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Assange denied Swedish residence permit

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been denied a residence permit to stay in Sweden, according to the National Migration Board (Migrationsverket).

Assange denied Swedish residence permit

Assange, an Australian citizen, had applied for a residence and work permit in Sweden in August 18th in order to gain status as the legally responsible publisher of the whistle-blower website,

The whistle-blower website has a number of servers based in Sweden and the move would have afforded better protection for WikiLeaks’ sources under Sweden’s press freedom laws.

However, in order to secure legal responsibility as publisher in Sweden, a person must have a residence permit.

“We have made the decision to reject his application. He has received the notice today by email,” Gunilla Wikström, who makes decisions on work permits for the board in Norrköping, told Aftonbladet on Monday.

The board refused to elaborate further on the details of Assange’s case and the investigation is still ongoing.

“There is not much more to say than that we rejected his application,” Wikström told Aftonbladet.

Asked if she could comment on the grounds for refusal, Wikström replied, “No, secrecy prevails in reference to the grounds for such a decision.”

Wikström said Assange was informed of the decision both by email and regular mail. She added that she could not confirm whether he was still in the country.

Assange visited Sweden over the summer to lecture on WikiLeaks’ recent publication of thousands of secret documents from the war in Afghanistan. He then also applied for a Swedish residence permit.

However, the lectures were abruptly overshadowed by media reports of rape and molestation accusations against Assange at the end of August, two days after he had applied for a residence permit. The notification sparked intense media coverage about Assange around the world.

The allegations from two women led duty prosecutor Eva Finné to issue an arrest warrant for Assange. However, head prosecutor Marianne Ny abruptly withdrew the warrant the next day and cancelled the rape charges a few days later, only to see her decision appealed and the rape case reopened by yet another prosecutor.

Assange has admitted that he had met both women in question, who according to their lawyer are both Swedish and aged between 25 and 35.

However, when asked whether he had had sex with either of the women, he refused to answer, saying it was “a private matter.”

Assange is still under investigation in Sweden, but the probe did not bar him from leaving the country.

When contacted by AFP Monday, an Icelandic spokesman for Wikileaks, Kristinn Hrafnsson, refused to reveal Assange’s whereabouts.

His last public appearance was in London, when he spoke publicly at City University on September 30.

Wikileaks is imminently expected to release some 400,000 secret military reports on the US-led Iraq war.

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SPAIN

Spanish ring ‘tried to extort €3m from Wikileaks’: Assange lawyers

Julian Assange's lawyers have filed a court complaint in Spain against a group of Spaniards they allege extorted the WikiLeaks founder and Ecuador's foreign ministry, a source in his defence team said on Saturday.

Spanish ring 'tried to extort €3m from Wikileaks': Assange lawyers
A video grab shows Julian Assange being driven away by British police after his arrest. Photo: AFP
Assange, who for seven years lived holed up in London's Ecuadoran embassy where he had taken refuge to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape accusations, was arrested on April 11 after Quito terminated his asylum.
   
The 47-year-old founder of WikiLeaks, which exposed everything from US military secrets to the wealthy's tax evasion, is now awaiting sentencing for breaching his British bail conditions in 2012.
 
The source, who wished to remain anonymous, said the complaint was against “a group of Spaniards who allegedly engaged in extortion and the embassy's employees and Ecuador's foreign ministry.”
   
The source added an investigation was ongoing and alleged “espionage” in the embassy against Assange, refusing to give further details.
 
According to Spanish media reports, four Spaniards have videos and personal documents of Assange. Online daily eldiario.es said they somehow got these via an alleged spying system set up in the embassy that included security cameras and employees taking photos of all documents handled by Assange.
   
They allegedly tried to extort three million euros ($3.3 million) out of WikiLeaks not to publish any of it, Spanish media report.
   
Eldiario.es, which had access to the written complaint that was filed to Spain's top-level National Court, says Assange's lawyers also accuse Ecuador of spying on him. The National Court could not comment when contacted by AFP.
 
That contrasts with Ecuadoran President Lenin Moreno's version of events. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, he alleged Assange had tried to set up a “centre for spying” in Ecuador's embassy.
   
Last year, Quito cut his internet and mobile phone access, accusing him of breaking “a written commitment” not to interfere in its and allies' foreign policies.
   
The move infuriated Assange, who sued the government for violating his “fundamental rights” by limiting his access to the outside world.
   
Now in prison in Britain, Assange is also fighting a US extradition warrant relating to the release by WikiLeaks of a huge cache of official documents.
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