Swe­den drops some sex­ual mis­con­duct cases against As­sange

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY MATTI HU­UH­TA­NEN

Swedish pros­e­cu­tors on Thurs­day dropped cases of lesser sex­ual mis­con­duct against Wik­iLeaks founder Ju­lian As­sange but said they still want to ques­tion him on ac­cu­sa­tions of rape made af­ter his visit to Stock­holm five years ago.

The Swedish Pros­e­cu­tion Au­thor­ity says it has been un­able to charge the 44-year-old Aus­tralian, who es­caped a Swedish ar­rest war­rant by tak­ing refuge in the Ecuadorean Em­bassy in Lon­don in 2012 be­cause it had not been pos­si­ble to ques­tion him.

Public pros­e­cu­tor Marianne Ny said she has tried to in­ter­view him since au­tumn 2010, but that “he has con­sis­tently re­fused to ap­pear” af­ter leav­ing Swe­den. “I still hope, how­ever, that I will be able to ar­range for an in­ter­view, as there are on­go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Swe­den and Ecuador,” Ny said in a state­ment on the agency’s web­site.

The agency says it was drop­ping a case of sex­ual mo­lesta­tion and one of un­law­ful co­er­cion that ex­pired Thurs­day, and a third case of sex­ual mo­lesta­tion, which would have “time-barred on Aug. 18.” How­ever, As­sange was still wanted for ques­tion­ing on al­le­ga­tions of rape that ex­pire in 2020.

As­sange said in Lon­don that he was “ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed” at the Swedish pros­e­cu­tor’s de­ci­sion to con­tinue an in­ves­ti­ga­tion against him.

“There was no need for any of this. I am an in­no­cent man,” he said in a state­ment, deny­ing he had re­fused to talk to Ny.

“From the be­gin­ning I of­fered sim­ple so­lu­tions. Come to the em­bassy to take my state­ment or prom­ise not to send me to the United States,” he said. “This Swedish of­fi­cial re­fused both. She even re­fused a writ­ten state­ment.”

The ac­cu­sa­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct and rape by two women stem from a 2010 visit to Stock­holm by As­sange who drew crowds to his meet­ings.

Af­ter hav­ing sep­a­rate sex­ual en­coun­ters with him, the women — then in their late 20s and early 30s —went to­gether to the po­lice in Stock­holm and wanted to have As­sange tested for sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­eases.

As­sange was ques­tioned by the po­lice, de­nied al­le­ga­tions of mo­lesta­tion and said he had con­sen­sual sex­ual en­coun­ters with the women. Po­lice passed on the case to the pros­e­cu­tor who or­dered his ar­rest.

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