Sweden reopens WikiLeaks founder rape investigation

Wed Sep 1, 2010 8:46pm GMT

By Patrick Lannin and Simon Johnson

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden reopened a probe on Wednesday into rape allegations against Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, who has infuriated the U.S. military by publishing secret documents on Afghanistan.

Assange called the rape allegations baseless and described the case against him as a "legal circus."

WikiLeaks published more than 70,000 secret military files on Afghanistan in July in what U.S. officials have called one of the biggest security breaches in U.S. military history.

A lower official had withdrawn a rape probe against Assange two weeks ago, while allowing an investigation into lesser molestation charges to continue. Assange said he had been warned by Australian intelligence that he could face a campaign to discredit him after leaking the documents.

"It appears to be highly irregular and some kind of legal circus," Assange told the TV service of tabloid newspaper Expressen. He said another, unrelated case had just been filed against him in the United States, though he gave no details.

"I was dumbfounded and concerned as to the integrity of the Swedish judicial process," he said when asked what his feelings were after the investigation was reopened.

"...I know what I have done with my life therefore I know that these accusations are baseless and disturbing," he said.

He said deliberate attempts had been made to push the case into the court of public opinion.   Continued...

<p>WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange attends a seminar at the Swedish Trade Union Confederation headquarters in Stockholm August 14, 2010. REUTERS/Scanpix/Bertil Ericson</p>
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