Assange claims suitcase containing Wikileaks files was stolen
on 03/09/2013 18:52:56
The suitcase contained three laptops with WikiLeaks material, including evidence of a "war crime" allegedly committed by US troops in Afghanistan, according to an affidavit that Assange's lawyer filed along with a criminal complaint to police at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport.
In the affidavit, Assange suggested that the bag may have been illegally seized "as part of an intelligence operation with the purpose of gathering information about me".
He offered no proof but said all attempts to locate the bag had failed.
The move comes a day before President Barack Obama visits Sweden.
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said similar complaints would be filed in other countries, including Germany and Denmark, alleging potentially unlawful US intelligence operations against Assange.
"It's time to confront it and fight back on all fronts," Mr Hrafnsson said.
According to the affidavit, the "medium-size soft suitcase with tan colour, trolley wheels and an extendable handle" disappeared when Assange travelled from Stockholm to Berlin on September 27 2010.
"The suspected seizure or theft occurred at a time of intense attempts by the US to stop WikiLeaks' publications of 2010," Assange said, suggesting that Swedish authorities "seek explanations" from members of Mr Obama's delegation during their visit this week.
The police border control division at Arlanda Airport opened an investigation as a matter of course after receiving the complaint.
Assange's lawyer, Per Samuelson, said airport personnel in Berlin and Stockholm had not been able to locate the bag and could not explain how it got lost.
"It was checked in and we have luggage tags and everything," he said. "It's gone without a trace."
WikiLeaks has published tens of thousands of pages of secret US diplomatic and military communications over the last few years, deeply angering the Obama administration.
US Army private Chelsea Manning, previously known as Bradley Manning, was recently sentenced to 35 years in prison for giving US government secrets to WikiLeaks.
According to Assange's affidavit, the missing suitcase contained evidence of a "massacre" of civilians by US military forces in Garani, Afghanistan.
Assange has been holed up for more than a year at Ecuador's embassy in London to avoid being extradited to Sweden on sex crimes allegations.