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Sweden to issue int’l warrant for Assange
“All of these offers have been flatly refused by a prosecutor who is abusing her powers by insisting that he return to Sweden,” Stephens said. He added that the allegations were “false and without basis.”
Court documents filed by the prosecutor show Assange is suspected of raping and sexually molesting a woman in the town of Enkoping, in central Sweden. He’s suspected of sexual molestation and unlawful coercion of the second woman, in Stockholm.
A police report obtained by The Associated Press shows that both women had met Assange in connection with a seminar he gave in Stockholm on Aug. 14. The report shows the women filed their complaints together six days later.
Stephens said the basis of the allegations seems to be a “dispute over consensual, but unprotected sex” days after it occurred.
“Both women have declared that they had consensual sexual relations with our client and that they continued to instigate friendly contact well after the alleged incidents,” he said. “Only after the women became aware of each other’s relationships with Mr. Assange did they make their allegations against him.”
The Swedish rape law is broader than similar laws in many other countries, partly because it covers rape within relationships.
Following a revision in 2005, the threshold for what is considered coercion to a sexual act was lowered, and the definition of rape was widened to include all sexual acts, instead of only intercourse. The change also meant that someone who has sex with an underaged, unconscious, drunk, or sleeping person can be convicted of rape.
“Sweden uses the designation rape in a way no other country uses it,” said lawyer Per E. Samuelsson, a fierce critic of the sex crime law. “Lawmakers have gone one step too far in their eagerness to achieve something with the sex offense law.”
Investigators initially disagreed on how to deal with Assange’s case.
A Stockholm prosecutor opened a rape investigation on Aug. 20, that was dropped by the city’s chief prosecutor a day later. Ny reopened it the following week.
Bjorn Hurtig, a Swedish lawyer who represented Assange at the detention hearing in Stockholm, said he thought the evidence presented by prosecutors was “very meager.”
“It’s not enough to get him convicted for crime,” he said.
Hurtig said he would consider appealing the court order, but that it would require a power of attorney from Assange.
Associated Press Writer Louise Nordstrom in Stockholm contributed to this report.
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