22:14 GMT03 March 2021
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    Assange is currently being kept behind bars in the Belmarsh prison for US prosecutors to appeal a UK court’s verdict to deny extradition of the WikiLeaks publisher, who is accused by Washington of conspiring to hack classified information on a government computer as well as espionage offenses, punishable by a total of up to 175 years.

    One of the two women who have accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sexual assault has released details of the alleged attack in her new book.

    The charges against Assange were eventually dropped, but in 2012 they prompted Assange to seek refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden.

    Anna Ardin has written the book “In the Shadow of Assange: My testimony” and appeared on Swedish TV, in newspapers, and in a documentary.

    In her book, Ardin added detail to the accusations of unlawful coercion and sexual harassment, writing that Assange held her down roughly after they agreed to have consensual sex and then deliberately sabotaged a condom.

    Ardin also tells the story of how she was already considering sleeping with Assange even before he made a pass, partly because of his celebrity status and partly to irritate her ex.  

    "It might be pretty fun thing, and no big deal to ‘score with Julian Assange’", she remembers thinking.

    She also describes Assange as “in many ways a fantastic person”. “The Julian who took part in the [party] is totally different from the one who humiliated and abused me the previous evening”, she claimed.

    The wide publicity that followed the release of the book has drawn some criticism, with Anne Ramberg, the former head of Sweden's bar association, saying that the interview with "the aggrieved lady who provided her home and bed to Assange", was "extremely worrying".

    "Anyone who has not read the preliminary investigation should do so", she said. "To now write a book and make a career of what is described as abuse seems extremely questionable".

    "Regarding Assange", she continued. "He has denied the allegations and should be considered innocent". "The women, I can't regard them as these very tragic victims that they have tried to portray themselves as", she said. "I see him as the victim, actually. His life is destroyed".

    WikiLeaks founder Assange was accused of sexual assault in Sweden the same year as Washington began a criminal investigation into the website after it published classified US documents detailing possible war crimes committed by American forces during the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Assange dismissed the case, arguing it was a pretext to have him extradited to the United States.

    He later applied for political asylum in Ecuador and spent seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. On 12 April 2019, his asylum was terminated and he has been incarcerated at the Belmarsh high-security prison in London ever since.

    A UK judge earlier rejected a US request to extradite Assange to the United States, where he is wanted on 17 charges under the Espionage Act, due to fears that he may commit suicide. US prosecutors, however, said they would appeal the decision.

    Tags:
    accusations, sex assault, Julian Assange, US, Ecuador, UK, Sweden
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