Eva Finne, Chief Prosecutor: Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Founder Withdrawn

August 23, 2010

Swedish prosecutors have withdrawn an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on charges of suspected rape.

Chief Prosecutor Eva Finne says she has determined there is no reason to suspect Assange has committed such a crime.

The move Saturday comes just hours after the Swedish prosecutor's office announced the Australian citizen had been accused of one count of rape and one count of molestation.

Assange denied the allegations on WikiLeaks' Twitter feed, saying the charges were "without basis." He called their timing "deeply disturbing."

The WikiLeaks website has been criticized for publishing more than 70,000 classified or secret documents from the war in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Defense Department is reported to be considering criminal charges against the group.

The Pentagon has told WikiLeaks its actions risk the lives of U.S. soldiers and Afghan citizens, and could possibly undermine military operations against extremists in Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, WikiLeaks said contact had been established with the Pentagon to initiate discussions on the issue of new document releases. But Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman denied that the department is willing to collaborate with the website.

Assange said the site intends to publish another 15,000 documents on the Internet within weeks. He said all the documents are being reviewed "line by line," and that the names of "innocent parties who are under reasonable threat" will be removed.

Whitman released a letter from Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson saying the department will not discuss what he called "some 'minimized' or 'sanitized' version of a release by WikiLeaks of additional classified documents." The letter also repeats the department's demand that all of the documents be returned, and that those already published be removed from WikiLeaks' databases and destroyed.

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