Friends of the secretive founder of WikiLeaks, the website behind the biggest leak of United States military documents in history, claimed yesterday that he was the victim of a smear campaign after prosecutors withdrew a warrant for his arrest in connection with rape and molestation allegations.
On Saturday a spokeswoman for the Swedish prosecutors office in Stockholm confirmed that an arrest warrant for Julian Assange had been issued and urged him to "contact police so that he can be confronted with the suspicions".
According to Expressen, the Swedish newspaper, the 39-year-old Australian had been wanted in connection with two separate incidents. The first involved a woman from Stockholm who said he had molested her. The second involved a woman from Enkoping, a town about an hour's drive west of Stockholm, who had accused Assange of rape. The warrant was later withdrawn.
Assange, who has no known addressand spends much of his time travellingto ensure a low profile, had earlier deniedthe charges on WikiLeaks' Twitter page, saying they "are without basis and theirissue at this moment is deeply disturbing".