WikiLeaks figurehead wanted on rape charge, then warrant pulled

Sweden's national prosecutor said Saturday that WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange, an Australian, was wanted on one count of rape and one count of molestation in the Nordic country.

Then, less than a day later, prosecutors pulled the warrant for the rape charge, saying there was insufficient evidence. The status of the molestation case, which wouldn't force a warrant, was not addressed, according to the Associated Press.

WikiLeaks, an international site that is hosted out of Sweden and posts confidential documents, has raised the ire of the White House and many on Capitol Hill by posting more than 70,000 documents related to the Afghanistan war on its site July 25.

Assange had announced a week ago that the 15,000 remaining documents on the Afghanistan war will be published within "two weeks to a month."


Assange is acknowledged as one of the board members and founders of WikiLeaks and acts as its spokesman. There is no official headquarters for the site.

Swedish police said the charges stemmed from two separate cases, and they urged Assange to turn himself in for questioning while issuing a warrant for his arrest. The whereabouts of Assange, a 39-year-old former hacker, were unknown Saturday.

"We were warned to expect 'dirty tricks'. Now we have the first one," WikiLeaks tweeted early Saturday, linking to an article on the allegations in the Swedish tabloid Expressen.

Three hours later, the site posted a statement from Assange on its Twitter feed: "the charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing."

This story has been updated from an earlier version