As­sange rape charge ‘not po­lit­i­cal’: Swe­den

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

STOCK­HOLM: A Swedish pros­e­cu­tor han­dling rape al­le­ga­tions against Wik­iLeaks founder Ju­lian As­sange has dis­missed sug­ges­tions from one of his lawyers that the case might be po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

And as fresh leaks of US diplo­matic ca­bles heaped more em­bar­rass­ment on Washington, one re­port sug­gested that the rev­e­la­tions would force a ma­jor reshuf­fle of their diplo­matic, mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence staff.

Swedish pros­e­cu­tor Mar­i­anne Ny, who is han­dling the rape al­le­ga­tions in Swe­den, de­fended the pur­suit of the case in com­ments to AFP on Sun­day. "This in­ves­ti­ga­tion has pro­ceeded per­fectly nor­mally with­out any po­lit­i­cal pres­sure of any kind," pros­e­cu­tor Mar­i­anne Ny said.

"It is com­pletely in­de­pen­dent," she added.

It was Ny who suc­cess­fully ap­plied for the In­ter­pol Red No­tice against As­sange, in­di­cat­ing that he was wanted for ques­tion­ing over the al­le­ga­tions of rape and sex­ual as­sault against two women in Swe­den.

Ear­lier Sun­day, As­sange's Bri­tish lawyer, Mark Stephens, had expressed con­cern that the pur­suit of As­sange had "po­lit­i­cal mo­ti­va­tions", in com­ments to the BBC.

But Ny said: "I can very clearly say no, there is noth­ing at all of that na­ture."

Stephens, in his com­ments, also warned that Wik­iLeaks had se­cret ma­te­rial in re­serve, which he likened to a "ther­monu­clear de­vice", to be re­leased if it needed to pro­tect it­self.

While it is not clear what this might be, Wik­iLeaks has al­ready said it plans to re­lease tens of thou­sands of files ex­pos­ing abu­sive prac­tices in US fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions.

Wik­iLeaks has been in the eye of a me­dia and diplo­matic storm since it started leak­ing US diplo­matic ca­bles from a col­lec­tion of some 250,000 it had ob­tained, em­bar­rass­ing and in­fu­ri­at­ing Washington.

As­sange, a 39-year-old Aus­tralian, who is be­lieved to be in Bri­tain, broke cover on Fri­day to say in an on­line chat that he had boosted se­cu­rity af­ter re­ceiv­ing death threats.

Wik­iLeaks says 831 ca­bles have been posted to its site so far. Among the lat­est rev­e­la­tions was one doc­u­ment that said Saudi Ara­bia was the key source of fund­ing for rad­i­cal Is­lamist groups in­clud­ing AlQaeda, the Tal­iban, Lashkar-eTaiba and Ha­mas.

Gulf states Qatar and Kuwait were also lax in pur­su­ing lo­cals who do­nated to the groups, said the cable, an as­sess­ment from US Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton dated De­cem­ber 30, 2009.

Aus­tria's de­fence min­is­ter on Sun­day expressed his an­noy­ance at leaked US ca­bles com­plain­ing about his govern­ment and its "lack of in­ter­est in for­eign pol­icy". -Afp

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.