Sweden drops rape arrest warrant against Wikileaks founder | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 22.08.2010
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Sweden drops rape arrest warrant against Wikileaks founder

Swedish prosecutors have withdrawn an arrest warrant for rape against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Supporters say a dirty tricks campaign is underway after the publication of classified documents.

Julian Assange

Some say 'dirty tricks' are being used against Assange

Authorities in Sweden withdrew the arrest warrant over alleged rape for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange the day after it was issued.

German soldiers in Afghanistan

The Pentagon warns that Wikileaks data could endanger soldiers in Afghanistan

"As far as I am concerned there are no longer any grounds to suspect that he committed rape," Chief Prosecutor Eva Finne said on Saturday, August 21.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority said that Assange was still being investigated on suspicion of molestation, but that he was no longer wanted by police.

The whistle-blowing website Wikileaks came to prominence in July after publishing thousands of classified documents about the war in Afghanistan. The Pentagon was enraged, saying that the information could put soldiers and their Afghan helpers in danger.

The German ISAF military official General Brigadier Josef Blotz called the Wikileaks actions "extremely irresponsible" and "basically a crime."

'Deeply disturbing'

A view over Stockholm

Sweden has some of the world's toughest privacy laws in the world

The arrest warrant was issued on Friday after two women made allegations to Swedish police.

Assange told Wikileaks' Twitter page the charges were "without basis" and described the timing of the allegations as "deeply disturbing."

Another Twitter comment carried on the Wikileaks website said, "We were warned to expect 'dirty tricks'. Now we have the first one."

The 39-year-old Australian also rejected the accusations by e-mail, citing "dirty tricks" by those who were not happy with the publishing of sensitive documents.

Assange was in Sweden last week to defend his plans to publish more documents about the Afghan war and its conduct by NATO forces.

Sweden has strict laws on protection of sources, and many of Wikileaks' web servers are based there. The country’s Pirate Party, which campaigns for internet privacy, last week agreed to maintain Wikileaks’ servers in Sweden.

Richard Connor (Reuters/AFP/AP/dpa)
Editor: Toma Tasovac

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