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Sweden to continue Assange inquiry
Prosecutor to further investigate molestation claim against founder of Wikileaks.
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2010 19:18 GMT
Assange says recent accusations made against him are part of a 'smear campaign' [Reuters]

Sweden's chief prosecutor has said she will continue investigating an accusation of molestation against Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, but has dismissed another claim against him that was initially labelled a suspected rape.

Eva Finne said she had questioned the woman who had filed the rape complaint and decided that there were no grounds to suspect Assange of any type of crime, but that she was still examining the molestation claim brought by a different lady. 

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Stockholm, Finne said: "I find that there is a suspicion of the crime [of molestation] and we will investigate.

"Molestation is a crime that normally [receives] a fine. The statute says that you can get a fine or imprisonment up to one year, but the normal punishment for molestation is a fine."

Finne said she expected Assange's lawyer to "arrrange a time with the police for a hearing".

The warrant and the rape charge were dropped on Saturday. Assange has denied both allegations.

'Smear campaign'

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera on Sunday, Assange said the accusations are part of a smear campaign to discredit Wikileaks.

He said that he had been forewarned by Australian intelligence on August 11 to expect a campaign against him, though it was unclear who was behind it.

"It is clearly a smear campaign ... the only question is who was involved," Assange, an Australian national, said.

"We can have some suspicions about who would benefit, but without direct evidence I would not be willing to make a direct allegation."

Assange said that the accusations were untrue, and called this was just one of many attempts to discredit him.

"This is the first sexual related we've had, but we have seen 14 fabricated documents, for example, that have appeared in various places about this organisation which have been shown to be clear fakes," he said.

"So there are significant forces pushing to perceive things in a particular way."

Assange has hired Leif Silbersky, one of Sweden's best-known defence lawyers, to represent him.

Document released

In a separate development, Wikileaks released a classified document from the US Central Intelligence Agency which asks what would happen if foreign countries begin to view the US as an "exporter of terrorism".

The document was prepared by the CIA's "red cell", a unit responsible for preparing analysis papers from an adversarial perspective.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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