‘Dirty Tricks’ Rape Warrant Against WikiLeaks’ Assange Pulled
August 21, 2010
(ChattahBox)— The Swedish arrest warrant against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for rape has been pulled by authorities, just hours after it was issued in absentia. The warrant was for one charge of rape and one of molestation, based on the complaints of two unidentified women. But a prosecutor later decided, the rape charges were unfounded and withdrew the arrest warrant that Assange, called a “dirty trick,” posting on his Twitter account, “The charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing.” The molestation allegation remains, but is not by itself, a charge serious enough to support an arrest warrant.
The former hacker and citizen of Australia has been in Sweden to secure a publishing certificate in advance of his next leak of secret Pentagon documents on military operations in Afghanistan.
According to MSNBC’s report, the warrant, issued Friday, was canceled after it was reviewed by the chief prosecutor.
“I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape,” chief prosecutor Eva Finne said, in announcing the withdrawal of the warrant. She did not address the status of the molestation case, a less serious charge that would not lead to an arrest warrant.
After the arrest warrant for rape and molestation became publicized, Assange and his WikiLeaks crew pushed back against the charges on Twitter and the whistleblower group’s website, calling it a “dirty tricks” campaign:
“Expressen is a tabloid; No one here has been contacted by Swedish police. Needless to say, this will prove hugely distracting.”
“We were warned to expect ‘dirty tricks’. Now we have the first one.”
A message was also posted on WikiLeaks’ blog, saying the group is “deeply concerned about the seriousness of these allegations. We the people behind Wikileaks think highly of Julian and and he has our full support.”
WikiLeaks is described on its website as a secretive whistleblower group, nearly impossible to stop.
“Our network also collects materials in person and from postal drops. We also run a network of lawyers and others to defend our work and our sources. WikiLeaks information is distributed across many jurisdictions, organizations and individuals. Once a document published it is essentially impossible to censor.”
Assange and his group have come under increasing criticism for leaking over 77,000 secret Pentagon documents detailing the U.S. military’s operation in Afghanistan. Pentagon officials have accused the Australian WikiLeaks founder of placing soldiers and informants in harms away, with the release of sensitive documents.
Assange recently announced he plans to release an additional 15,000 sensitive Pentagon documents in a couple of weeks.