Assange rape case
Today, I stumbled upon a Swedish blog with an Assange updatee, including some English discussions and a link to “leaked” documents from the investigatione.
(Assange stands accused of having raped/assaulted/molested/whatnot two women, one of which, Anna Ardin, was a topic on my blog even before the Assange affair. The other is referred to by “SW” below. Some links to more information are present here.)
I have gone through the hundred pages. In short:
There is nothing whatsoever to the SW case—confirming an interpretation I have seen repeatedly from those more familiar with the details. She was a groupie, pressed herself on Assange, and got what she wanted sexually (she may or may not have had non-sexual or romantic wishes that did not come true). The only real point of possible culpability is Assange’s alleged refusal to take a HIV test; however, seeing that she could have had herself tested (and that HIV has an infection rate noticeably lower than 100 %) this cannot reasonably be a criminal issue. Looking at some testimonies, I have the impression that SW need not have wanted to claim rape or assault in the first place, but merely wanted a forced clarification of the HIV (or, more generally, STD) issue.
The case of Anna Ardin is not quite as clear-cut, but contains nothing that could not be seen as a mixture of miscommunication, (playfully) rough sex, and unfortunate coincidence—even by Ardin’s own claims and without hearing Assange’s side of the story. I note, in particular, that the sex was consensual (if, possibly, depending on interpretation and what statement is believed, reluctant and unwelcome for Ardin), that Assange consistently respected her wish not to have sex on other occasions, and that it is not clear how the infamous broken condom actually broke (has happened to me too, on more than one occasion).
Even if, arguendo, Assange deliberately broke it, there is insufficient proof to that effect (in my layman’s opinion): Ardin’s own testimony is conjectural—she only observed that he had fiddled with the condom during intercourse, not that he broke it. The documents do include a forensic report concerning a condom with the conclusion that it was probable (“Möjligheten att erhålla dessa resultat om någon annan hypotes är sann bedöms som liten.”—“The possibility that these results could be found if an alternative hypothesis is true is considered to be unlikely.”; official informatione) to have been “torn apart” (“slitits sönder”). However, this is not a conclusive statement, being a “+2”, where a “+4”, in my understanding, would be needed for a conviction with no other evidence. Further, it does not follow who tore it or when—nor even that it necessarily is the same condom. Notably, the alleged breaking took place on the night of 2010-08-13/14, Ardin was interrogated on 2010-08-21, and had, at that point, not yet turned the condom in. (Assange remained as her guest until the day before the interrogation.)
Obviously, even a hypothetical deliberate breaking is not rape, although it should probably be considered criminal.
As a whole, my previous impression from other sources, that we have a storm in a tea-cup and nothing warranting criminal proceedings, is confirmed.