Europe

UK lawmaker criticized over Assange rape comments

Feb. 1, 2012: Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, arrives at the Supreme Court in London.  Ecuador said Thursday that it was granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a decision that thrilled supporters but will do little to defuse the standoff at the Latin American nation's London embassy, where the Australian ex-hacker has been holed up for almost two months.

Feb. 1, 2012: Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, arrives at the Supreme Court in London. Ecuador said Thursday that it was granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a decision that thrilled supporters but will do little to defuse the standoff at the Latin American nation's London embassy, where the Australian ex-hacker has been holed up for almost two months.  (AP2012)

Activists say an outspoken British lawmaker must retract his claim that sex crimes allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange do not constitute rape.

George Galloway of the Respect party said Monday the alleged crimes were "bad sexual etiquette, but whatever else it is, it is not rape."

 Rape Crisis, a charity, said Galloway's description was "offensive and deeply concerning." Liberal Democrat lawmaker Jo Swinson demanded Galloway "apologize and retract his comments immediately."

Assange has resisted efforts for two years to extradite him for questioning in Sweden over allegations of sexual molestation, unlawful coercion and rape.

One woman accuses Assange of intentionally damaging a condom during sex. A second woman claims he had sex with her while she was asleep, which can be considered rape under Swedish law.

Assange denies wrongdoing.