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I am innocent, Julian Assange tells Cambridge Union

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continued to protest his innocence over sexual assault allegations as he appeared at Cambridge University's debating society.

Mr Assange's appearance before the Cambridge Union, by video-link from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, had attracted controversy with members being balloted over the decision and the society's women's officer resigning.

The event at the 200-year-old society went ahead on Wednesday night after the majority of members voted in favour, but journalists were barred from attending.

Mr Assange gave a speech entitled The Challenges to Freedom of Speech in the West to a packed house before taking questions from the audience.

Asked about the rape allegation he has faced in Sweden since 2010, he told members: "N o woman has alleged rape against me. Formally I have already been cleared by the chief investigator of Stockholm."

Asked why he had chosen to base himself in the embassy - where he has lived since 2013 to avoid extradition - given Ecuador's human rights record, Mr Assange said: "I t was the first country with a democracy to step forward."

He gave no clues about his future plans, saying they would be dictated by a "political situation" which "depended on public support".

Mr Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador. He is seeking to avoid being extradited to Sweden where he faces a sex allegation because he fears he will be sent to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks.

Earlier this year Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation into two allegations - one of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion - after running out of time to question him. He still faces the more serious accusation of rape.

He faces arrest if he leaves the embassy building, although police have removed a 24-hour guard.

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