Assange accused of rape: Is this a smear campaign?

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange
Stockholm, Aug 21: Just as WikiLeaks was set to publish more classified US military documents, the whistle-blower website's founder, Julian Assange's name has suddenly emerged in rape cases.

In a suspicious development that seems to be a smear campaign against Assange, a Swedish tabloid on Saturday, Aug 21 reported that an arrest warrant has been issued for WikiLeaks founder on suspicion of rape.

According to Expressen, the Australian is facing charges from two women. The media report suggests that Assange has been charged in absentia, based on recent claims levelled against him.

The tabloid also quotes several officials confirming the charges against Assange.

WikiLeaks, on the other hand, maintains that the charges are false.

"He didn't know of the charges until he read them in the right wing tabloid Expressen this morning. There are powerful organisations who want to do harm to WikiLeaks" Kristinn Hrafnsson, one of Assange's colleague, told an international news agency from Iceland.

Meanwhile, on WikiLeaks Twitter page, Julian Assange posted, "The charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing."

In an earlier tweet, WikiLeaks had posted "We were warned to expect 'dirty tricks'", providing the link to the Google translation (English) of the Swedish tabloid report.

"No one here has been contacted by Swedish police. Needless to say this will prove hugely distracting," the website added.

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