The Truth Will Set You Free .....
LONDON — Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, offered his most detailed and public account on Wednesday of events that led to a rape accusation against him in Sweden, saying he was innocent and had engaged in “consensual and enjoyable sex” with the accuser.
Last month, questions prepared by Swedish prosecutors were posed to Mr. Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy, where he has lived since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over the rape accusation. The questions were asked by an Ecuadorean prosecutor under an agreement made by the two countries in August.
But in a move that is likely to irk Swedish prosecutors, whom Mr. Assange has denounced for forcing him to remain confined in the embassy for the past six years, the WikiLeaks founder on Wednesday released the answers he gave during the interview. In the 19-page statement, which reads alternately like a legal defense brief and an emotional airing of personal grievances, he writes that he is “entirely innocent” and had engaged in “consensual and enjoyable” sex with the woman who accused him of rape.
Karin Rosander, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said Wednesday that the authority was still waiting for a written report on Mr. Assange’s questioning from the Ecuadorean prosecutor.
WikiLeaks has courted controversy by publishing confidential and damaging information from the United States and other countries. During the American presidential election, WikiLeaks came under renewed scrutiny for distributing hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee, and Mr. Assange acknowledged that he was timing their release to do maximum harm to the prospects of Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Assange, 45, an Australian, has refused to go to Sweden to face the rape accusation for fear, he says, of being extradited to the United States and being jailed for life, even though the Swedish authorities have sought to allay such concerns. No formal charges have been filed against him.
In the statement detailing his account of his relationship with his accuser, referred to as “SW,” whom he met in August 2010, Mr. Assange railed against the Swedish authorities, saying that he had been forced to endure “six years of unlawful, politicized detention without charge.”
He said that, as a result of the American government’s aggressive stance toward WikiLeaks, his bank cards were blocked after he arrived in Sweden in 2010, forcing him to depend on the hospitality of others.
During his trip, he said, he met a woman, who “made it very clear that she wanted to have sexual intercourse with me.” After having sex several times that night and the next morning, he says they parted amicably. But several days later she called to say that she was at a hospital and asked him to meet her there to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
Because he was busy dealing with “escalating political and legal threats” from the Pentagon, he said, he agreed to meet her the next day in a nearby park at lunchtime. “You can imagine my disbelief,” he told investigators, “when I woke the next morning to the news that I had been arrested in my absence for ‘rape’ and that the police were ‘hunting’ all over Stockholm for me.”
“I immediately made myself available to Swedish authorities to clarify any questions that might exist, even though I had no obligation to do so,” he said.
In the interview, Mr. Assange criticized the Swedish authorities, saying that despite the fact that the chief prosecutor of Stockholm, Eva Finne, had closed her investigation and said that no crime had been committed, another Swedish prosecutor had reopened an investigation and issued an extradition warrant for his arrest.
Citing a determination by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that the Swedish and British governments had “arbitrarily detained” him since 2010, Mr. Assange said that he had been denied due process and had endured “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.”
In August 2015, prosecutors dropped their investigation into two possible charges — one of unlawful coercion, another of sexual molestation — after running out of time to question Mr. Assange. But he still faces the more serious accusation of rape.