The rape allegations were little more than an underhanded ploy (potentially orchestrated by the US government) to publicly humiliate Assange.
Assange has suggested that there were many aspects of the rape allegations that suggest the charges were falsified and he was set up. He said that the United States government had a good reason to want to see Assange publicly humiliated and discredited. It is plausible that it was involved in the plot to publicly smear him.
The rape allegations refer to two incidents that took place just a few months after Assange allegedly conspired with Chelsea Manning to hack a US Defense Department network. The argument goes that the US would have wanted to get back at Assange for exposing its misconduct in Iraq and Afghanistan. The first accusation, filed by Miss Ardin, alleges that Assange raped her. She admits that she consensually agreed to sex with a condom. However, she believes Assange tampered with the condom before intercourse, making the sexual encounter unconsensual. The second allegation, from a Miss W, also relates to an encounter where the victim gave their consent to sex with a condom. She admits her and Assange had consensual, protected sex on the night in question. However, she alleges Assange raped her in the morning. He allegedly had sex with her without a condom while she slept. Miss Ardin allowed Assange to sleep in her apartment for several days after the encounter took place. They continued to share a bed and Ardin also allegedly spoke warmly about Assange to friends. Miss W also allegedly exchanged text messages with a friend shortly after her alleged encounter with Assange in which she and her friend joked about making money from her encounter with Assange. These facts demonstrate that the rape charges are not credible and should be treated with extreme caution. It is unclear what the women's motives are, they may be political or financial, but it is clear that they are making the allegations for ulterior motives.
People close to Assange have suggested that the reports are credible. A coordinator of the Swedish Wikileaks group called them "very very credible". However, the credibility of the claims is not important. If Assange is confident that he did not commit the crimes in question and the women's cases are fabrications, then he should not fear returning to Sweden to clear his name. Sweden has an independent judiciary and guarantees defendants a fair trial. He will have the opportunity to fight the charges and if he is innocent of the crimes in question, he will be exonerated.
[P1] The rape allegations are not credible. [P2] Therefore, Assange should not be extradited to Sweden
[Rejecting P1] They are credible. Even if they are not, he should still be extradited to allow the case to play out in the courts and allow Assange to clear his name.