Lawyer: Sweden investigating Assange for sex without condom

By Daniel Tencer
Thursday, December 2, 2010 17:15 EDT
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Prosecutors ‘making it up as they go along’

A lawyer who recently represented Julian Assange says the Swedish sex assault investigation into the WikiLeaks founder is based on claims he didn’t use condoms during sex with two Swedish women.

James D. Catlin, a lawyer in Melbourne, Australia, says in an article published Thursday that Sweden’s justice system is destined to become “the laughingstock of the world” for investigating rape charges in two cases where women complained that Assange had had sex with them without using a condom.

Catlin, who confirmed to Raw Story that Assange retained his services for a “limited duration” in October but did not provide details, also said both of the accusers “boast[ed] of their respective conquests” after the alleged crimes had been committed. “The Swedes are making it up as they go along,” he wrote.

Catlin’s claims are likely to add fuel to speculation that Sweden’s investigation of Assange is politically motivated.

He writes:

Apparently having consensual sex in Sweden without a condom is punishable by a term of imprisonment of a minimum of two years for rape. That is the basis for a reinstitution of rape charges against WikiLeaks figurehead Julian Assange that is destined to make Sweden and its justice system the laughing stock of the world and dramatically damage its reputation as a model of modernity.

Sweden’s Public Prosecutor’s Office was embarrassed in August this year when it leaked to the media that it was seeking to arrest Assange for rape, then on the same day withdrew the arrest warrant because in its own words there was “no evidence”. The damage to Assange’s reputation is incalculable. More than three quarters of internet references to his name refer to rape. Now, three months on and three prosecutors later, the Swedes seem to be clear on their basis to proceed. Consensual sex that started out with a condom ended up without one, ergo, the sex was not consensual.

Catlin’s article appeared Thursday in the Australian online current affairs site Crikey.

He argued that Sweden has been pushed into a corner by the investigation and has found itself moving forward with a flimsy case because, in this day and age of social networking news and instant communication, prosecutors can’t add new evidence without publicly discrediting themselves.

Catlin also said that the two alleged victims — whom he names in the article — boasted of their sexual “conquests” online after the incidents took place.

They sought advice together, having collaborated and irrevocably tainted each other’s evidence beforehand. Their SMS texts to each other show a plan to contact the Swedish newspaper Expressen beforehand in order to maximise the damage to Assange. They belong to the same political group and attended a public lecture given by Assange and organised by them.

According to an August report in the Daily Mail, both of the accusers’ complaints stem from lack of condom use. In the case of “Woman A,” as the Daily Mail identifies her, a condom broke during intercourse. In the case of “Woman B,” Assange reportedly did not use a condom during a second round of intercourse.

Catlin states that neither of the women’s police statements “complain of rape.”

“But then neither [of the accusers] complained to the police but rather ‘sought advice,’ a technique in Sweden enabling citizens to avoid just punishment for making false complaints,” Catlin alleges.

Catlin promises that, as the investigation goes on, it will reveal “damning evidence” about “what passes for legal process in Sweden.” Even though the investigation has been ongoing since August, he says Assange’s lawyers didn’t receive any documents from prosecutors until November 18, and then the documents were only in Swedish, “contrary to European Law.”

When the investigation was first announced in August, Assange said the timing — which seemed to coincide with the release of a cache of Afghanistan-related documents — was “deeply disturbing.” He has speculated that the Pentagon may have been behind the investigation.

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