LONDON—WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing a new challenge: the leak of a 68-page confidential Swedish police report that sheds new light on the allegations of sexual misconduct that led to his legal troubles.
The Swedish report traces events over a four-day period in August when Assange had what he has described as consensual sexual relationships with two Swedish women. Their accounts, which form the basis of an extradition case against Assange, are that their encounters with him began consensually, but became nonconsensual when he persisted in having unprotected sex with them in defiance of their insistence that he use a condom.
The case has prompted widespread controversy, with supporters of Assange alleging that he is the victim, and that the women are complicit, in a U.S.-inspired vendetta for WikiLeaks’ posting of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. documents on the Internet.
The police report obtained by The New York Times and translated from the original Swedish, is a preliminary summary of the evidence taken by investigators when they met with the two women and with Assange, who left Sweden for Britain in early October but subsequently refused to return to Sweden for further questioning. Assange has told friends in Britain he decided not to return after concluding that the Swedish case was being driven by a desire to isolate and punish him for WikiLeaks’ actions in publishing the secret U.S. documents.
The Swedish documents trace the accounts given by the two women of their intimate encounters with Assange. As previously reported, both women say that Assange first agreed to use a condom and then refused, in the first instance by continuing with sex after the condom broke and in the second by having sex with a woman who was asleep without using a condom.
Assange has refused to address the women’s accounts directly, both before his Dec. 7 arrest on the Swedish extradition warrant and since he was released from a 10-day period in a London jail Thursday after a group of friends and celebrities posted $310,000 bail. But he has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and insisted he is a victim of a political conspiracy.
The two women have been referred to in the British courts only as Ms. A and Ms. W. Ms. A, according to the police report and to Swedish friends, is a left-wing activist in her early 30s who was Assange’s point of contact when he flew from London to Stockholm on Aug. 11 to give a speech on Aug. 14. Ms. W., who works in a Stockholm museum, has no declared political affiliation, according to interviews with her friends, but has told friends that she is a strong supporter of WikiLeaks.
The details of their sexual encounter that weekend have been redacted from the copy of the police report obtained by the Times. But The Guardian, which said it had obtained an unedited version of the document, reported Saturday that Ms. A told police Assange had stroked her leg, then pulled off her clothes and snapped her necklace. The report quotes her as saying that she “tried to put on some articles of clothing as it was going too quickly and uncomfortably but Assange ripped them off again.”
According to The Guardian, Ms. A. told police that Assange pinned her arms and legs to stop her reaching for a condom. Eventually one was used – but, she told her police interviewer, he appeared to have “done something” with it, resulting in its tearing.