Illustration by Jason Reed

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange releases full testimony in Swedish rape investigation

The WikiLeaks founder maintains his innocence.

Feb 28, 2020, 7:22 pm*

Tech

 

David Gilmour

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has published the full statement and answers he read out to Swedish investigators last month when he was questioned at the the Ecuadorian embassy in London over rape and sexual assault allegations from 2010.

Throughout his official statement to authorities, Assange maintained that he is “entirely innocent” of sexual misconduct and, for the first time, publicly details his version of events.

Assange opens with an introductory paragraph in which he condemns being subjected to what he calls “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” saying he has been “denied … effective legal representation in this process … [although he feels] compelled to cooperate.”

The testimony itself comprehensively describes what Assange calls “clearly consensual sex between adults.”

Referring to the woman as SW, Assange claims that over the course of the evening of Aug. 16, 2010, the pair engaged in “consensual sexual intercourse on several occasions” at SW’s home after meeting her at a speaking engagement in Stockholm that day. Emphasizing that “SW made it very clear that she wanted to have sexual intercourse with [him],” Assange conveys a mutuality to the intimacy.

“Her words, her expressions and her physical reactions made it clear to me that she encouraged and enjoyed our interactions,” the testimony reads.

Through reference to text message correspondence between SW and her friend in the days prior and following their time together, Assange seeks to “clearly show” that the woman merely sought advice from the police on STD testing and was convinced into selling her story to Swedish tabloid for money.

He quotes messages in which SW writes that she “did not want to accuse” him “for anything,” and that it was the “police who made up the charges (sic),” as well as that “the police were keen on getting their hands on him”.

Assange’s decision to publish the intimate details of his relationship with SW has been criticized as “unfortunate” by her lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz, according to the Guardian, and is not likely to be received well by the Swedish prosecution.

The 19-page statement makes a point throughout to address and attack the handling of the case by authorities, who until recently refused to receive his testimony in London or via video-link. Assange questions whether the ordeal surrounding the interview process was “simply a ruse” to have him leave the safety of the embassy, where he has resided for over four and a half years, that would result in his eventual extradition to the United States.

Earlier in the year, a United Nations Working Group ruled that Assange was being held in “arbitrary detention” and should be compensated. Just this week, the UNWGAD rejected the U.K.’s appeal of its decision.

In a cover letter that accompanies the published testimony, Assange explains his motive in publishing his account: “I am now releasing my statement to the public. The reason is simple. I want people to know the truth about how abusive this process has been.”

“Furthermore, in the past, the prosecution has fed partial information to tabloids that politically oppose me,” he continues in reference to SW’s police interview transcripts leaked to the press in 2010.

“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.”

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*First Published: Dec 7, 2016, 1:12 pm