Assange Hearings: Extradition, Rough Sex, And Animal Abuse

The hearings on the extradition of Julian Assange from England to Sweden have come to a close, with a decision expected in two weeks. But just because he wasn't actually being tried for the two rapes of which he's accused, didn't mean that the lawyers couldn't spar on "rough sex," consent, and toe-sucking. Also, allegations have emerged that he was cruel to cats.

In closing arguments, the Assange defense team essentially said that the Swedish prime minister and the prosecutor had unfairly prejudiced the case against him in the press before any charges were brought. They said that prosecutor Marianne Ny had a "bias against men" and that what Assange is accused of doing is only a crime in Sweden.

"If Sweden [said] sucking toes without washing.. is rape..then that would be an extradition offense? No," said Assange attorney Geoffrey Robertson. (The most detailed descriptions of the trial so far has been on the Twitter account of Ravi Somaiya, who has been reporting for The New York Times.)

Acting on behalf of Sweden, Clare Montgomery disputed that. "If a woman says to you: 'I only wish to have sex with you if you wear a condom', a person hearing that will understand that she is not consenting to have unprotected sex," she said, adding, "This is not a case of the police slipping under the bed clothes to interfere with private consensual acts. This is a case where the allegations [of one woman] would amount to rape under English law as well as Swedish."

Montgomery also said that the ripped clothes and broken necklace of one of the women should be considered violence. At another point, Robertson referred to the allegation of violence as follows: "That describes what is usually called the missionary position."

According to reporters' tweets from the trial, Robertson argued that what had happened between Assange and the women fell under the fact that "sexual relations are complex human interactions" with "their ebbs and flows. What may be unwanted one minute can with further empathy become desired."

Montgomery apparently replied, "No doubt rough consensual sex is something on which he able to give some useful information to the court." She added that penetrating a sleeping woman involved a presumption of lack of consent.

Robertson took further aim on the fact that Swedish courts gather evidence on rape behind closed doors, presumably to protect victims from retaliation. "Justice must be seen to be done. If justice isn't seen, it isn't done." At the same time, he decried the way his client had been tried in the press, to which Montgomery replied, "Those who seek to fan the flames of media firestorm can't complain when they get burnt."

Extradition to Sweden isn't the only problem Assange faces: A former Wikileaks spokesman, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, has published a tell-all book, in which he alleges that Assange has four "love children, the youngest being six months old and in Australia. A source told Gawker, ""He feels obliged to spread his genes. In other words, he thinks he is so good that the world needs more of his kids."

Also in the book: The allegation that Assange was cruel to Domscheit-Berg's cat. "Ever since Julian lived with me in Wiesbaden he (the cat) has suffered from psychosis," Domscheit-Berg writes. "Julian would constantly attack the animal. He would spread out his fingers like a fork and grab the cat's throat." Will the character defamation ever end?

Assange Lawyer Says Swedish PM Prejudices Case [Reuters]
Wikileaks Threatens Action Against Ex-Colleague Of Assange [Independent]
Arguments In Assange's Extradition Hearing End [WP]