Arrest in Absence order issued against Assange
WikiLeaks director Julian Assange is in hot water as Sweden’s director of public prosecution has issued an arrest order on Thursday against the 38 year old writer, publisher, and internet activist. The order came after a series of charges– sususpected of rape, sexual molestation and illegal use of force– were filed against him.
According to Marianne Ny, Assange faces five counts or criminal charges that occurred in two separate incidents: One count of rape and one count of sexual molestation related to an incident in Enkoping, about 78 km west of Stockholm, on August 17. His third and fourth counts of sexual molestation is related to the August 13 and 18 incident in Stockholm. And the last count, illegal use of force, was charged in connection to the August 13 and 14 incident that took place in the capital.
If convicted, Assange could be sentenced to at least two years in prison, according to a court document filed by Ny. “The background is that he has to be heard in this investigation and we haven’t been able to get a hold of him to question him,” She told CNN in a statement.
This is the first time officials have included probable cause in their order. The court has upgraded the molestation charge to sexual molestation.
The order, asking the Stockholm Criminal Court to arrest in Absence, means any Swedish officials who comes across WikiLeaks’ spokesperson and editor-in-chief must detain him. The court decision came out Thursday afternoon at 2p.m. but Assenge was nowhere to be found on the same day.
Ny believes that a crime had been committed but needs more investigation to build up the case before she could lay her decision on the table. Meanwhile, Swedish authorities announced earlier that they were looking into the case of Assenge involving two separate cases of rape and molestation.
Assange, on the other hand, had consistently denied any wrongdoings and maintained his innocence, dismissing the accusations as “smear campaign” during an interview with the Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera. While being pressed for answers by CNN’s Atika Shubert, Assange repeatedly declined to answer questions about the rape and molestation investigation. “This interview is about something else. I will have to walk if you are … if you are going to contaminate this extremely serious interview with questions about my personal life,” he said. Moments later, he walked off the set.
Julian Paul Assange, born on Townsville, Queensland Australia, was a former journalist and computer programmer. He is best known for his contribution to the WikiLeaks, an international whistleblower website that publishes confidential and “unavailable” documents from anonymous sources and leaks.
Assange is usually described as the director and founder of the site but he disproves the title, saying “I don’t call myself a founder,” and describe himself as the editor in chief of WikiLeaks instead.
WikiLeaks gained media attention when in April 2010, the site posted a video in which Iraqi civilians were killed by U.S. forces. Then in subsequent months, it released the “Afghan War Diary”, a compilation of more than 76,900 undisclosed documents about the War in Afghanistan.