Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has spoken publicly about allegations he raped a woman in Sweden in 2010, releasing a statement and documents and claiming he is "entirely innocent".
Assange, an Australian citizen, has been accused -- but not charged -- of non-consensual sex with a Swedish woman. He has been fighting police requests that he be extradited to Sweden, claiming the investigation was politically motivated due to his Wikileaks organisation exposing numerous scandals around the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and publishing classified diplomatic cables. Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012, after seeking asylum to prevent him being taken back to Sweden.
Wikileaks claims Assange has been "detained" for six years, starting with his arrest in London in December 2010 and continuing through legal processes and his asylum at the embassy. A United Nations working group ruled in February that he had been arbitrarily detained by the United Kingdom and Sweden since his arrest, and called on the countries to end his "deprivation of liberty". To mark the six years, Assange on Tuesday released a statement and other documents he had provided to a Swedish prosecutor several weeks ago -- the first time, Assange claims, he had been formally questioned over the rape claims.
In the 19-page statement, released on the website Justice4Assange.com, Assange lists text messages he claims are from the woman involved in the rape claims, known as SW. Assange says he met the woman while he was in Sweden giving a talk, and they later went to a hotel and had sex several times. Later, he said SW asked him to take a test for sexually transmitted infections, and when he said he was busy, Assange claims SW said she would go to the police.
"I agreed to take the test out of goodwill and to reassure her, although I told her I could not do it until the following day, Saturday. We were in agreement and arranged to meet the following day in the nearby park around lunchtime when I would have time to get tested," Assange wrote.
"You can imagine my disbelief when I woke the next morning to the news that I had been arrested in my absence for "rape" and that police were "hunting" all over Stockholm for me."
Assange said that the Swedish prosecutors' claims that SW had been asleep during part of their sexual intercourse was also untrue.
"I am entirely innocent. I was already cleared of exactly this allegation in 2010 by the Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm, Eva Finne, who closed the case," Assange wrote.
"During the height of the Pentagon's conflict with me the following month, the allegation was resurrected by the current prosecutor, Marianne Ny. It was immediately seized on to extinguish my freedom of movement and harm my reputation."
He claimed his Swedish lawyer was excluded from the two days of questioning by Swedish authorities last month, "yet another breach of my basic rights."
"I am now releasing my statement to the public. The reason is simple. I want people to know the truth about how abusive this process has been," Assange wrote.
"Furthermore, in the past the prosecution has fed partial information to tabloids that politically oppose me. It is better that my statement, which I am happy with, and which makes it obvious to all that I am innocent, sees the light in full."
Assange's mother, Christine, told SBS News on Wednesday that her son was innocent.
"I'm angry, I'm sad, I'm grieving, but I'm also fighting," she told SBS News.
"This has been difficult for Julian's family, but we all support him because he's done nothing wrong.
"But he will fight to the last breath."Suggest a correction