Assange feels under attack from his British media partner

'Guardian' article detailing women's statements to police about Wikileaks founder angers his supporters

The plot that no one thought could possibly get even thicker, expanded its dimensions quite considerably this weekend. Fresh details from the statements made to police by the two Swedish women who have made sexual allegations against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, were published by
The Guardian newspaper, his principal British media partner and supporter.

The story – bylined Nick Davies, the journalist and author who first suggested a tie-up between WikiLeaks and the newspaper – says that the new material offers "a detailed account of a number of disputed incidents involving the women that appear, at least, to warrant investigation". It also claims that the reason Swedish authorities applied for an international arrest warrant was that Mr Assange did not come back to the country for a scheduled meeting with prosecutors.

It is understood that there was a debate inside the paper about whether, and how, to run the article, but that, in the end, The Guardian decided to publish. A close friend said yesterday that Mr Assange regarded the article as "an attack by somebody who he'd hope not to receive it from".

The police statements deal with what the women say happened when Mr Assange visited Sweden to speak at a conference in August. Accuser 1, who was involved with the host organisation, offered him her vacant apartment, but she returned early, and later they had sex. This much is not disputed. However, according to The Guardian, she claims in the newly revealed police statement that: "he began stroking her leg as they drank tea, before he pulled off her clothes and snapped a necklace she was wearing". Her statement adds that she, uneasy at the speed of developments, put on some more garments, but that "Assange ripped them off again". She then let him undress her, and, as he attempted to have unprotected sex with her, she tried several times to get out a condom, but that, as The Guardian reports: "Assange had stopped her by holding her arms and pinning her legs." It was said he freed his grip, put on a condom, but that, in her words, he had "done something" to the condom so that it ripped. He denies doing so.

The next day, as we reported last week, he went to the cinema with Accuser 2, a young woman who had gone out of her way to make his acquaintance. According to the new information, they sat in the back row and, says The Guardian, "he put his hands inside her clothing". That evening, at a party, Accuser 1 told a friend about her encounter with Mr Assange. "Not only had it been the world's worst screw, it had also been violent." This was Saturday 14 August. Two days later, Accuser 2 rang him, they met, went back to her out-of-town flat and began to have sex. She stopped this, as he was not using a condom; they had sex in the night when, she claims, he "unwillingly" agreed to a condom; and then, in the morning, she woke to him having sex with her without a condom. She had never had unprotected sex before, even with her boyfriend, and was perturbed by this, even more so when Mr Assange declined to undergo an HIV test.

She did have a test herself, and, in her efforts to contact Mr Assange, who was proving elusive, rang Accuser 1. They compared notes, and then went to the police, asking if Mr Assange could be forced to have a test. He later agreed to one, but by then clinics had closed for the weekend. Police thought the women's stories meant possible offences had been committed (it can be illegal in Sweden to have sex without a condom when one partner has insisted upon it), and the ball was set in motion that led to his extradition case.

It must be emphasised that Mr Assange denies any wrongdoing. Nor has he presented his side of these events. Should the case ever come to court, it would be a matter of one person's word against another's. But, wherever the truth lies, the allegations and their timing have had a polarising effect.

Last week, The Independent on Sunday revealed the extent of online abuse being directed at Mr Assange's two accusers. Both have been widely named, and their pictures, addresses and even mobile phone numbers have appeared on the internet, in defiance of the anonymity normally accorded alleged victims of sex crimes. He has been subjected to death threats. Meanwhile, he may yet have to face the US charging him with information offences. He remains at Ellingham Hall, Suffolk, waiting for the next hearing in connection with the process of extradition to Sweden.

His most prominent supporters were certainly unmoved by the new details from the police statements. Vaughan Smith, who is putting Mr Assange up in his 18th-century mansion, said his guest thought the article in The Guardian was "an attack by somebody who he'd hope not to receive it from". Mr Smith added: "I'm not going to criticise Nick Davies. I'm not accusing The Guardian of any wrongdoing. I don't think it delivers any new revelations. I'm sad to read it. The article was critical and I wondered to what extent The Guardian maintains a level of criticism politically to keep off the flak of publishing the leaks. I wonder how much of this is politics. It hasn't made me think that Julian is guilty but it makes me think, perhaps, newspapers feel the need to put in criticism."

The Australian author and journalist Phillip Knightley, one of those who put up bail for Mr Assange, said: "I've had no change of heart. I have no opinion one way or another on the sex charges; they're distinct from the WikiLeaks business and I support his stand on WikiLeaks. I felt that he deserved the principle of innocent until proven guilty. I do think there are dark forces at work to attempt to punish him, and I believe the Swedish allegations are part of that. I spent some time with him at the Frontline Club. I admired him and I still do."

Sarah Saunders, a catering company manager in Kent, a personal friend of Mr Assange and the person who came up with the biggest pledge for his surety, said: "People are interested in the smutty detail, but as a friend of Julian's I can absolutely, categorically, say that I stand by him. As a single woman, I never felt personally vulnerable or at risk in his presence. He's not an aggressive man. I cannot understand the allegations; to me, they don't make sense. He needs to be heard in a fair way and I hope he's given the opportunity of a fair assessment of the facts which he deserves."

Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice