The Allegations Against Assange: Views from Sweden

Most Swedes want the Wikileaks founder to respond to their country's legal inquiries but a vocal few feel Sweden's definitions of rape have gotten too stringent

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Thomas Campean / London News Pictures / ZUMA PRESS

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaking from a balcony at The Ecuador Embassy in London, Aug. 19, 2012.

In a trendy suburb of central Stockholm, young hipsters with thick framed spectacles point to the apartment where Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, allegedly spent an ill-fated week in August 2010. It is the home of one of the women at the center of a diplomatic scandal taking in the unlikely international triumvirate of Britain, Ecuador and Sweden. It is one of the worst kept secrets in Stockholm.

During a speaking trip to the city, Assange  allegedly had a dalliance with the woman — a Wikileaks fan, eager for the rockstar journalist to stay in her apartment during his spell in her country. According to extradition papers filed with British courts, Assange had sex with her in her home, then reportedly went on to have sex with a second woman a few days later. Between them, the pair have accused him of unlawful coercion, sexual molestation, and rape.

(MORE: Defending Assange, Ecuador’s President Kindles a Controversy Over Defining Rape)

With established Swedish media reserve, the women have not been named, though everyone in this Stockholm suburb knows the woman from up the street, and are keen that justice be done. For the residents and commentariat of Stockholm — as natural a Wikileaks hinterland as anywhere in the world — that means making sure Assange comes back to Sweden to be questioned by prosecutors about his alleged offenses.

Assange has publicly said that his appearance in Sweden would precipitate  extradition to the U.S. on charges relating to his publication of leaked cables, to face life imprisonment or even the death penalty. He has accepted political asylum from Ecuador and is now holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

For prickly Swedes, the notion of having to seek such protection from political persecution in Sweden, is like avoiding sharks by jumping in the sea. “It’s totally unacceptable,” says Frank Belfrage, Swedish deputy foreign Minister. The case is about the sexual offenses alleged in Sweden, nothing to do with the U.S., which has anyway not issued any extradition request, he says.

“This case has nothing to do with Wikileaks. It is about two women,” emphasizes Claes Borgstrom, the lawyer representing the pair. Assange’s Ecuadorean adventure is an “absurd abuse” of the asylum system, which piles insult onto the “tragedy” which has been their life for the last two years, he says. The pair have been the subject of innuendo and abuse from Assange supporters and apologists who accuse the women of being part of a U.S.-set-up or of inflating an innocent encounter into non-existent abuse.

(MORE: Assange’s Special Asylum: Why Ecuador Isn’t Nice to Anyone Else)

Swedes are keen not to pre-judge the case, but the affair has forced the country to take a look again at its laws on sexual offenses — particularly rape. According to the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics, Sweden has 53 rapes per 100,000 population — easily the highest number of reported rapes anywhere in Europe. The statistics paint less a picture of predatory Swedish men, and more one of female empowerment and destigmatisatisation of victimhood.

The number of convictions trebled after 2005, when the government widened the threshold for a sexual offense to be considered rape, by lowering the amount of coercion which needs to be involved. Wherever the accusations against Assange fall within the spectrum, Swedish authorities are still unconvinced that the laws are tight enough, and are discussing an amendment which would lower the threshold again. Veteran feminist journalist, Helene Bergman, says the proposals are madness. “Already since 2005, it has been far too easy in Sweden for something to be considered rape,” she says.

Assange’s lawyer Per Samuelsson agrees with the need to think again about Swedish statutes. But he says his client has not committed any sexual offenses even within the range of the laws as they stand. “He has no fear of facing questions about two women,” says Samuelsson, and would happily face an interrogation from the prosecutor, Marianne Ny, provided she came to do it in London.

(MORE: The Gunboat Diplomacy Trap: How Ecuador Used Assange to School the Brits)

“It would not be unusual for a prosecutor to travel overseas,” says Bergman “They do it for offenses all the way up to murder.” In an article co-written with fellow journalist, Anders Carlstrom, for Swedish daily, Dagens Nyheter,  Bergman broke ranks with the vast majority of the Swedish media to claim Ny was sullying the whole Swedish judicial process with her refusal to conduct her interviews in London — accusing the prosecutor of orchestrating a witch hunt against the Wikileaks boss.

Ny has thus far remained unmoved, with officials inside the prosecutors’ office asking how they could have any faith that Assange would return to Sweden if the questions ended up producing an indictment.

Samuelsson says the Wikileaks boss would be on the next plane back to Sweden if he had watertight assurances he would not then be extradited to the U.S.: Assange’s legal team will wait for a guarantee from the Swedish government before deciding whether or not to head to Stockholm for questioning, he says.

To Swedes, that demand looks rather a lot like Sweden, the country, being pushed around by Julian Assange, the journalist. And anyway, says Belfarge, the government is in no position to offer assurances, which — in the hypothetical scenario of a U.S. extradition request — would be in the hands of the courts, anyway.

With the threat receding of Britain breaking diplomatic ties with the Ecuadorean government and storming the embassy, but still committed to arresting the Australian and deporting him to Sweden as soon as he tries to leave, the farcical impasse shows no sign of easing. Assange might as well make himself comfortable. “Yes,”says Samuelsson. “He’ll stay as long as he has to.”

MORE: WikiLeaks Creates Elaborate New York Times Hoax, Fooling Readers
MORE: WikiLeaks To Release Millions of ‘Syria Files’

61 comments
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Erik
Erik

Why would the risk of extradition be larger in Sweden than the U.K?

That is completely unlogical.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

Assange has been given four consecutive legal defeats. Now some want the winner of those cases to succumb to that loser's, Julian Assanges, demands. If he had any sway he would not be hiding behind Correa.

Ickenaiv
Ickenaiv

This is an absurd case but the figures about rape-statistics are facts. Blonde swedish women live dangerously nowadays in Sweden due to massimmigration from the MENA region, Somali and Afghanistan. 70% or so of all rapes in Sweden are committed by foreigners.

carl56
carl56

Belfarge is lying.  The decision would not be in the hands of the court.  The government of Sweden can easily offer assurances that Assange would not be extradited to the US, a country that can no longer be trusted to safeguard prisoners against torture and indefinite detention without trial.  The Swedish government, not the Swedish court, has the final say. That is also true in the US, which routinely harbors dictators and war criminals without even bothering to respond to extradition requests (google Emmanuel Constant, a Haitian death squad leader, or Carriles, a notorious terrorist, or Ferdinand Marcos, or Gonzolo de Lozada, etc etc).  David Allen Green of the New Statesman offered up the same falsehood, which Glen Greenwald unmasked:

"But Green claimed that "[i]t would not be legally possible for

Swedish government to give any guarantee about a future extradition, and

nor would it have any binding effect on the Swedish legal system in the

event of a future extradition request." He said that this is so in part

because "any final word on an extradition would (quite properly) be

with an independent Swedish court, and not the government giving the

purported 'guarantee'." He then cited a British lawyer (notably, not a

Swedish one) who made the same claim:

"[I]t

appears that if the extradition is contested as it would be in

Assange's case then it is a matter for the court not the government to

decide if he is extradited."

"This is completely and

unquestionably false. It is simply untrue that it is Swedish courts,

rather than the Swedish government, who are the final decision-makers in

extradition requests. It is equally untrue that the Swedish government

has no final decision-making power regarding extradition requests that

are legally sanctioned by the Swedish judiciary. These are not matters

for reasonable debate. The law is clear. Green's claim is false."

The author of this article should make it clear that Belfarge's assertion wilts under legal scrutiny: it's just plain false, and he knows it.

notsosincerelyme
notsosincerelyme

The prosecutor should just travel to London to interview Assange. What can possibly

be more important than saving her country from making a guarantee it can’t

insure? And did it bother anyone else that the author is blatantly bias? Why

does the statistics paint less a picture of predatory Swedish men, and more one

of female empowerment and “destigmatisatisation” of victimhood to him?

Certainty, he doesn’t have facts to say that Sweden doesn’t have the highest

number of predators relative to other European countries. When coming to conclusions,

the author shouldn’t focus on contributing causes as the main cause. What it portrays

is the author’s willingness to only hold responsible the statutes that advocate

reporting and protection rather than the actual rapes being committed along

with the statutes for the high statistics.

Gary McCray
Gary McCray

Nonsense, Sweden had already decided not to pursue prosecution in this case until the US became involved in it.

We requested (coerced) Sweden into pursuing this case and the minute that Assange sets foot in Sweden you can be damn sure our government will request his extradition.

Assange didn't endanger ongoing operations, he embarrassed our government by revealing all our criminal back room dealings and lies.

Assange's culpability is no where near as important as the fact this is a witch hunt by the US with it's toadies the UK and Sweden.

We are truly the guilty party.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

Making things up does not amount to proof.

Suzie Siegel
Suzie Siegel

Mark Lewis didn't need to go to Stockholm for this story, which just rehashes what we know already. Did he just make some phone calls from London?

dubium
dubium

Mark Lewis, most swedes do not want Assange moved here, nor are most of us "young hipsters with thick framed spectacles" who lives "in a trendy suburb of central Stockholm."

These are our rulers, a minority of idiots (journalists, politicians, hipsters) which most swedes do not even like and we do not care about any of all the shit they are doing, Assange or whatever. Bleep him and bleep them. Bleep them all. This has nothing to do with real swedes or our view on things. Just as America is WAAY bigger than the just the liberals of New York and Los Angeles. They just make the most noise.Just wanted to say that. Assange is maybe, only interesting as an example of political hypocrisy and doublestandards.

Tommy_Funebo
Tommy_Funebo

I don't know of any polls indicating that extraditing Assange has any popular support in Sweden. My guess is that most people would respond "meh...", but asked that other question a wide majority would also urge gov't officials to travel to London for an interview - in lieu of incurring the wrath of Michael Moore and Oliver Stone upon us.

kms123
kms123

I agree with the views of  Helene Bergman who says  “Already since 2005, it has been far too easy in Sweden for something to be considered rape” . It appears from what I have read about the case so far it appears that it is all about politics. Sweden could have given Assage the guarantee that he was asking for to come to Sweden to face the prosecution or alternatively sent the prosecutors to London to question him there.

allahhhhhhh
allahhhhhhh

What would people say if it came out that Mitt Romney was having sex with a

woman using a  condom, the condom broke, and the woman told Mitt to

stop. Mitt held the woman down against her will to finish having sex

with her. The woman was concerned that she could have HIV so wanted him

to get tested. In doing so, she found out that Mitt had sex with another

woman a few days later. This time Mitt used a condom, but the next

morning while the woman was still passed out he had sex with her again

without a condom, and she didn't even know about it.

Would that make people feel less about Mitt Romney?

Would they just say that the rape charges "must have been made up and

false" just because they came out when Mitt was running for president?

yunsikshin
yunsikshin

If the issue is about the two women, then why don't the Swedish government give Assange a guarantee that he won't get expedited to the U.S.

A guarantee doesn't cost the Swedish government anything, and it will solve the problem in Britain, Sweden and for Assange.

And yet, they refuse to and they claim this is all about the two women. People are not dumb, everyone is well aware of these governmental tactics. Time magazine is a disgrace for foolin the American population.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

Each extradition request must be judge on its merits. No blanket request can be given, and Assange knows this.

Historianted
Historianted

He is a terrorist and a rapist.  Execute him.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

The conversation is about Julian Assange.

Historianted
Historianted

I am very well aware of that.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

Assange only wishes he was a terrorist, and has yet to be convicted again of any crime. He is however a hypocrite and a coward.

jimbojamesiv
jimbojamesiv

I highly doubt that any sophisticated Swede supports the rape claims or that Assange should be returned to Sweden. I could be wrong, but I'm no smarter than any true Swede, and I'm aware of how awful those Swedes who support the prosecution make all of Sweden look to the rest of the sane world.

allahhhhhhh
allahhhhhhh

Yea you are right, any sane person wouldn't have a problem holding a woman down after she asked for him to get off because his condom was broken.

I mean yea, what sane person would think a woman should be allowed to say no even it was mid sex and after the circumstances of safe sex changed half way?

No sane person would ever think it is wrong to have sex with a woman when she was still passed out asleep either. Especially after she was ok with safe sex the night before, that just means you can have sex without a condom on the next morning when she doesn't even know its happening! Frickin stupid women thinking that they need to be awake to say its ok to have sex with her..

What a bunch of stupid jealous women, there is no possible way they could be have been raped!

Based on a couple of news articles I KNOW that Assange is a good person and these charges must be made up!

There is no need for a real judicial system when the court of public opinion is always right!

Anon777777
Anon777777

Half truths and falsehoods!

The emotional appeal is slowly being peeled away by the facts.

I don't rely on my intuition. I did research. If you did research, you would find what I have found: the sexual allegations are a hoax, and one that was planned in advace.

allahhhhhhh
allahhhhhhh

 Proof? Sources? Other then a anarchist hacker website?

Proof that 100% shows there is absolutely no need for a trial at all?

Ahra Ah
Ahra Ah

the daily mail published a photo of julian assange together with a few other people including the woman who claimed to have been raped by assange, photo was taken a few days after the alleged rape ,they are all smiling except assange. 

it is hard to believe that the woman in question was so happy in the photo days after the alleged rape and even considered to appear in a photo with the alleged rapist !

needless to say that,the photo together with the article disappeared within a short period from daily mail website. 

j_600
j_600

Yes the sex related allegations against Assange don't stand up to scrutiny.

Research by an Australian current affairs show "Four Corners" has some value as it pieces together key events after the arrival of Assange in Sweden in 2010. The evidence suggests that the allegations against Assange are deeply flawed. Political motivations without a doubt figured into it.

Assange's relations with the women he stayed with were consensual. His first female host betrayed not the slightest sign of reluctance to have Assange continue to stay with her. Days after the alleged incident she even hosted a crayfish party with Assange and associates in attendance and tweeted a friend with glowing comments about the event and her happiness to be a part of it.

It was after Assange went to stay with the second woman, that the two females began to exchange emails. Reportedly they went to the police to try compel Assange to take a sex health test. The second woman involved was shocked when police spoke of an arrest and charges, and refused to sign or give more testimony. The same night a Swedish prosecutor issued a warrant for Assange's arrest.

The political angle is very real. Sweden's rep for "neutrality" is in certain respects little more than a legend. WikiLeaks cables exposed extensive cooperation of Swedish authorities with NATO. According to a John Pilger article in the New Statesman, the Swedes have also "consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters of civil rights."

Anon777777
Anon777777

You have an important detail wrong.

Anna Ardin recruited Sofia Wilen prior to the press conference. the two women communicated by email before the press conference. Wilen is not a journalist, but she was admitted to the press conference by Wilen even though she had not made a reservation.

She introduced Wilen to Assange. She arranged for Wilen to come to a luncheon  after the press conference.

Wilen would have had NO opportunity to invite Assange back to her place for sex if Ardin had not fixed her up with Assange. The two women were in contact with each other before, during and after the time of the alleged sexual offenses.

This is just part of the evidence that Ardin set the whole thing up in advance.

Anon777777
Anon777777

There is more evidence that the sexual allegations are a hoax.

A LOT more. Keep looking.

Kyle James Brockschmidt
Kyle James Brockschmidt

I think instead of making him appear to be a 'legitimate' (sighl) rapist and how he is avoiding prosecution in a long chunk, it would be better to list what some people are saying vs. how what they're saying is bullshit.

For example: 

For prickly Swedes, the notion of having to seek such protection from political persecution in Sweden, is like avoiding sharks by jumping in the sea. “It’s totally unacceptable,” says Frank Belfrage, Swedish deputy foreign Minister. The case is about the sexual offenses alleged in Sweden, nothing to do with the U.S., which has anyway not issued any extradition request, he says.

Should be followed by: 

Samuelsson says the Wikileaks boss would be on the next plane back to Sweden if he had watertight assurances he would not then be extradited to the U.S

.

Nathan_123
Nathan_123

Does this count as "illegitimate" rape? 

Jo8
Jo8

In a day and age that has the ability to acquire proof positive using DNA testing I simply don't believe women anymore who claim rape when they had the ability to leave the "scene" and go directly to the police or a hospital but wait for days or weeks or weeks to make their claims.  The ability to use the claim of rape to hold men up for money or ruin their lives for a variety of reasons including political puposes don't wring any sympathy from me.

allahhhhhhh
allahhhhhhh

Look up why women don't always report they are raped. There is huge emotional trauma involved which can take quite some time to come to terms with. 

Possibly, it takes a long time to process a sex crime, some women

just want to get over it and get their life back on track and don't want

to be in the midst of a legal hearing for years.

Or maybe they don't want to be dragged through the mud by the court of public opinion by people like you who read a news article and think they know everything that happened to them.

There are tons and tons of reasons why women don't always report they are raped.

For you to be able to say that every woman that reports a rape a few says later is doing it for money or political purposes is just plain ridiculous.

Anon777777
Anon777777

http://justice4assange.com/

Google Anna Ardin

Flashback.org began discrediting this sexual allegation hoax on August 25th 2010. Since then, all kinds of evidence has emerged about the case, from people who know. You could get acquainted with google translate and find even more from blogs, newspapers and other sources written in Swedish.

Also recommended: Google "Rixstep Anna Ardin"

Even the frame which you repeat about Ardin being some kind of groupie was orchestrated by Ardin herself.

You can't even begin to understand this hoax and how it was masterfully orchestrated until you have a lot more information.

allahhhhhhh
allahhhhhhh

 HEY I GOOGLE ANNA HARDIN, HERE IS WHAT I FOUND:

Verbatim from her testimony:

Then they lay in the bed. Anna was on her back and Assange was on top of

her. Anna thought Assange wanted to immediately put his pnis in her

vgina which she didn't want as he didn't have a condom on. So she tried

to twist her hips to the side and squeeze her legs together to prevent a

penetration. Anna tried several times to reach for a condom which

Assange stopped her from doing by holding her arms and prying open her

legs and trying nevertheless to penetrate her with his pnis without a

condom. Anna says that in the end she was ready to cry because she was

pinned and couldn't reach a condom and thought 'this might not end

well'. In answer to a question Anna says Assange must have known she was

trying to reach for a condom and he was holding her arms to stop her.

Assange asked after a while what Anna was doing and why she was

squeezing her legs together. Anna then told him she wanted him to put on

a condom before he entered her. Assange released her arms and put on

the condom Anna got for him. Anna felt a huge unexpressed reluctance

from Assange to using a condom which led to her getting the feeling he

didn't put on the condom she'd given him. She therefore reached down

with her hand to Assange's pnis to check if he'd really put the condom

on. She could feel that the edge of the condom was where it should be at

the root of Assange's pnis. Anna and Assange resumed having sex and

Anna says she thought 'hope it's over soon'.

Anna notices after a while that Assange withdraws from her to fix the

condom. Judging from the sound, it sounded to Anna like Assange took the

condom off. He entered her again and continued the act. Anna again

checked his pnis with her hand and again felt the edge of the condom

where it should be and so let the sex continue.

After a while Assange ejculates inside her and thereafter withdraws.

Anna saw that the condom didn't have s3men in it when Assange took it

off. When Anna began moving her body she noticed how things were running

out of her vgina. Anna understood rather quickly that it must be

Assange's s3men. She pointed this out for Assange but he denied this and

told her it was she who was wet with her own juices. Anna is convinced

that Assange, when he withdrew from her the first time, deliberately

broken the condom at the tip and thereafter continued the sex with the

resulting ej4culation.

SEEMS PERFECTLY INNOCENT RIGHT???

Anon777777
Anon777777

Keep reading. You will find all of  the testimony by all of the witnesses, and you will proof that Sofia Wilen's testimony is falsified.

BTW, the testimony you cite above was the case that was thrown out the next day.

allahhhhhhh
allahhhhhhh

Then reopened a short time after an appeal, and an arrest warrant was issued. Funny how appeals work..

GrandpaTarkin
GrandpaTarkin

 Flashback is an anarchist site associated with 4Chan and Anonymous, and as hopefully everyone has noticed by now, Anonymous is Assange's private army.

jimbojamesiv
jimbojamesiv

Lofl.

There are various times during my travels on the Internets that I'd really like to know more about someone, and you are one of them. How could you have become who you are? That's my question.

I'm not even certain that you're American, but most likely you're former military. I bet you're a Republican or whatever synonymous term you choose to apply. Heck, I bet you're a teatard. That, or you're one of the 20%.

GrandpaTarkin
GrandpaTarkin

Yeah, former military. No, not a teacake.

I don't need to ask about you or Anon7777 - you're kids who fancy yourself members of Anon, and don't even realize you're conscripts in Assanges private army, fighting to help him avoid spending two years in a Swedish prison for rape.

allahhhhhhh
allahhhhhhh

Guess the same way you have become a supporter of a man who holds women down during sex after they say no because his condom broke.

Anon777777
Anon777777

Mark Lewis, you did ZERO research. I found out more info in 20 minutes than you give in this piece of crap article. I take it they sent you to Sweden? Did you have a nice trip? Time wasted the money they pay you.

GrandpaTarkin
GrandpaTarkin

No, you found an anarchist forum dedicated to defending Assange and blindly believed what you read there.

J Villain
J Villain

To be clear both women agreed to have sex with him and one agreed to have sex with him again the night after she was supposedly raped.  

allahhhhhhh
allahhhhhhh

 You do know that the 2nd woman accused him of having sex with her without a condom and without her knowledge because she was still passed out asleep?

Just because a woman allows you to have safe sex with her the night before, doesn't mean that it is ok to have sex without a condom with her the next day when she is still asleep and doesn't realize it is happening.

Anon777777
Anon777777

You do know that Sofia Wilen never signed a statement or a complaint and that her testimony has been falsified, right?

Molly_Rn
Molly_Rn

Were you there? How do you know this for fact?

Anon777777
Anon777777

The sexual allegations are a hoax. There is a mountain of evidence waiting fr you if you just keep looking. The best place to start is the "justice4assange" website, and then google "Anna Ardin" and read everything you can find.

Only by reading many sources can you piece together the timeline, and some of it is available only in Swedish.

If you read the sources and put together the timeline, there is one inescapable conclusion: Anna Ardin planned the whole thing in advance. She recruited the other woman, Sofia Wilen, in advance. She arranged for Assange's trip to Sweden, months in advance. She arranged to have him stay in her flat, weeks in advance. She claimed she was going to be away, and then she showed up there and seduced him.

I know you are probably relying on the mainstream press if you don't know these things.

If you care, look deeper.

Molly_Rn
Molly_Rn

Here's my problem with this. There is a lot of BS on the

web. I live in America where Paul Ryan can gripe and groan about the US dept.

which he helped create by voting for all of the Bush Administration excesses

and now he claims it is all Obamas fault. Ryan and Romney are flat out liars

but you have to know where to look to find the truth (like the Congressional

Record.) Finding the truth can be difficult. I must admit I don't care about

Julian, but I am most distressed by the way Bradley Manning is being held

illegally. He is the really brave one.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

Out of a crackerjack box. Some people think 3 "consensual" act transforms 1 "non consensual" act into "consensual."

Molly_Rn
Molly_Rn

I have no idea what happened and don't care to specuate. It is a matter for the courts.

Jeffrey Geez Glavick
Jeffrey Geez Glavick

J Villain knows just like you know the rape story is "fact", opinions and nothing more, opinions based on one's personal prejudices.

Anon777777
Anon777777

Nobody but Anna Ardin and Julian Assange know for certain what took place that night.

However, knowing the circumstances both before and after, from Aug 10 to Sep 1 2010, leads to one inescapable conclusion: Anna Ardin planned it in advance. If you read the available info and reach that conclusion, then the weak case against Assange and the bizarre and disproportionate actions by the  Swedish govt are in a whole different light.

Molly_Rn
Molly_Rn

Difficult to decipher your sentence. Why I was asking is

that there has been no trial so we really don't know what happened. It could be

a rape was committed and it could be that it was consensual. People seem so

quick to judge and to use comments and opinions as facts.