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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid