WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Releases Statement He Gave Prosecutors In Possible Rape Investigation

PA Wire/Press Association Images
Views

LONDON (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday released a statement given to prosecutors in which he asserts he did not commit any crimes when he had sex with a woman in Sweden six years ago.

He says he did not have intercourse with a woman while she was asleep. That allegation is at the heart of an ongoing Swedish investigation into a possible rape.

Swedish prosecutors have not charged Assange with any crime. Swedish officials say they are waiting for a written report from Ecuadorean prosecutors who interviewed Assange last month before deciding whether to charge Assange. The interview took place at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where Assange sought refuge more than four years ago.

Ann Oberg, a spokeswoman with the Swedish prosecutors’ office, said prosecutors will not provide further information on the case.

“We are waiting for the transcript of the interview,” she said.

It will be up to Swedish prosecutors to decide whether to move the case forward or drop it without charging Assange.

The case has been complicated by Assange’s fear that if he goes to Sweden, he faces extradition to the United States to answer possible criminal charges related to WikiLeaks’ role in the release of classified documents.

It is not clear if he faces a secret grand jury indictment in the United States.

His lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Assange plans to remain inside the Ecuadorean Embassy — even if the Swedish prosecutors announce he will not be charged — until there are assurances he will not face charges in the United States.

She said the statement made public Wednesday was read to Ecuadorean officials when Assange was questioned, in the presence of Swedish prosecutors, at the embassy in mid-November.

In the statement, Assange described his sexual relations with the woman in question as consensual. He says the two had consensual sex several times and that he is “certain” she was not asleep at the time in question.

“I was also certain she expressly consented to unprotected sex before such intercourse started,” he said.

Under Swedish law, having sex with a woman who is asleep can be considered rape, so the questions of whether the woman was asleep, and whether she agreed to having sex without a condom, are vital.

___

Karl Ritter in Stockholm contributed.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK