[UPDATE, CNN now reports that the Swedish government has dropped charges.]
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, has some serious criminal charges being leveled at him by the government of a major Western nation. After all, you can’t just go around spreading truth, can you? Report from CNN:
The founder and editor of the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is wanted in Sweden after accusations of rape and molestation, a spokeswoman for the Swedish prosecutor’s office told CNN Saturday.
Spokeswoman Karin Rosander said Assange was arrested in absentia Friday night, and faces charges in relation to two separate instances, but she didn’t have more detail about when the alleged crimes occurred or who the alleged victims are.
Assange denied the allegations in a posting Saturday on the WikiLeaks Twitter page, saying, “The charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing.”
A rape charge carries a possible prison sentence, while a molestation charge would not, Rosander said. In Sweden, a crime of molestation is not limited to child victims.
Assange was in Sweden last weekend, but Rosander said it’s not clear whether he is still in the country. She said police have been unable so far to make contact with Assange.
“The next step is to get in contact with him and interview him,” Rosander said. He won’t be formally charged until he appears before court.
An elusive figure, Assange reportedly lives part-time in Sweden. He told the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet this week that he chose Sweden to host several servers for WikiLeaks because of the country’s privacy laws.
He also told the paper, in an interview published Monday, that he had been in Sweden because he wanted a safe place to go after the high-profile leak of U.S. documents related to the war in Afghanistan…
[continues at CNN]