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Assange denied Swedish residence permit

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been denied a residence permit to stay in Sweden, according to the National Migration Board (Migrationsverket).

Assange denied Swedish residence permit

Assange, an Australian citizen, had applied for a residence and work permit in Sweden in August 18th in order to gain status as the legally responsible publisher of the whistle-blower website,

The whistle-blower website has a number of servers based in Sweden and the move would have afforded better protection for WikiLeaks’ sources under Sweden’s press freedom laws.

However, in order to secure legal responsibility as publisher in Sweden, a person must have a residence permit.

“We have made the decision to reject his application. He has received the notice today by email,” Gunilla Wikström, who makes decisions on work permits for the board in Norrköping, told Aftonbladet on Monday.

The board refused to elaborate further on the details of Assange’s case and the investigation is still ongoing.

“There is not much more to say than that we rejected his application,” Wikström told Aftonbladet.

Asked if she could comment on the grounds for refusal, Wikström replied, “No, secrecy prevails in reference to the grounds for such a decision.”

Wikström said Assange was informed of the decision both by email and regular mail. She added that she could not confirm whether he was still in the country.

Assange visited Sweden over the summer to lecture on WikiLeaks’ recent publication of thousands of secret documents from the war in Afghanistan. He then also applied for a Swedish residence permit.

However, the lectures were abruptly overshadowed by media reports of rape and molestation accusations against Assange at the end of August, two days after he had applied for a residence permit. The notification sparked intense media coverage about Assange around the world.

The allegations from two women led duty prosecutor Eva Finné to issue an arrest warrant for Assange. However, head prosecutor Marianne Ny abruptly withdrew the warrant the next day and cancelled the rape charges a few days later, only to see her decision appealed and the rape case reopened by yet another prosecutor.

Assange has admitted that he had met both women in question, who according to their lawyer are both Swedish and aged between 25 and 35.

However, when asked whether he had had sex with either of the women, he refused to answer, saying it was “a private matter.”

Assange is still under investigation in Sweden, but the probe did not bar him from leaving the country.

When contacted by AFP Monday, an Icelandic spokesman for Wikileaks, Kristinn Hrafnsson, refused to reveal Assange’s whereabouts.

His last public appearance was in London, when he spoke publicly at City University on September 30.

Wikileaks is imminently expected to release some 400,000 secret military reports on the US-led Iraq war.

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JULIAN ASSANGE

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer

Julian Assange would cooperate with Swedish authorities if they reopen a rape case against him but will continue to resist any bid to extradite him to the United States, his lawyer said Sunday.

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer
Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson in London on Thursday. Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham/TT

“We are absolutely happy to answer those queries if and when they come up,” Jennifer Robinson told Sky News television about the rape claims.

“The key issue at the moment is US extradition, which we have warned about for many years,” she added.

The WikiLeaks founder is in custody in London awaiting sentencing for breaching his British bail conditions in 2012 by seeking refuge in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.

He was arrested at the embassy on Thursday after Ecuador gave him up, and is now also fighting a US extradition warrant relating to the release by WikiLeaks of a huge cache of official documents.

The Australian has always denied the claims of sexual assault and rape in Sweden. The first expired in 2015 and the other was dropped in 2017, but the alleged rape victim has now asked for the case to be reopened.

If Stockholm makes a formal extradition request, the British government will have to decide whether to consider it before or after that of the United States.

Robinson said Assange would seek assurances from Sweden that he would not be sent on to America, saying: “That is the same assurance we were seeking in 2010 and the refusal to give that is why he sought asylum.”

She added: “He's not above the law. Julian has never been concerned about facing British justice or indeed Swedish justice. This case is and has always been about his concern about being sent to face American injustice.”

The US indictment charges Assange with “conspiracy” for working with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password stored on Department of Defence computers in March 2010.

He faces up to five years in jail.

Manning passed hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, exposing US military wrongdoing in the Iraq war and diplomatic secrets about scores of countries around the world.

The conspiracy charge against Assange seems intended to sidestep limits on prosecution potentially arising from the US Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of press freedom.

But Robinson insisted: “This indictment clearly engages newsgathering activities and the kinds of communications that journalists have with sources all the time.”

The lawyer condemned as “outrageous” claims made by Ecuador about Assange's behaviour in the embassy, including that he smeared his faeces on the wall, saying: “That's not true.”

Quito also accused him of failing to care for his cat. WikiLeaks said Assange had asked his lawyers to “rescue him (the cat) from embassy threats” in October, adding: “They will be reunited in freedom.”

Assange's father, John Shipton, on Sunday urged Australia to bring his son home.

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