A senior Swedish prosecutor is expected to announce Wednesday whether she believes there is sufficient evidence to continue to pursue a sex-related investigation of Julian Assange, the Australian frontman for the whistle-blowing Web site WikiLeaks.
Karin Rosander, a spokeswoman for Sweden's prosecution authority, told Declassified that Assange had been questioned about the case—based on allegations from two Swedish women who had sexual encounters with him in mid-August—by Swedish police on Monday. At 11 a.m. Swedish time Wednesday, Rosander said, Marianne Ny, one of three national officials holding the title of director of public prosecutions, is expected to announce the next step in the case.
A number of outcomes are under consideration, Rosander said. Ny could decide to close all aspects of the investigation, which led to sensational headlines around the world and to claims from Assange that he was the victim of a smear campaign by dark forces. But Ny also could decide to proceed with further investigations or legal action against Assange based on allegations from either one or both of the women whose complaints led to opening the probe.
As we reported earlier this month, a prosecutor on duty on a Friday night initially issued a warrant for Assange’s arrest on suspicion of possible rape, but the next morning a higher-ranking prosecutor canceled the warrant. The latter official subsequently decided that the rape investigation on Assange—based on allegations from one of the women with whom he had trysted—should be closed. But this prosecutor also decided that there was sufficient evidence to instruct police to question Assange in connection with an allegation of “molestation” made against him by the other woman.
Later still, Claes Borgstrom, a lawyer who represents Assange’s two female accusers, said he would appeal the decision to close the rape investigation to a higher authority. The fate of that appeal is expected to be one of the issues resolved when Ny makes her decision public on Wednesday.
In Twitter messages and scattered media comments, Assange has denied any involvement in sex abuse and suggested that the Swedish investigation might have been instigated by foreign powers, although he also told one Swedish newspaper that he had "never, whether in Sweden or in any other country, had sex with anyone in a way that is not founded on mutual consent."