WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces genuine accusations of “non-consensual, coerced sex,” the High Court was told Wednesday.
Statements made by two women who have accused Assange of sexual misconduct, one of whom said she was “roughed up,” plainly showed they did not freely consent, said the lawyer representing Swedish prosecutors.
Lawyers for Assange, 40yrs, are challenging a ruling by District Judge Howard Riddle at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court in south London that he should be extradited to Sweden to face investigation.
Although not charged, the Australian computer expert is wanted to answer questions on three allegations of sexual assault and one of rape involving the women, referred to as AA and SW, in Stockholm last August.
Assange says the allegations against him are politically motivated, particularly after the WikiLeaks website published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that rocked the US government.
Yesterday his lawyers argued that a European arrest warrant (EAW) was invalid because it contained an inaccurate account of what had occurred in Stockholm, and the women’s own statements showed sex had taken place with their consent.
But today, the second day of the High Court hearing in London, Clare Montgomery, appearing for the Swedish prosecuting authority, dismissed the Assange claims.
Miss Montgomery said it was “perfectly plain” that the women had made allegations of non-consensual, coerced sex.
That was “clearly the only legitimate inference one can draw from the plaintiff’s statements.” Miss Montgomery told the judges the women described circumstances “in which they did not freely consent without coercion” but agreed because of physical force, or consented “already having been trapped into a position where they had no choice, and they submitted to Assange’s attentions.”
Two judges have been told that Assange had sex with two women in August 2010 after visiting Sweden at the invitation of a political group to give a lecture.
Last night, Assange’s lawyers argued, when the appeal began, that charges had not been accurately summarized and arrest warrants were therefore “invalid.
“Assange, who is on bail and living near Diss, Norfolk, southern England, has said nothing to journalists outside court.
Supporters have gathered at the entrance as Assange arrives and leaves.