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Assange publishes statement given to prosecutor on rape allegation

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Assange publishes statement given to prosecutor on rape allegation
Julian Assange pictured at the Ecuadoran embassy in London earlier this year. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
12:42 CET+01:00
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has published the answers he gave to an Ecuadoran prosecutor during questioning at the country's embassy in London in November over a longstanding Swedish rape allegation.

In a letter accompanying the statement, Assange explained that he had decided to publish his answers because he wants “people to know the truth about how abusive this process has been”, and also claimed that the prosecution leaked information to tabloids which “politically oppose” him.

“It is better that my statement, which I am happy with, and which makes it obvious to all that I am innocent, sees the light in full,” he wrote.

In his statement, detailed in a 19 page document, Assange insists he has been “subjected to six years of unlawful, politicized detention without charge in prison”, in reference to his stay at Ecuador's embassy in the British capital which began in June 2012 when he fled allegations of rape and sexual assault in Sweden.

Assange goes into detail about his version of an encounter with a woman who made rape allegations against him in 2010. He also expands on his opinion that travelling to Sweden would have meant risking extradition to the US. His whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has leaked classified documents and diplomatic cables from Washington.

Swedish prosecutors dropped a separate sexual assault probe into Assange in 2015 as its five-year statute of limitations expired, but the 2010 rape allegation carries a ten-year statute of limitations.

The release of the details of Assange's questioning on the rape allegation flies in the face of the Swedish prosecutor's office, who recently said it would not provide immediate results of the questioning as the matter is “subject to confidentiality”.

Assange has always denied the claims against him, saying the sexual encounters were consensual. In the statement released today, he claims that the woman in question “made it very clear that she wanted to have sexual intercourse”.

The woman's lawyer responded later on Wednesday that Assange "seemed desperate", however.

“The only thing I can say is that Assange has low credibility, and we will prove that when prosecution arises," Elisabeth Massi Fritz told Swedish news agency TT.

Last week the WikiLeaks founder demanded that he should be “set free” by the UK and Sweden after a UN panel rejected Britain's request to review a ruling he was being arbitrarily detained, first issued in favour of him by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in February. 

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