Assange Not Actually Wanted for 'Rape'

He's sought for a vague lesser crime of 'sex by surprise'

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 3, 2010 3:55 PM CST

(Newser) – By now, you’ve probably heard that Julian Assange is wanted for “rape” in Sweden. Heck, you probably read it here on Newser. You can hardly blame us; sources from CNN to the New York Times have said that Assange is charged with “rape, sexual molestation, and unlawful coercion.” There’s just one problem: It’s not true. Assange’s lawyers tell Aol News that prosecutors have told them he’s wanted not for rape but for “sex by surprise,” a minor crime punishable only be a fine.

“We don't even know what 'sex by surprise' even means, and they haven't told us,” the lawyer says. It seems that two women have accused Assange only of not using a condom after they had asked him to do so, Fast Company explains, pointing to an old Daily Mail report indicating that in the first case, the condom simply broke. These complaints did initially lead to an arrest warrant for rape, but that warrant was swiftly canceled. The current warrant against him does not mention rape, but "sexual coercion."

In this Nov. 4, 2010 file photo, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks during a news conference at the Geneva press club, in Geneva, Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini, File)
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I feel as if I'm in a surreal Swedish movie being threatened by bizarre trolls. The prosecutor has not asked to see Julian, never asked to interview him, and he hasn't been charged with anything.
- Mark Stephens, Assange's lawyer

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