News / Europe

Swedish Prosecutors Ask for Arrest Warrant for WikiLeaks founder

Founder of the WikiLeaks website, Julian Assange, speaks during a press conference in London, 23 Oct 2010
Founder of the WikiLeaks website, Julian Assange, speaks during a press conference in London, 23 Oct 2010
Jennifer Glasse

Swedish prosecutors are asking for an international arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in connection with rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion allegations. His London-based lawyer says Assange is innocent and had repeatedly offered to cooperate with prosecutors.  

Swedish prosecutors want an international arrest warrant for Australian Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. He is wanted for questioning in connection with rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion allegations.  His London-based lawyer Mark Stephens says Assange has not been charged with anything and called the prosecutors' actions "exceptional and unusual." Stephens says his client offered to testify while in Sweden earlier this year, at the Swedish embassy in London and by phone, videoconference or on paper.

"He has sought to cooperate and assist, he is very keen and anxious to vindicate his name and reputation but the prosecutor has taken a quite exotic course, unique in my 30 years of legal practice," said Stephens.

Stephens says there are avenues of appeal that Assange's Swedish lawyers might pursue.

"He has nothing to hide," he said. "He is innocent and he is very keen to demonstrate that he is innocent because his name has been besmirched across the internet through selective leaking of highly prejudicial material."

Assange has denied the allegations and has called them part of a smear campaign, possibly in retribution for his organization's release of tens of thousands of classified U.S. government  documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Last month here in London Assange described why WikiLeaks posts documents on the internet.

"In our release of our 400,000 documents about the Iraq war, the intimate detail of that war from the U.S. perspective, we hope to correct some of that attack on the truth that occurred before the war, during the war and which has continued on since the war officially concluded," said Assange.

Stephens says he does not know if there is political motivation behind the charges, but that it is clear that Assange has enemies.

"We are aware of course from public statements that over 160 people at the Pentagon are targeting Julian Assange at the moment, an undisclosed number at the National Security Agency,  the NSA  more at GCHQ and other security services around the world," he said.

Stephens says it is a complex case.

"There are more questions about this case than there are answers at this stage," said Stephens.

Assange  does not publicize his whereabouts, and was recently denied residency in Sweden which has strong laws protecting journalists and publishers.  Stephens says Assange lives a discreet life because of the nature of what he does.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid