WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange turned himself in to police in London on Tuesday and will remain in custody until December 14 unless extradited to Sweden, Sweden’s English-language newspaper The Local reports.
Assange, who has been on the international radar since exposing hundreds of classified US government documents and simultaneously dodging a manhunt for alleged sex crimes against two Swedish women since August, said he would fight his extradition and the charges facing him.
But much of the information on the accusations against Assange is unclear. Since the initial police report was filed in August, prosecutors have opened and closed rape cases against Assange three separate times. After his arrest on Tuesday, British authorities stated that he faces “one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape,” while Assange’s UK attorney Mark Stephens told AOL News that the charge was “sex by surprise.”
Although Stephens told AOL News that prosecutors had not informed him what “sex by surprise” means, it may refer to the alleged victims’ claims that their initially consensual sex with Assange became nonconsensual. According to one of the women’s accounts, Assange “did not comply with her appeals to stop when [the condom] was no longer in use.”
Assange has denied the claims and stated that the sex was consensual. Stephens said that the dispute was “consensual but unprotected.” In Sweden, a somewhat obscure law prohibits sex without condoms and is punishable by a minimum sentence of two years for rape, according to Australian lawyer James D. Catlin.
Truthout has put in calls to the Swedish Prosecution Authority and The Local for more information.