Russia suggested a Nobel Prize for Julian Assange, stepping up their criticism of US spy agencies as the scandal unfolds. Meanwhile, Swedish prosecutors have yet to charge Assange with a specific offense, even as his London bail and possible extradition hearing nears next Tuesday.
Assange is wanted for “questioning” on rape charges by two Swedish women, Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen. According to James Caitlin, an Australian lawyer representing Assange in London, both women texted and celebrated after having slept with Assange, evidence that contradicts their later claims of non-consensual sex.
The fear among Assange supporters is that the Swedish charges are not only a form of character assassination but a pretext for having him extradited from Sweden, whose new government is a close US ally. Extradition is seen as more difficult from London.
Yesterday, a British group campaigning for the punishment of rapists came to Assange’s defense. In a letter to the Guardian, Katrin Axelsson of Women Against Rape, described bail as routine in British rape cases and questioned the “unusual zeal” of the prosecution in holding Assange in isolation. “Many women in both Sweden and Britain will wonder at the unusual zeal with which Julian Assange is being pursued for rape allegations... There is a long tradition of the use of rate and sexual assault for political agendas that have nothing to do with women’s safety,” she wrote.
Hundreds of supporters ran alongside the police wagon carrying Assange to Wandsworth prison, banging on the vehicle and shouting, “We love you, Julian!" The defendant is being held in a single cell in the prison's segregation unit.