He is indeed innocent. I have to say that he's innocent of these charges, because Swedish law says they have to be dropped, if you can successfully hide for 5 years. And I do believe in the rule of law. Although in the UK we don't run our system the same way, so the same trick wouldn't work.
But the Swedes have a much more liberal judicial and penal system than us, and there's much to admire about how the Nordics go about running their societies.
Of course that, and the fact that Assange said he was planning to seek permanent residency in Sweden, does rather undermine his claims about fearing that he's been set up by the evil Swedes to be fitted up for a crime he didn't commit without fair trial, then shipping off to the States. Given that he'd chosen to hang out in Sweden when he already claimed that the US were after him, and then chose to run to the UK - not a sensible place to be if you want to avoid Uncle Sam!
So I am entitled to be of the opinion that everything he says is total bollocks. And that he's got a proven track record in this case of getting his lawyers to put out misleading statements, and has many loyal supporters willing to do the same.
And no, he wasn't in hiding before all this blew up. He only went into hiding after the UK courts had finally blocked his final attempt to avoid being sent to Sweden to face the charges he'd already run away from. At which point he broke his bail, and fled to the Ecuadorian embassy.
So he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Which means I am very careful with my language. But, I am entitled to take a view on his actions too. And I find them rather objectionable. He came to my country, got a more than fair hearing from our courts, who ruled that there was at least enough evidence to answer to charges of rape, but obviously it wasn't their job to rule on how good that evidence was. Only that it was enough for charges under UK law. Then he abused our hospitality, and buggered off, costing us quite a bit of money to enforce the laws of the land.
The only conclusions that I find that fit the data are that he's insanely paranoid, or that he's guilty. Admittedly the paranoia bit is quite likely, from everything I've read about him. But his attitude to women and what he's said about the charges could equally be interpreted to say that he's guilty as hell, and getting away with it.
Although as he's voluntarily locked himself in a tiny embassy for years, "getting away with it" obviously isn't true.
From a distance it's hard to know what combination of narcissim, his political beliefs, paranoia, publicity seeking and a weird childhood drives his actions. But he doesn't strike me as a particularly admirable human being. His supporters are often as self-righteous and annoying as he is. And I'm not all that convinced by Wikileaks. The Afghan war logs don't seem to have shown anything untoward, certainly I've seen nothing to justify the risk to the life of innocent Afghan locals of publishing them. Although I believe Julian Assange did say something like "they're informers, so fuck 'em". Which was nice...
Anyway the 'Collateral Murder' video showed nothing of the sort, just the usual fuck up you get in warzones. Someone pointed a camera at a helicopter during a convoy escort operation, and got shot at. The initial version edited out the weapons that the party who were attacked were carrying too, not that those weapons were a reason to attack them, but the cockpit audio suggested that the crew thought they'd seen an RPG and so fired. They sounded more inexperienced, and a bit panicky, than malevolent.
The diplomatic cables were interesting. I'm not sure they told us anything we didn't already know. It's hard to know whether they did more good (political transparency is worth something after all) than the probable slight harm to diplomatic communications - but I'm not sure they were worth Chelsea Manning going to prison for.