Sweden reopens rape probe of WikiLeaks founder

After dropping a rape case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last month, Sweden is reopening it for further investigation, according to reports.

Sweden has reopened its rape investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange less than two weeks after the case was initially dropped.

"There is "reason to believe a crime has been committed," the Swedish Prosecution Authority said Wednesday in a statement. "More investigations are necessary." The second investigation has been widened to include possible sexual coercion and sexual molestation, according to the statement.

Due to the timing, the rape investigation of Assange has triggered controversy and conspiracy theories. Proclaiming his innocence, Assange has suggested the allegations are part of a smear campaign by opponents of his Web site.

WikiLeaks have faced intense scrutiny--most recently for posting confidential Afghan war documents.

Philip Crowley, assistant secretary at the U.S. State Department, has acknowledged talking to other countries about concerns over WikiLeaks but denies asking them to investigate Assange.

WikiLeaks, a so-called whistleblower site, found itself under scrutiny this summer after publishing more than 75,000 files documenting setbacks in the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Following the release of the files, WikiLeaks received criticism from the White House for disclosing confidential information.

The site also ran into controversy over the past year after posting a 2007 video showing a U.S. military helicopter in Iraq firing on a vehicle about to take a wounded journalist to a hospital. The pilots allegedly mistook the news crew, who were holding cameras, for armed insurgents. Several Iraqi civilians and two journalists were killed in the attack.

Army intelligence specialist Bradley Manning has been charged by the Army for reportedly providing the videos to WikiLeaks. Though military officials also suspect Manning of leaking the Afghan war documents, Manning's attorney said that he had seen no documents implicating his client and that Manning has yet to be formally charged in that leak, according to CNN. Assange has refused to reveal the source of the Afghan documents.

Assange has been releasing updates on the situation through his Web site and Twitter feed.

 

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