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Assange's mother slams Swedish legal system

Published: 02 Nov 2011 17:01 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Nov 2011 17:01 GMT+01:00

A London High Court decision upholding Julian Assange's extradition to Sweden makes it more likely he will be sent to the United States and even tortured, his mother was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Christine Assange called on Australians to put pressure on the government to secure guarantees that her son would not be extradited to the United States, fearing for his safety, the Australian Associated Press reported.

"Now Julian's even closer to a US extradition or rendition," Assange told AAP. "It's now up to the (Australian) people to use their democracy or lose it.

"If they don't stand up for Julian, he will go to the US and he will be tortured. And he is the person who stood up for the world to expose the truth."

She said she further feared that her son, if extradited to Sweden, could be held indefinitely without charge and without access to visitors, including lawyers, and that any trial could be conducted behind closed doors.

"People think that because Sweden is a Western country that they have a legal system the same as ours, that's completely untrue," she told AAP.

"From the time he hits Sweden, he is going to be lost to any kind of observation from anybody to understand if his human rights are being breached."

But Petter Asp, a professor of criminal law at Stockholm University, said that claims by Assange's mother were off base.

"That's a clear misunderstanding," he told The Local.

While he acknowledged that Sweden's legal system has certain shortcomings, he said that they were no more severe than shortcomings in any other country governed by the rule of law.

According to Asp, much of the criticism directed at the Swedish legal system is unfounded and that Assange would "definitely" receive a fair trial in Sweden.

"One reason for people questioning the Swedish legal system is that a lot of people have sympathy with what he's done in other parts of his life," said Asp.

"But what is quite clear is that even people who do good things can also do bad things."

Earlier on Wednesday, two judges at the High Court in London rejected arguments by the 40-year-old Australian, whose anti-secrecy website has enraged governments around the world, that his extradition would be unlawful.

Assange said he would consult his lawyers about whether to make a further appeal to England's Supreme Court, but doing so would be difficult as judges must first decide that the case is of special public interest.

While Asp refused to pass judgement on the merits of the case or speculate on how long prosecutors may need to pursue their investigation once Assange lands in Sweden, he didn't expect the extradition order to be reversed.

"I can't see how it would be overturned," he said.

Assange has strongly denied the allegations, claiming they are politically motivated and linked to the activities of WikiLeaks. He has been under virtual house arrest since he was first detained in December.

mother called for Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to do more for Assange, who she said had done nothing more than speak the truth.

"Julia Gillard should be standing up to the US and saying 'not this time. You're not going to take one of our countrymen and torture them just because they told the truth'," she told AAP.

"He's been crucified for doing what he was brought up to do," she added.

"I brought my son up to tell the truth, to believe in justice. He was brought up to believe he lived in a democracy and to right any wrongs that he saw... Now I believe that's not true."

Assange now has 14 days to decide whether he will try to take the case to the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

But leave to appeal can only be granted by either the High Court or the Supreme Court, and then only if it there is a point of law of general public importance.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:12 November 2, 2011 by PaulHummerman
The issue is not whether Assange would get a fair trial in Sweden. The issues are (1) is there evidence of rape so strong that it justifies extradition merely to answer questions - questions which could be put, and answered, without extradition ? (2) is there any possibility at all that Assange could be transferred from Sweden to the US to answer far graver, and even less plausible, charges?

Asp seems to miss these central points, though he's well-named.
19:33 November 2, 2011 by GLO
Sorry Mom you raised a criminal. Better try again. Oh! I dont even know anyone that is a criminal and a terrorist, nice job.......
19:47 November 2, 2011 by truthgate777
Sweden is US puppy.
21:15 November 2, 2011 by Pierse
Her sons Human Rights. He deserves no rights!
21:34 November 2, 2011 by useronthenet
Mr Assange ... who thought that there would be no consequences releasing such sensitive information on the internet. Well I would say if you make your bed, you must now lie in it. As for the separate charges against him, we'll he's quite entitled to be tried like any other person on the planet. Sweden is a fair and just country, so I see no reason why he wouldn't be getting a fair trial. But to think just because you have attracted attention by your own doing that entitles you to avoid justice, then think again justice must be seen to be done !

Whilst I agree to a certain degree of freedom of self expression, there are limits to how much the public are entitled to know, given that potentially this could harm innocent lives. We do have certain laws in place, notably the secrets act which is used as a way of protecting the public. Some would argue that all information of any type must be released into the public domain. I for one am against certain types of disclosure. There are some things which need to be withheld in the interest of national security. Whether you agree with this or not, you are of course entitled to express your views, so long as it does not contravene certain laws that are in place ... Wikileaks being no exception to the rule.
21:53 November 2, 2011 by matona1
assange stockholm to new york, new york to guantanamara prison
21:54 November 2, 2011 by philster61
useronthenet

"Sweden is a fair and just country, so I see no reason why he wouldn't be getting a fair trial."

You live in a dream world pal...If you think Sweden is fair, you need to get out more.. The very attitude you express here typical of the "nanny knows best" mentality that permeates the Swedish mentality.... Yet again Sweden feels it needs to "make an example to the world" (such typical backwards thinking) which is why he will never get a fair trial...

This will be a Tito Beltran trial all over again... And that was a travesty of justice...
23:00 November 2, 2011 by shiraz
Australia is a democracy ? One thought Australia and Canada were colonies?
23:20 November 2, 2011 by canam
If someone were to be accused of rape, Sweden is probably the best country to be in. Only place I know in the Western world that blames the victims more than the accusers. His mom should be relieved that he is being tried here and not somewhere that actually takes rape seriously.
04:20 November 3, 2011 by Miners
In Australia we have put democracy into a museum and its housed in the Old Parliament House.Democracy in the Australia today is referred to as The Museum of Democracy.Julian Assange knows exactly whats happening here in Australia and to the legal system within the Australia Courts of Justice.Lets hope he gets the justice he deserves.I think we all agree that we all have freedom of speech under Gods Heaven. We all have a right to live as human beings.Unfortunately, this is being slowly erroded in most Western societies today. Julian Assange chose as his life's work before his conception to do the work he is now being victimised for ie,make world governing bodies more transparent in their dealings with all. If he hasnt done this yet????? he most certainly will succeed in his endeavours in time to come.
07:50 November 3, 2011 by canam
@Miners

You, sir/ma'am, are one scary personality.
13:32 November 3, 2011 by bira
We do have freedom of speech. We do not, however, have freedom to illegally obtain classified information and post it on the internet.
20:23 November 12, 2011 by zoroastrina
The real meaning of "democracy" is "plutocracy". The "Occupy Wall Street" movement and the partial occupation of London's financial district and other worldwide protests against government by, for and of the bankers and equity capital and hedge fund managers cannot be resisted; otherwise, the obscenely wealthy finanacial aristocracy will succeed in having the protestors crushed by the fascistic forces of law and order, ORDER as the "Ordnung" of the fascistic dictatorship of those who are gorged by the bloodmoney provided by the struggles of the poor to obtain a minimal share of society's wealth while the taxpayers pay the lion's share of the bailout money for the rescue of the parasitic financial bloodsuckers.
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