Assange releases 19-page statement denying rape allegations

Assange releases 19-page statement denying rape allegations
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday defied Swedish authorities and released a 19-page statement in response to rape allegations, adding a new bizarre twist to his six-year saga.

Assange claimed to have previously provided the statement to Swedish investigators during an interview last month at Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he has lived throughout the ordeal.

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His firm public denial is the most thorough account he has given in response to the Swedish rape allegations.

The statement is likely to rile Swedish officials who have publicly pushed for secrecy on the matter. It may also serve as a rallying cry for the anti-secrecy advocate’s supporters, who have framed him as the target of an international smear campaign.

“I want people to know the truth about how abusive this process has been,” Assange wrote in a preamble to his statement, which was published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“Furthermore, in the past the prosecution has fed partial information to tabloids that politically oppose me,” he added. “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.”

In the statement, Assange insists that sex with the woman identified only as SW, whom he met while giving a speech in Stockholm, was “clearly consensual sex between adults.” He depicts her as an overzealous fan who did not intend to accuse him of rape, but was later goaded to market the story for publicity after police had acted.

Assange quotes text messages of the woman that he says his lawyers were able to review at a Swedish police station, which appear to back up his claims.

“I am entirely innocent,” he claimed.

Assange is the subject of a preliminary investigation and has not been charged with a crime.

For the last six years, he has avoided extradition to Sweden by staying within the confines of Ecuador’s British embassy.

Assange has claimed that the rape investigation is a veil for a much more serious, as yet unpublic legal case against him from the U.S. He claims that if he attempted to go to Sweden to respond to the allegations, he would be extradited to the U.S. to face espionage charges.