecutor initially handled the case,” Assange told Swedish daily Aftonbladet.

“The damage they have caused me and WikiLeaks is enormous,” he said.

A Swedish duty prosecutor on Friday night issued an arrest warrant for Assange over an allegation of rape but chief prosecutor Eva Finné abruptly withdrew it on Saturday, saying new information had come to light.

On Wednesday she said there was no reason to believe a crime had been committed in that case, but said she had enough evidence to continue investigating a separate molestation allegation against Assange.

The 39-year-old Australian, who is set to begin writing a regular column for Aftonbladet, told the paper he had “no idea” what that allegation was about.

“We have requested to be informed of which details the prosecutor is basing her decision upon,” he said, adding he would collaborate with Swedish police in their investigation.

Assange had stayed with the woman who made the molestation allegation for a

few days, according to Aftonbladet.

The allegations against the former hacker appeared to be linked to his refusal to leave the woman’s home when she asked him to go, it reported.

Assange has said the claims are part of a “smear campaign” aimed at discrediting his whistleblowing website, which is locked in a row with the Pentagon over the release of secret US documents about the war in Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks published nearly 77,000 classified US military documents on the war in Afghanistan on July 23 and has said it will publish another 15,000 within the next couple of weeks.

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