Ecuador has not yet made a decision on whether to grant asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, but foreign minister Ricardo Patiño doesn’t think rape allegations are anything serious.
“Personally, this is hilarious,” Patiño said to reporters, according to Agence France-Presse. Patiño added that Assange was only being “charged because his condom broke.”
While Assange has not yet been officially charged, Swedish authorities want to question him in relation to allegations of rape and sexual assault by two women. The breaking of a condom was part of one allegation, but far from the centerpiece of the alleged incident:
Her account to police, which Assange disputes, stated that he began stroking her leg as they drank tea, before he pulled off her clothes and snapped a necklace that she was wearing. According to her statement she “tried to put on some articles of clothing as it was going too quickly and uncomfortably but Assange ripped them off again”. Miss A told police that she didn’t want to go any further “but that it was too late to stop Assange as she had gone along with it so far”, and so she allowed him to undress her.
According to the statement, Miss A then realised he was trying to have unprotected sex with her. She told police that she had tried a number of times to reach for a condom but Assange had stopped her by holding her arms and pinning her legs. The statement records Miss A describing how Assange then released her arms and agreed to use a condom, but she told the police that at some stage Assange had “done something” with the condom that resulted in it becoming ripped, and ejaculated without withdrawing.
Another woman alleged that she “had awoken to find [Assange] having sex with her.” The woman had asked Assange to wear a condom previously, but Assange told her he was not. The allegation says ”she couldn’t be bothered to tell him one more time because she had been going on about the condom all night. She had never had unprotected sex before.”
Assange fled to the Ecuadoran embassy in London after Britain’s high court ordered him extradited to Sweden. Assange has cited fear of being extradited by Sweden to the United States to face charges related to the leaking of classified documents.
While Assange’s guilt or innocence remains to be seen, there is no questions that the allegations against him are serious. It’s highly disconcerting to hear a highly-placed government official in Ecuador referring to allegations of rape as “hilarious.” Whatever one thinks about the veracity of the allegations against Assange, what they charge is very grave indeed.
Image Credit: Jeff Fecke