Swedish Police Report Details Case Against Assange
By John F. Burns and Ravi Somalya
Published: December 18, 2010
LONDON — Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who was released from a British jail late last week, is facing a new challenge: the leak of a 68-page confidential Swedish police report that sheds new light on the allegations of sexual misconduct that led to Mr. Assange’s legal troubles. The Swedish report traces events over a four-day period in August when Mr. Assange had what he has described as consensual sexual relationships with two Swedish women. Their accounts, which form the basis of an extradition case against Mr. Assange, state that their encounters with him began consensually, but became nonconsensual when he persisted in having unprotected sex with them in defiance of their insistence that he use a condom.
The Swedish document traces the accounts given by the two women of their intimate encounters with Mr. Assange. As previously reported, both women say that Mr. Assange first agreed to use a condom and then refused, in the first instance by continuing with sex after the condom broke, and in the second by having sex without using a condom with a woman who was asleep. Mr. Assange’s suspicions of political interference in the case were confirmed, he has said in recent days, by the decision of the Swedish prosecutors to drop the initial arrest warrant, and to downgrade the investigation to one of “molestation,” a minor offense. Those decisions were reversed in late August when the chief state prosecutor, Marianne Ny, overruling a subordinate prosecutor in Stockholm, Eva Finne, restored the original allegations, saying that rape was the appropriate charge for the evidence on file with the prosecutors.
Legal experts in Sweden have said that the decision was not unusual given the success that the women’s movement in Sweden has had over the last 30 years in recasting Sweden’s criminal laws on sexual issues, making them extremely protective of women’s rights. In an interview in Stockholm, plaintif's lawyer Claes Borgstrom said it was common under Sweden’s rape laws for men who force sex on women without a condom to face prosecution. “It’s a violation of sexual integrity, and it can be seen as rape,” he said.