STOCKHOLM — The two Swedish women accusing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sex crimes are supporters of the whistle-blower website, not pawns of the CIA, and they simply seek justice for a violation of their “sexual integrity,” their attorney says.
Claes Borgstrom, who used to be Sweden’s ombudsman for gender equality, said he finds it “very upsetting” that Assange, his attorneys and some supporters are suggesting the case is a smear campaign against WikiLeaks, the secret-spilling website Assange founded.
“He’s been spreading false rumors that he knows are untrue. It’s reckless against these two women,” Borgstrom said by phone Thursday. “They, too, are supporters of WikiLeaks.”
Assange denies the allegations of sexual misconduct, which his attorneys say stem from a dispute over “consensual but unprotected sex.” He has not been charged.
Borgstrom said Assange had every right to reject the women’s sex claims but says Assange is, in essence, accusing them of breaking the law by suggesting they are driven by ulterior motives.
“There is no truth to this whatsoever,” he added.
British newspaper The Times recently quoted Assange as saying there is “very suggestive evidence” the two women were motivated by revenge, money and police pressure.
The silver-haired Australian met both women in connection with a lecture Aug. 14 in Stockholm. One, a 31-year-old, was involved in organizing the event for Sweden’s left-wing Social Democratic Party and offered to host Assange at her apartment.
The other, a few years younger, was in the audience.
Assange had sex with both within a week, police documents show. The women realized that when the younger woman contacted the older one seeking to get in touch with Assange. They went to police together, not to file criminal complaint but to seek advice, Borgstrom said.
A policewoman who heard their stories decided there was reason to suspect they were victims of sex crimes and handed over the case to a prosecutor.
Lawyer Gemma Lindfield, acting for Sweden in British courts, said one of the women accused Assange of pinning her down and refusing to use a condom. The second says Assange had sex with her without a condom while she was asleep.
The case appears anything but clear-cut. A chief prosecutor in Stockholm dropped the rape complaint shortly after the case began, and it would most likely have ended there had it not been for Borgstrom.
The 66-year-old lawyer successfully appealed the decision to a more senior prosecutor, who got court approval for a request to interrogate Assange on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.
Asked whose initiative it was to appeal — his or the women’s — Borgstrom demurred, citing client confidentiality. However, he said the women didn’t even know it was possible to appeal a prosecutor’s decision until he told them.
Even in gender-conscious Sweden, Borgstrom has raised eyebrows for speaking out so strongly against the male norms he says still pervade Swedish society. He has said all men bear a collective responsibility for the fact that some men abuse women.
Read more: Assange accusers support WikiLeaks’ mission, lawyer says – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_16939624?source=rss&utm_term=Wikileaks&utm_source=TheCubaBlog&utm_medium=twitter#ixzz197TYQkmU