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ASSANGE EXTRADITION BATTLE
Assange thanks Ecuador, condemns the US

Assange thanks Ecuador, condemns the US

Published: 19 Aug 2012 15:21 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Aug 2012 16:13 GMT+02:00

Assange emerged dressed in a blue shirt and tie onto the balcony at the embassy on Sunday afternoon and was met by a round of cheers and applause from some sections of the gathered crowd.

"The world were watching because you were watching," the WikiLeaks founder said in thanks to his supporters who had gathered outside the embassy in response to an increase in the police presence.

Reading from a prepared statement, the Australian began by thanking Ecuador and its president Rafael Correa, and a slew of Latin American countries for standing up for the political asylum process.

"A courageous Latin American country has taken a stand for justice," he said.

He also expressed thanks to "the people" of Sweden, the UK, the US and Australia who had offered him their support. And there was also a mention for his children and family.

"Forgive me, we will be reunited soon," he said to cheers from the crowd gathered in the light rain in the plush London neighbourhood of Knightsbridge.

Assange then directed his ire towards the United States government and called on the Obama administration to leave WikiLeaks alone and end its FBI investigation.

"The US administration's war on whistleblowers must end," Assange said. "As WikiLeaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression."

He continued to call for the release of Private Bradley Manning, the alleged source of much of the classified material published by WikiLeaks.

"He is a hero and an example to all of us and one of the world's foremost political prisoners," Assange said.

He furthermore challenged the US to not "pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful".

Assange concluded by expressing support to the jailed Russian punk band Pussy Riot and then made a thumbs up sign and departed back inside the embassy.

The 41-year-old Australian however made no mention of the extradition process of which he is the subject nor the sex offence allegations against him in Sweden.

Despite Ecuador providing a haven for Assange, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said Britain had no choice but to seek his extradition.

Britain has angered Ecuador by suggesting it could invoke the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act of 1987, which it says allows it to revoke the diplomatic immunity of an embassy on British soil and go in to arrest Assange.

Assange, 41, took refuge in the embassy on June 19th to evade extradition to Sweden. Supporters of the former hacker believe that once in Sweden he could be extradited to the United States.

The South American country has meanwhile received powerful backing from regional allies as they warned Britain of "grave consequences" if it breaches diplomatic security at the London embassy.

Foreign ministers from the Venezuela-led so-called Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America (ALBA) flew to Ecuador on Saturday to demonstrate full diplomatic support.

"We warn the government of the United Kingdom that it will face grave consequences around the world if it directly breaches the territorial integrity of the Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador in London," said a statement issued at the end of the ALBA meeting.

WikiLeaks' publication of a vast cache of confidential government files has enraged the US government, while his backers fear he could be tried on espionage charges there and face the death penalty.

In 2010, WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of US military documents on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as diplomatic cables that deeply embarrassed Washington.

AFP/Peter Vinthagen Simpson

Follow Peter on Twitter here.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

16:17 August 19, 2012 by Scott McCoy
What a total Douchebag
16:24 August 19, 2012 by david anderson
Pretty strong words scott....theres an old saying " It takes one to spot one"

JA is right on...US, Sweden, Englang and their government greatest fear is exposure of their crimes.
16:28 August 19, 2012 by ontheball
Smoke that Bildt.
16:36 August 19, 2012 by JohnAndersson
The Swedish prosecutors were invited twice to interview Assange in the UK, and declined both times. They refuse to promise that Assange will not be extradited to a third country. He has not been charged with any crime, yet they were allowed to issue an interpol red notice. Strong powers at work to quiet the worlds greatest voice.

This entire incident is bringing great shame on our country.
16:43 August 19, 2012 by smilingjack
A former North Texas high school teacher was convicted Friday and sentenced to five years in prison for having sex with five 18-year-old students at her home.

the land of the free and home of the brave - ba hahhahhahhahha!

they want JA for exposing who the really are and wont stop until they get him.

try reading 1984.
16:44 August 19, 2012 by SOIS.COM
Scott, you sound about as intelligent as a US government employee. I remember when David Merkel was stationed in Sweden. He reported to Condolezza Rice under Bush. He was here on the surface to work on creating an internet ID. When in reality he was here to help take the data that runs through Sweden and analyze it with US systems.

How do I know this?...because David's kids went to my kids school and David has loose lips after a couple of drinks. He would often cast about various euphemisms for people who held a different political view or opinion. Those are the type of people the us government promotes...small minds filled with hate for anyone or anything they do not believe in.

Wikileaks helps to expose the US for what it is. People are catching on. Dont get caught out in the cold Scotty.
16:52 August 19, 2012 by Dazzler
Had Uncle Leon called me, I could of done the world a favor and ended this today!
17:06 August 19, 2012 by rob582
@David Anderson, please get your facts right before commenting, England does not have a government, its Great Britain, and go and be liberal somewhere else.
17:29 August 19, 2012 by david anderson
The last I heard ...London is in Englang.

You might be right about not having a government, more like a puppet dictatorship.

A rose by any other name is still a rose.
17:35 August 19, 2012 by Eric1
I wonder if this man and Wikileaks will release the cables between Ecuador and it's Embassy in London concerning his asylum request. After all openness is what he wants isn't it?
17:35 August 19, 2012 by Nomark
JohnAndersson

Why should the justice system run according to the schedule of a suspect in criminal investigation ?

On another note, this is all rather funny. Wikileaks releases a stack of diplomatic cables, affecting the US government''s relationship with other countries. JA then demands that the US stops attacking Wikileaks !!!?????? You couldn't make this up. Here is a man so convinced that he is right that everyone else (including those whose interests he's damaged) should also see it.

As he's discovering, the world doesn't run according how JA thinks it should.
17:38 August 19, 2012 by skogsbo
heroic Ecuador?, heroic Manning?, coward Assange; for certain.
17:41 August 19, 2012 by Eric1
Wow, the America haters are out in force. Assange is a douchebag.
17:45 August 19, 2012 by david anderson
There seems to be a lot of people who don't understand what the word fact means.' A thing that has actually happened or is true"

Ja is charged with nothing, he is wanted only for questioning. And he has offered to submit to that on several occasions.
17:48 August 19, 2012 by BackpackerKev
@Rob582

"please get your facts right before commenting"

England does have a government, its called the london assembly.
17:51 August 19, 2012 by david anderson
I am a Swedish American....and I don't hate America, but I do know fact from fiction.

Many of you seem to forget that JA was in Sweden and already submited to questioning and no charges were brought...WHY?...because they were probly Bull--it
17:52 August 19, 2012 by JohnAndersson
Nomark: You obviously haven't been questioned by the Swedish police before, unless you are being charged or have been charged (Assange is only wanted for questioning, there are NO charges against him) then they will contact you for an interview, which you can schedule. If you do not show up or it takes too long for you to schedule a time with the police, then they may send someone knocking on your door to do an unscheduled interview.

This is a sensitive diplomatic incident, both the UK and Ecuador have attempted to solve it by allowing investigators access to Assange in London.

In any case, the accusations against Assange are highly suspect. One of the two girls has earlier been paid by a CIA think-tank while working in the USA at the Swedish embassy. The coincidence of two girls from different parts of Sweden randomly meeting as strangers in Stockholm, then discussing their most intimate affairs, to find out they both slept with the same man, is also suspect.

If the Swedish prosecutors had enough evidence to file an arrest warrant, they should have already done it. They should end this charade, either issue a warrant, or cease this politically motivated game.
17:53 August 19, 2012 by philster61
rob582. you are mistaken, England has its own Government, as does Scotland. I take it that's what you are referring to?

It is interesting to note how US posters criticize Assange for every crime under the sun and yet advocate freedom of speech....quite hypocritical
17:57 August 19, 2012 by david anderson
The one thing I understand well is: when gov. operate in the dark and the shadows they want no exposure. One of their first claim is "TRAITOR" in an effort to slicence the truth.
17:59 August 19, 2012 by Nomark
JohnAndersson

Nothing you wrote refutes anything I wrote. Sorry. Read again and try again.

Regarding the probability argument you made about the two girl meeting, this is utterly facile. Try not to be an amateur statistician - your type of flawed reasoning has led to a number of people unfairly sent to prison on the basis of "its too improbable to be coincidence". Probability theory is subtle.
18:04 August 19, 2012 by david anderson
To John Andersson; Thank You !!

For sticking to the facts.

David Anderson
18:19 August 19, 2012 by Nomark
David Anderson

Perhaps you also need some lectures in the application of basic statistics theory ?
18:41 August 19, 2012 by tigger007
Assange should have known better to air out other people's laundry,you can't do this without strong backing and support.Governments,private organizations,and others don't like their dirty laundry exposed to the world.He shouldn't be suprised by all this,if you are gonna play this game play it to the end.HEROS DON'T HIDE Mr.Assange be a man and fight! Mr.Assange if you are innocent of these charges fight it,it's your duty to fight for your good name.Some of you on this comment page are stating facts that are half truths or had no bases what so ever.Did the CIA or the FBI pay anybody to fabricate the charges against Mr.Assange?(WE DON'T KNOW)!! Skogsbo said it right''heroic Ecuador?, heroic Manning?, coward Assange; for certain''
18:57 August 19, 2012 by JohnAndersson
tigger007: Assange hasn't been charged with anything. He is wanted for questioning.
18:58 August 19, 2012 by david anderson
Nomark,

Now let me see if I understand?

If I'll sit down and shut-up, you'll lecture me.sssssss

Sorry
19:05 August 19, 2012 by byke
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:29 August 19, 2012 by david anderson
Nomark,

I doubt that you know a theory from a turd.

If I listen to your theory? We would have one fool talking and one fool listening. I don't think I want to be your fool.

Anymore than I want to be the government's fool.
19:48 August 19, 2012 by 50öre
There are many people who raped in Sweden.

Then why not expose all? Why Sweden is mentioning only J.A has done sexual offence?

There was a girl who came back from Greece and complained that someone raped her and took social money I guess.

There was a girl who told had been raped in summer sports camp site.

How many are true?

I think the girl might just had sex or just knew J.A. Now she needs money.
20:25 August 19, 2012 by Nomark
David Anderson

Please engage in the substance of the argument rather than throwing abuse.

BTW I'm a researcher and my job is the experimental tests and falsification of theories in the physical sciences. Mentioning this is not a dubious appeal to authority - rather a statement that I'm more than familiar with the basics of statistics theory and I therefore (a) will point out when a facile use of probabilistic reasoning is made and (b) am more than happy to discuss any statistical argument from first principles. Please go ahead and make the argument you support.
20:55 August 19, 2012 by DiegoP
Assange is a hero for most of us, true. He faces charges in Sweden he should respond to, true. The pasts of the girls accusing him are very shady, true. The political shady motivations of the prosecutors and their reluctance to interview him abroad, supertrue.

I'm afraid all this is a messy dark matter and facts are hard to spot here. But if you ask what I believe, I believe all this is orchestrated by the powerful governments and Sweden is acting sadly as a puppet. I think Assange is right. Just an opinion.

In another subject, Rafael Correa's government and other South American governments (like Venezuela's) are famous for their abuses against freedom of speech and bullying the press. I find it quite funny that all of the sudden they are standing in favour of freedom of speech. Double morals? Redemption?
20:55 August 19, 2012 by GLO
Assange the Terrorist and Rappist, his family must be proud.......
21:01 August 19, 2012 by PFCA
Assange is neither a terrorist nor a rapist. Through Wikileaks he proved what freedom of speech should be. The sex he had with the two women, was consensual.
21:03 August 19, 2012 by frenchviking
My personal opinion is that what JA did, I mean sharing openly some private communications, was not right. Taking written communications that were supposed to be private and sharing them in the open and out of context is not fair as it is easy to misinterpret people's actual intentions...

Personally I have many times written or said things I did not really mean because I was acting under the influence of emotions and got carried away, or because I was in a hurry, or because I wanted to create a reaction from the people I was communicating to, or because I was trying to make a joke (probably a stupid one, but that sounded good at the time), or for other reasons...

So I am not a great supporter of wikileaks and I do think it is actually dangerous to leak such information out of context...

However I am also of the opinion that it is people's rights to do so as it is part of freedom of speech. And I think that it is crazy that in countries such as ours governments can stop people from doing so... This is something you would expect from Russia, China our North Korea... Not from Sweden, the UK or from the USA. And what is Australia doing???

I think that it is our freedom of speech that we should fight for and so I think we should support JA.

Sweden is a country that stands for so many good things, I cannot understand that it now is trying to help the US silence JA...

As most people think I believe that the rape accusations are fabricated. Actually it is a disgrace when you think that other women actually have been suffering real rapes and are struggling to convince people that they are telling the truth just because there are people who do not hesitate to make up false accusations like these... Women protection organisations should stand against such fabrications as it is an insult to real victims and makes the life or real victims much more difficult.
21:06 August 19, 2012 by Svensksmith
Well, glad that's settled then.
21:07 August 19, 2012 by cogito
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
21:36 August 19, 2012 by timbenton51
How come nobody is calling for the two women accusers in the case to make a public statement about what ACTUALLY happened??

No one ever makes an attempt to interview them. I never read editorials calling for these women to come out and set the record straight. How come?

The women know darn well there was no "rape". All that was reported in the police reports was that they wanted him to get a STD test. One of them was even quoted as saying "there was no rape' IN THE POLICE REPORT.

Yet this myth of a rape continues unabated.

So......why don't more people start asking these women to just tell what actually did happen? I find it very strange.
21:48 August 19, 2012 by Byggare Bob
Because they are the alleged victims and are not suspects in any crime? Just a thought.
21:55 August 19, 2012 by Nomark
timbenton51

Those who allege sexual assault are afforded anonymity for a number of good reasons. These two have had their anonymity removed and been subject to a vile hate campaign from JA supporters. If that isn't bad enough you now want them to make public statements.

Please, try to understand how a justice system works. Anyone complaining to the police about a possible crime is not then obliged to hold a press conference. If you really want to know what went on then, should it come to a trial, their evidence will be put forward and JA's legal team given the chance to question it. This is the usual way one assesses the guilty or innocence of somebody accused a crime Its often imperfect but is a whole lot better than judgement by website.

The only person stopping a trial (should it come to that ) is JA who refuses to adhere to the Swedish justice system.
22:35 August 19, 2012 by matona1
i am watching
23:16 August 19, 2012 by cheeba
@ Byggare Bob,

If they are lying they are committing both libel and slander.
23:33 August 19, 2012 by voiceofreason
Trying leaking Chinese or Russian cables or that of the mexican drug gangs, let's see some fairness from the all-righteous JA
23:41 August 19, 2012 by spy
I say let the cowardly snake go to Ecuador and stay there for the rest of his days.
23:54 August 19, 2012 by jack sprat
The sad little turd is up sh!t creek without a paddle.

No one seriously cares a toss about him and Washington will no doubt be having a good laugh.

Judging by today's performance he's little more than a puppet or new toy for the Ecuadorians to play with as they wish.
00:19 August 20, 2012 by Uncle
@DiegoP

"Assange is a hero for most of us, true"

....aaand the rest can be omitted. Statistical "truths" are apparently so glaring, that there is no discussion..
00:46 August 20, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
Was it suppose to be satire. Time and time again Assange demonstrates to be a pompous know it all without knowing what he is talking about. Oh well, there will always be gullible people who believe that the Atheist is immortal.
01:13 August 20, 2012 by ELaimins
What a jerk this Assange is.

Is there no hole this alleged rapist and felon wouldn't crawl into to try and escape being called to account for his actions??
01:53 August 20, 2012 by Camlon
ELaimins: Maybe because he doesn't want life in prison in the US? Just give the assurance, and he will come to Sweden. This case costs 50000 pounds per day. That is money that could be used to punish many other rapists.

Do you seriously think he is scared of getting like 1 year in luxury prison in Sweden. No, he is scared of getting life in prison in the US.

But my feeling is that the Assange haters really want him to be sent to the US, but they are too scared of telling the truth, and need to hide behind a rape case.
02:33 August 20, 2012 by AndrewFromAustralia
As an Australian who has some sense of loyalty to one of my nationals, I nonetheless can't help but think that some here (and in general) might seeing this issue in an overly simplistic polarized fashion - and that goes for both the conspiracy theorists and the lynch mobs.

Is it possible there are two separate issues here with an element of truth on both groups takes: 1. that JA IS being pursued by powerful interests in the US who do not share his approach to free speech; 2. that JA is also being pursued by an extremely vigilant Swedish justice system which insists he follow correct judicial procedure by having his case tried on Swedish soil (returning there after new evidence has come to light which warrants the case being reopened - regardless of the veracity of the evidence)?

On the first point, it would seem JA has some grounds to fear the sort of treatment he might receive if extradited to the US. However, he may also have grounds to fear being imprisoned in Sweden if indeed he is guilty of a sex related crime there (and my understanding is that crimes associated with "violating sexual integrity" are some of the strictest in the world in Sweden).

If both are true then even if there is no risk of him being extradited from Sweden (which - and please correct me if I am wrong - I wouldn't have thought would be any easier to achieve than extraditing him from Great Britain), I would think that avoiding possible trail (for "terrorist related activities") in the US might present a convenient cover for avoiding prosecution in Sweden.

I guess the only way of really knowing is if he did stand trial in Sweden. I have some doubts about the straightforwardness of this one though.
03:45 August 20, 2012 by ELaimins
@Camlon

"Maybe because he doesn't want life in prison in the US?"

Then he shouldn't have committed any crimes. It really is as simple as that...
05:27 August 20, 2012 by JosePatricio
I wanna be in sweden ....
05:44 August 20, 2012 by Camlon
Andrew:

Actually Sweden has one of the most lenient laws for rape, and their resolve rate is pathetic. Hence, Sweden also has a very high rape rate, And most prisons in Sweden are quite nice, hence he has nothing to worry about getting a year in prison in Sweden.

ELaimins

Maybe he will hide in the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid getting life in prison for something he and the whole South American do not believe is a crime.
06:43 August 20, 2012 by AndrewFromAustralia
Caton:

An Interesting take. I had always assumed Sweden's definition of rape - extending to any "infringement of another person's 'sexual integrity'" - as the reason for their inordinately high reports of sexual assault (one author claims a four-fold increase in reports since this law/definition was enacted: (http://gwynnedyer.com/2010/the-accusations-against-assange/). That in turn suggested a country more willing to deal with sexual assault - which of course fits with the stereotype of a more progressive society. I'm not Swedish though, nor do I claim much knowledge of the Swedish legal system, so always interesting to hear other points of view (especially given the complexity of this case involving my countryman, which has become inextricably bound to the country of my forebears.)
07:49 August 20, 2012 by BackpackerKev
If you look at Sweden's history of how it deals with criminals who have raped or attempted rape, the judgement has been more than lenient in many cases where the perpetrator will get minimum community service and a fine, to 2-3 years in a luxury prison. The system is a joke. The recent case of attempted rape from a man on a transgendered man got thrown out and changed to assault because it was deemed impossible to be raped and yet still the victim suffered exactly the same as a female would with an attempted rape case. Sweden needs to be tougher on laws, but no-one has the balls the set a precedent in cases and will take many many years to close stupid loopholes due to peoples ignorance at the time they were made.
07:53 August 20, 2012 by Camlon
Yeah, Swedes claim their definition of rape is much wider than other countries, but I don't really think so. I think it is an excuse, so they don't have to admit that the country has a problem with rapes.

I am originally from Norway, and in Norway having sex with a woman asleep is rape, just like in Sweden. I also don't think the reporting culture is that different. But the Norwegian rape rate is much lower. Some other people claim it is the immigrants, but I think the main factor is their low resolve rate. There are not that many rapists, so if you catch some then you reduce the amount substantially,

In Sweden there was 6532 reported rapes in 2011, but only 152 got sent to prison for rape. Also, about half of them will get very short sentences of a year or so. There is no reason Assange should be scared of going to prison in Sweden.

Also, to another point you made. The reason it is easier in Sweden is not really due to the law system. Although, due to its simple nature it is easier to get things done. It is because they can detain him in Sweden, so he can't run off to an embassy when US ask for extradition.
09:02 August 20, 2012 by procrustes
I've always wondered how sex with a sleeping person is possible. Assuming the person is not chemically dosed, which is nowhere in any statements, I just don't see how that can happen.

The other thing is the nomenclature at work reveals bias. Rape is a horrific crime and an early morning snuggle after sex the night before does not even come close to what the word rape communicates. Do people insist on using that word with respect to JA because their motive has nothing to do with fairness or clarity?

There IS a grand jury convened in the USA to press charges against JA. As soon as he's in hands friendly to the USA prosecutors one can be sure a "verdict" will be forthcoming.
10:40 August 20, 2012 by si
Guilty or inncoent, right or wrong one thing is certatin; JA is wicked annoying - Suspect much of his circus act is executing in an attempt to feed his own god ego. Shame we can't lock him him for that.
11:04 August 20, 2012 by rob582
Shame a vigilante didn't pop him with a sniper rifle when he poked his head out...
11:52 August 20, 2012 by rise
I remember Bill Clinton saying "I did not have sex with that woman".

Where there's smoke there's fire.
12:27 August 20, 2012 by AndrewFromAustralia
Camlon & Backpackerkev:

Disappointing the Swedish judicial system does not appear as effective as I'd imagined. If did seem far more organized and law abiding than what I see in Australia. Distant fields?

Anyway, given this apparent reality, perhaps the prosecutor is now trying to project an image of a more vigilant Swedish legal system by seeking to try someone high profile like JA? Seems more logical to me than this supposed plot to extradite him on other charges (which should already have happened based on a 2003 UK-US suspect transfer agreement).
13:52 August 20, 2012 by Camlon
Andrew:

I do believe the prosecutor is aiming to punish him as people do take rape charges seriously.

But why aren't they doing anything about their high rape rate, and their low resolve rate. The problem is that Sweden don't want to admit they have a problem, and they are terrified of making the anti-immigration party, Sweden Democrats stronger as immigrants is clearly overrepresented. Hence, they don't want to talk about their rape problems.

But Swedes do take rapes seriously, so I do think people want to get justice for Assange. However, US also see that as an opportunity to extradite him to the US, and top politicans in Sweden agree.
14:17 August 20, 2012 by ltch65
Perhaps the Aussies need to pipe up with something - hes one of yours after all.

He wont stay in the Embasy much longer anyway. HIs whole 'being' is built on his image and that of his need to announce to the world just how awful everyone is and just how everyone - notably the US and other western nations - that there is some great conspiracy (and perhaps there is...!), so he'll walk soon.

Perhap Equador needs to consider what it is doing by letting a person who has claimed asylum make speeches in this manner. Remember, whether its true or not his allegation is of sexual assault, nothing more at this stage.

Plus you can get all the support you need from your South Amercian 'friends' at the minute Equador, but there is no benefit for you doing this - only your plank of a dictator who is in this for his own political reasons.
17:00 August 20, 2012 by smilingjack
andrew from australia are you aware of the laws in australia courtesy of the USA. where you can be held indefinitely with no legal assistance and no contact from your family. when or if your released you are not allowed to communicate what happened to your family. we are another "democratic" western nation.

individuals: without evidence; and without criminal involvement; may be detained and interrogated by Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO); disclosing that an individual has been so detained or interrogated is a crime.

thats just the tip of the ice berg. check wikipedia for australian anti terrorism act 2005 and get very scared.

how about a quick trip to turkey so they can do the torturing for you?

yes JA should rightfully be very afraid of our western democratic governments. everyone should. Absolutely the rape accusations are a smoke screen to get him out into the open.
17:50 August 20, 2012 by olga118
"I think this is ironic that you have a journalist, or an activist, seeking political asylum from a government that has - after Cuba - the poorest record of free speech in the region, and the practice of persecuting local journalists when the government is upset by their opinions or their research," José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch's Americas division, told the Guardian.

I also think it is ironic.
18:33 August 20, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
If Assange is forcefully taken out of the embassy, Ecuador, and possibly additional nations in South America, will almost certainly place the UK ambassador(s) and/or other diplomatic staff under house arrest until Assange is released. What will the UK do then?
21:26 August 20, 2012 by Nomark
Reason and Realism

You should perhaps choose a different username.

Where is the evidence that the UK diplomatic staff would be placed under house arrest ? What expertise do you have in the field of diplomatic relations to make such a claim ?

Sounds to me that you're making things up.
00:04 August 21, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Nomark

The Ecuadorian government has threatened 'severe consequences'.

The British are on the brink of revoking diplomatic status for the premises of the Ecuadorian embassy, to unilaterally ignore the 1961 Vienna convention on the inviolability of diplomatic presmises, to utterly ignore Ecuadorian sovereignty, and to apprehend someone from within that embassy who has been granted immunity by Ecuador, and then hand him over to Sweden without a guarantee that the Swedes will not send him to the USA.

Importantly, Sweden is a nation that has previously handed over two Egyptian suspects to the CIA without due process.

Why house arrest of the UK ambassador? South Americans are known for symmetric responses. After the US imposed mandatory fingerprinting and photographs of all visitng foreigners, the Brazilians imposed that step on all visiting Americans, but on no one else.

Garcon, the Spanish lawyer who issued the international arrest warrant for Pinnochet while he was visiting the UK several years ago, is now leading Assange's defense team, and this alone lends a lot of credibility to Assange's defense, particularly in the Spanish speaking world, and on the South American continent in particular, and this is true whether you or I personally hate Assange or consider him a hero.

I am not ADVOCATING the response of placing the UK ambassador under house arrest, I am merely suggesting that, given all of the above, house arrest of the UK ambassador is not a wildly unreasonable possibility, even if only as a worst case diplomatic scenario.
05:17 August 21, 2012 by AndrewFromAustralia
ltch65

"Perhaps the Aussies need to pipe up with something - hes one of yours after all."

From what I can gauge (in local newspaper editorials etc) there seems to be considerable support for JA within Australia, and disappointment he is not receiving more diplomatic support. The problem is, both sides of politics here (the conservative "Liberal" opposition and the once liberal Labor government) seem to be heavily influenced by more powerful governments (like the US).

smilingjack

This dovetails with what you were saying smilingjack - about the laws in Australia following the American model in a number of respects. I am no legal expert but we do seem to have a number of laws (e.g. a law which enabled indefinite detention of one of our own nationals in Guantanomo Bay) which follow in step with the US.

And it would seem from what a number of others are saying hre that Sweden may not be immune from this influence. I had been under the impression (courtesy of foreign affairs writers like Gwynne Dyer who's opinion I respect: http://gwynnedyer.com/2010/the-accusations-against-assange/) that Sweden's desire to try JA was perhaps a separate matter; and one being used as a smokescreen by JA's defense team. I am no longer so sure.
16:56 August 21, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
There are a lot of people just "blowing wind" on the state of Sweden's justice system.

Of the Nordic nations it is number 1 on fundamental legal rights. And they are 1 of 66 nations on that same index.

Assange is either being paranoiac disillusioned, or trying to rehabilitate his image.

Even if the accusations in Sweden are proven true in a court of law, Assange will recover.

His refusal to maturely address the accusations has damaged his reputations. This would be made worse if his is convicted. A conviction will only damage any political ambitions.

Assange is playing with his future.
06:28 August 22, 2012 by Franciscodeflores
As a U.S. citizen its nice to see Sweden grovel and carry water for the American Empire. Actual journalism is a crime that could carry a death sentence here especially under the charge that a secret grand jury is investigating Julian Assange for. The Espionage Act was passed in 1917 to subdue those who protested involvement in WWI and even resulted in a presidential candidate being imprisoned for encouraging resistance to that war. Assange a coward? He seems like a wise man to me.
13:19 August 22, 2012 by rufus.t.firefly
I seldom hear people talk about Julian Assange here in Sweden, but I've never seen so many posts. They must be thinking about its potential ramifications.

I just wish to reiterate the most important thing that has been stated in many entries: he has not been formally charged with any offence, criminal or otherwise. That alone is all the information needed to make a judgement as to the merits of the attempt to extradite him.
14:04 August 22, 2012 by cogito
Comments #26 and 35 were deleted. Those comments criticized the writer for skewed and slanted elements in his article. In the past there have been numerous and far harsher critiques of some of TL's women writers. Those comments were not deleted. Good for the goose, but not the gander?

I find nothing in the TL terms that bans criticizing a writer for sloppy journalism
17:02 August 23, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:

Sweden's 'reinterpretation' of the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA, a common legal practice in the European Union. It is an agreement between two countries to help cooperation during investigation of alleged crimes. The EU's website states "mutual legal assistance and agreements on extradition are essential for the EU in order to achieve a European area of justice".

The Swedish prosecution has requested Julian Assange's extradition for the purpose of questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct. He is yet to be formally charged with an offense.

Since his arrest, Mr Assange has offered himself to be questioned under the MLA practices, by telephone, video conference, or in person. He continues to retain this offer, even during his current stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy as he awaits a decision on his application for asylum. The Ecuadorians have agreed to letting the Swedish prosecution come to the Embassy to question him.

WikiLeaks' legal adviser Jennifer Robinson met with Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt on July 5 during Almedalen Week, a political conference in Gotland. She discussed with him the allegations against Julian Assange and why Sweden has refused to question him over the past 18 months.

He told me it's not allowed. And when I pointed out that Sweden had only recently done just that in a murder investigation in Serbia, he had no reply.

Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny made similar statements in 2010, saying that Swedish Law prevents Mr Assange being interviewed by telephone or video link, and that both Swedish and British law prevent her from traveling to London to question Mr Assange. Many of the articles containing the latter statement were later removed.

Since Julian Assange has not been formally charged, he does not have the rights of a defendant, i.e. access to the full accusations against him or any of the evidence. Could the fact that he only faces allegations affect the use of MLA law?

The guidelines for getting Mutual Legal Assistance from the UK state the contrary.

In the section entitled "What must be included in a Letter of Request" it states:

A description of the offences charged or under investigation and sentence or penalty

Furthermore, in an "Example Letter of Request" it states:

Supply information on the charge or proposed charge.

A full page of the document is also dedicated to the information needed to request a telephone or video conference call, which includes an address, a possible list of questions, and any formal notification of rights.

Neither Carl Bildt nor Marianne Ny would explain how or why it is illegal under Swedish law to question Mr Assange via telephone, video conference, or in person. With no explanation on their behalf, the EU promoting the use of Mutual Legal Assistance, and a document explaining how to achieve information this way, it opens the door for speculation as to why Sweden refuses to question Mr Assange.

Source: Guess!
18:37 August 23, 2012 by alecLoTh
It would not be going to far to reiterate, that the debate now is only circling the primary issue - this man has not been charged. Interpol has a lot of work to do, but they will go after someone with no charge? Any half-reasoning person can tell that hands are being shaken, nods are being acknowledged and calls are being made in the background.

@Nomark you cant get any blinder, so maybe you should be happy, because things can only get better from now on.
20:38 August 25, 2012 by ILIOS ELLAS
Please help promote this link wherever you can; if you believe in freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Julian

Assange for the Nobel prize for freedom of the press:

www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Julian_Assange_for_Nobel_prize_Freedom_of_the_Press/

Lets see how "Noble" the Norwegians and their righteous Swede neighbors are or claim to be, since they offered Obama the Nobel peace prize!
05:06 August 29, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
The MLA is a mechanism designed to help authorities investigate crimes by working with law enforcement agencies in different countries. Not to a tool for suspects in a crime.

Julian Assange will be nominated for the Nobel peace prize many times, but he will never get the prize. He is undeserving.
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