Claims that Assange had non-consensual sex with two women in Sweden first surfaced last month, following demands by the Pentagon that Wikileaks return some 92,000 mostly classified military documents concerning the US war in Afghanistan. The whistle-blowing website has already published about 77,000 records, an action that prompted strong condemnation from US military officials. Some human rights organizations have also claimed the move put Afghan civilians at risk.
Assange has said the remaining 15,000 documents will be posted in the coming weeks, once names and other sensitive details are redacted. Pentagon officials have warned they may spill even “more explosive” secrets than the first batch.
Assange on Thursday suggested the controversy generated by Wikileaks may be stoking the investigations.
“As I have said before, there was clearly a smear campaign, and who was behind this, we do not know,” he said. “Now, whether that turns out to be a smear campaign done by a couple of people for personal motives or ideological motives, or that is larger and involves geopolitical concerns, or whether it is a mixture of all those, we do not know.”
A senior Swedish prosecutor on Wednesday said the rape case was being reopened, a little more than a week after a it was first opened and then abruptly closed.
“There is reason to believe that a crime has been committed,” she said. A separate investigation into an allegation Assange molested another woman is being extended to include possible “sexual coercion and sexual molestation.”