'Describing sex with Assange as 'alright' doesn't necessarily sound like rape'

'Describing sex with Assange as 'alright' doesn't necessarily sound like rape'
When someone is in the business of making money out of sexual relations, I think we need to be very skeptical about their claims against Julian Assange, human rights activist Peter Tatchell told RT.

WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange published the answers he gave to Swedish prosecutors during questioning at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in November. It's part of the investigation into sex crime allegations against him.

The probe started in 2010 when two women in Sweden told police Assange assaulted them.

RT: Could this statement from Assange have any influence on the prosecutors' decision?

Peter Tatchell: Certainly it is very positive that Julian Assange has released his statement so that we can see clearly his claims and his refutations of the allegations against him. Assuming he’s telling the truth – we probably must assume that, because if he is shown to be lying right now in this statement, it will very severely damage him, so I'm pretty certain what he is saying is true. It does give a very different picture of the alleged sexual relations with him and those two women. Indeed, one of the texts that one of the women sent, I think it was 'SW,' described sex with him as ‘alright.’ I don’t think if someone who’d been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted would describe it as ‘alright.’

Moreover, the other women, 'AA,' he alleges that he has... texts where she suggests to the other woman, SW, that they sell the story to the newspapers. Now, when someone is in the business of making money out of sexual relations, I think we need to be very skeptical about their claims. I’m not saying these women are lying. I am not saying that Assange should not face charges. He doesn’t face charges now - but I am not saying he shouldn’t face charges if there is substantive evidence, and of course if he is found guilty, the full force of the law should apply to him, as it applies to anyone else. But let’s not forget that he has never faced any charges – there are just allegations. He has right from the get-go been willing to speak with the Swedish prosecutors as you’ve heard for six years – it’s taken six years for this statement to be taken. The statement he’s offered does not substantiate what looks like the misreporting of the allegations by much of the media.

RT: The WikiLeaks editor also faces an ongoing American investigation into another case of espionage. Assange asked President-elect Donald Trump to close the case. Do you expect Trump to agree?

PT: I’ve got an idea, but I doubt it. He is surrounded by a lot of gung-ho right-wing Americans, ultra-patriots who have gone after Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. I don’t think there is any reason they will go soft on Assange. But we will have to wait and see.

RT: What do you make of the timing of Assange's questioning? Why has it taken six years for Swedish prosecutors to even speak to him? Why on earth would it take so long?

PT: That’s right. Well, In fact, when he left Sweden originally after being effectively cleared by the chief prosecutor of Stockholm he was totally free to go. Even when they asked him to return - he offered to return - and they made some excuse about the date not being suitable. Sweden has a long record of coming to Britain to interview suspects in criminal cases. But for six years they refused to do that in the case of Julian Assange, even though he had offered to make himself available. He could have provided statement way back in 2010.

As you're probably aware, the Swedish court actually rebuked the Swedish prosecutor for failing to expedite the case, for the delays and hesitations over getting a statement from Assange. But now they’ve got the statement, let’s see what they do with it. Let’s see whether the current prosecutor ultimately comes to the same conclusion as the original prosecutor that based on the evidence presented there appears to be no case.

Certainly, we need to take into account the apparent wishes of one of the women, SW, that she did not want any charges or accusations against Assange; that she did not go to the police with allegations of sexual assault. She went there simply because she wanted him to take a pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection [STI] test just to clear her because they had unprotected sex. That was her sole issue until she says the police pressed for the serious sexual allegations to be pursued…

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.