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Assange charges center on two women, sex

Sexual encounters with two Swedish women last August are at the center of the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
/ Source: staff and news service reports

Sexual encounters with two Swedish women last August are at the center of the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. His lawyer calls it a "political stunt" and supporters suspect a government conspiracy to entrap Assange. The two women allege it has nothing to do with leaked files and everything to do with how he treats women.

Assange's lawyers have claimed the accusations stem from a "dispute over consensual but unprotected sex" and say the women only made the claims after finding out about each other's relationships with Assange.

Assange, for his part, said shortly after the allegations became public that he was shocked. "I have been accused of various things in recent years, but nothing so serious as this," he told a Swedish newspaper.

Below is what's known so far about those encounters, based on reporting by London's Daily Mail and the allegations made in a London court on Tuesday by Gemma Lindfield, an attorney acting for Swedish authorities.

Aug. 11: Assange arrives in Stockholm, where he is to be the key speaker at a seminar organized by a group called the Brotherhood Movement.

London's Daily Mail reports his point of contact is a radical feminist who once held a university post of "campus sexual equity officer." The two had never met but earlier agreed that Assange would stay at her apartment, the Mail stated. She planned to be out of town until the day of the seminar.

Aug. 14: The woman, identified by Swedish officials only as Miss A, returns to Stockholm, 24 hours earlier than planned. The two go out for dinner, return to the apartment and have sex during which a condom breaks. She would later tell police that Assange used his body weight to hold her down during sex and that she was a victim of "unlawful coercion."

Aug. 15: Assange delivers his seminar speech and meets another woman who tags along for lunch with friends, the Mail reported, adding that the two then go to a movie where the woman suggests they were "intimate."

That evening, Miss A hosts a party for Assange at her home, afterward reportedly tweeting this to friends: "Sitting outside ... nearly freezing,  with the world’s coolest people. It’s pretty amazing!"

Aug. 16: The second woman, identified only as Miss W by Swedish officials, calls Assange and they meet in Stockholm. They go by train to her hometown and to her apartment, where they have sex. According to her testimony to police, Assange wore a condom.

Aug. 17: Miss W later tells police that Assange that morning had unprotected sex with her while she was still asleep.

Aug. 18: Assange is alleged on this day to have "deliberately molested" Miss A "in a way designed to violate her sexual integrity."

Soon after, Miss W contacts Miss A, knowing her from the seminar, and confides that she had unprotected sex with Assange, the Mail reported. Miss A says that she, too, had slept with him and reportedly later phones an acquaintance of Assange to relay to him that she wants him out of her apartment.

Aug. 20: Assange leaves the apartment. The two women go to Stockholm police to seek advice on how to proceed with a complaint by Miss W against Assange, the Mail reported. According to one source, Miss W wanted to know if it was possible to force Assange to undergo an HIV test. Miss A said she was there merely to support Miss W, but she also gives police an account of what had happened between herself and Assange, the Mail reported.

The female interviewing officer concludes that Miss W had been raped and Miss A subject to sexual molestation. A duty prosecuting attorney agrees Assange should be sought on suspicion of rape.

Aug. 21: The chief prosecutor dismisses the rape charge and arrest warrant, saying what occurred were no more than minor offenses.

In the following days, the claimants appeal, and a special prosecutor reopens the case, eventually reissuing the arrest warrant.

By now the press had gotten hold of the story. Miss A spoke to a Swedish newspaper, saying: "In both cases, the sex had been consensual from the start but had eventually turned into abuse."

"The accusations were not set up by the Pentagon or anybody else," she added. "The responsibility for what happened to me and the other girl lies with a man with a twisted view of women, who has a problem accepting the word 'no.' "