WikiLeaks founder briefly accused of rape
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Julian Assange, the founder of the website WikiLeaks who has been embroiled in a fight with the Pentagon over the recent release of classified Afghan war documents, became the focus of new attention on Saturday when Swedish prosecutors sought him for questioning on allegations of rape and molestation -- and then withdrew the rape allegation.
The prosecutor's office provided few details about the case against Mr. Assange, who denied the allegations. Nor did it say why it backtracked so quickly. Two Swedish newspapers said the allegations were made by two women who worked with WikiLeaks in Sweden, and the prosecutors told The Associated Press they were still looking into an accusation of molestation.
Mr. Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, has been locked in an increasingly bitter confrontation with the Obama administration since he posted about 77,000 classified Pentagon documents last month and began warning that he would soon release 15,000 more. The administration has hinted at possible criminal prosecutions in the case.
In his Twitter response on Saturday, Mr. Assange said the Swedish allegations were "without basis," adding: "We were warned to expect 'dirty tricks.' Now we have the first one."
It was not immediately clear if Mr. Assange remained in Sweden, where he made his last public appearance on Aug. 14.
First Published August 22, 2010 12:00 am