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ASSANGE EXTRADITION FIGHT
Ecuador moots Assange Sweden transfer
Photo: AP; Scanpix

Ecuador moots Assange Sweden transfer

Published: 22 Sep 2012 09:38 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Sep 2012 16:49 GMT+02:00

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino proposed Friday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be transferred from London to Sweden, where he would remain under Quito's protection.

Patino told journalists Ecuador was weighing such a transfer as a possible

alternative for Assange to "remain under our protection while also satisfying

the demands of the Swedish justice system."

Britain's foreign office was tightlipped on Saturday over the proposal.

"We've made our position very clear on Mr Assange, mainly that he has exhausted the option of appeal and we are under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden and we have to carry out this obligation and we fully intend to do so," a spokesperson said.

Sweden's foreign ministry for its part said Stockholm had not received any

approach from Quito and would not speculate on the proposal.

"We cannot speculate on what such a solution might be like. We have received no request," Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman Linn Duvhammar told AFP.

The lawyer for Assange's alleged victims, Claes Borgström, dismissed the idea as "asbsurd."

"There is no reason to treat Assange differently from other people in this situation," he told the TT news agency. "There must be equality before the law."

Patino hinted to "new" developments in the Swedish case, saying "several elements of proof have been dismissed," though he declined to provide further details.

In a sign that diplomatic moves are afoot in the Assange case, Patino said he planned to discuss the issue with his British counterpart William Hague on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday.

He stressed that the best option, in Ecuador's view, would be for Britain to grant Assange safe passage.

Julian Assange took shelter in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June after exhausting all appeals against extradition from Britain to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations.

Ecuador has granted him diplomatic asylum.

The 41-year-old Australian fears Sweden will hand him over to the United States, where he could face prosecution over the release of a vast cache of leaked Iraq and Afghanistan war reports and diplomatic cables.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:31 September 22, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
These "new developments" is nothing but the rehashing of old information. That is what happens when there is a continual change of a legal team. Anyways, that is not the point.

Brilliant plan. The first problem is that it is doubtful that Britain will agree to such a plan. Second Quito's jurisdiction outside of Ecuador only extends to their embassies and other diplomatic premises. Thus Assange will have to enter jurisdictions not under control of Ecuador to pull this off.

Maybe, they have a teleporter or something fictional technology.

This thing is getting weirder by the moment.
11:49 September 22, 2012 by alecLoTh
US has categorically stated that they can neither confirm nor deny seeking his extradition from Sweden. Documents have already been filed by the US state department to have a grand jury try Assange for espionage. Sweden has a history of being a doormat, his own country has disowned him, the UK has thrown him to the wolves......there seems to be a confluence of powers all pointing to Assange's possible lifetime incarceration in the US.

Pressure is on Ecuador, mst likely from the UK, but they are playing the chess game well by hinting at the UK to offer safe passage.

We all know that the UK will do no such thing, but this will, at least expose publicly what is happening behind the scenes.
16:29 September 22, 2012 by wendist
Can anyone explain to me how the UK can be seen as throwing Assange "to the wolves" when they quite obviously were not prepared to throw him to the americans when they had him in custody?
16:57 September 22, 2012 by alecLoTh
@wendist

Simple, they have no judicial pretext, ie Assange had not committed a crime within the jurisdiction of the UK to warrant extradition- had the issue for his detaining been in the UK the story would be different.

He was under house arrest, but even then as a sought-after person, not as one who has been charged, tried and convicted of anything.

Because the crime is on Swedish soil, the extradition can only be served from there. I termed this as 'throwing to the wolves' because if you the UK offers 'safe passage' then the entire conundrum is solved, but that would be stepping on too many toes.

I think at this stage we all know that he will be extradited and tried. The administration is hinting at that, some Republican officials are calling for the death penalty...they have already reached end-game while the public is left wondering why Assange wont appear to defend himself from seemingly minor but trumped-up charges. But even he has is thinking a few moves ahead of what the general public is allowed to see unfold.
18:11 September 22, 2012 by Attestupa
A really sensible move by Ecuador. Brinkmanship for sure, but it makes it very difficult for the UK and Sweden to continue this charade. We're heading into face-saving territory.

...and @alecLoTh has got it exactly right.
20:10 September 22, 2012 by sgt_doom
@ #3, reading is fundamental, so please read this, if you have the capacity to learn:

http://www.nnn.se/nordic/assange/suspicious.pdf
20:42 September 22, 2012 by Rebel
When Latin America was dominated by the US many of these nations were called "banana republics." What shall we call puppet regimes in Europe, "porn republics?"
21:50 September 22, 2012 by wendist
"Simple, they have no judicial pretext, ie Assange had not committed a crime within the jurisdiction of the UK to warrant extradition- had the issue for his detaining been in the UK the story would be different.

He was under house arrest, but even then as a sought-after person, not as one who has been charged, tried and convicted of anything.

Because the crime is on Swedish soil, the extradition can only be served from there."

Two questions regarding the above.

What crime has Assange commited "on swedish soil" that the US could use as reason for an extradiction to the US?

Why does he have to have commited a crime in the UK for the british to be able to extradite him to the US?
21:54 September 22, 2012 by timbenton51
Hague and the UK foreign office are a bunch of HYPOCRITS. They absolutely refuse to grant Julian Assange safe passage to Ecuador, but Uthman Megrahi, the Pan Am bomber TERRORIST, a killer who murdered over 300 innocent people by cowardly putting a bomb on an aircraft -- THAT GUY -- the UK grants SAFE PASSAGE TO!!!! but NOT Julian Assange. Oh, no! That wouldn't be right. You see this "sex in the morning/one-night stand" thingis such a serious "crime."

What a joke!!

Look at the fools who post on this board trying to defend the UK stance on the issue! A blind man can see that the case is 100% political, and the the UK foreign office is up to its usual calculating political tactics. They grant safe passage to one of the world's worst terrorist murderers ever, but refuse to do likwise in a bona fide case of clear political persecution. And all the while with their pompous noses in the air, bristling with righteous indignation. You can't make this stuff up!!!
06:09 September 23, 2012 by Ian C. Purdie - Sydney
Eventually when this case is ultimately resolved and, it will be, a lot of countries [including my own], as well as a lot of commentators will be revealed as total hypocrites and/or brain dead.

The level of ignorance world-wide over published facts is absolutely astonishing, the level of government interference in national judicial systems is absolutely frightening.

How much is ostensibly impoverished Britain expending daily to keep Julian under constant surveillance? That should tell even casual readers a whole lot.
07:25 September 23, 2012 by Sven-Ingvar
USA h as been after Assange since he was 17 actually sending troops to 1989 Melbourne Australia to look for him.Doubt if most knew then what a computer was let alone internet

Australian TV will be flogging the "Assange" story shortly

http://ten.com.au/underground.htm
13:59 September 23, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
Grand juries are criminal investigations as defined by the US Constitution under the authority of the US Department of Justice. Any apprehension request comes after the investigation is completed.

The Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was sentenced to life after a conviction of killing 270 people. He was allowed to return home to die on "compassionate grounds." Uthman Suleiman al-Megrahi is a Libyan minister who released 300 alleged political prisoners.

The convicted bomber Megrahi was released on 20 August 2009, long before 12 May 2010 when Hague assumed office.

There is an over obsession of one instance that occurred over 10 years ago. While ignoring that the governments of the US, British and Sweden has all changed since 2001.

The instance in question occurred shortly after September 11, 2001 as part of an investigation into the terrorist. Sweden like many countries over reacted in their desire to assist the US in bringing those responsible for the attacks to justice. However, that is no justification for the violation individuals rights.

This "constant surveillance" of wearing an electronic bracelet was part of Assange's bail condition as an alternate to being in jail. As Assange was believed to be a flight risk. This was proved true by staying the night in the Ecuador Embassy, London after seeking asylum.

The principle of dual criminality with extraditions require an accusation to be a crime in same in both states. The courts in the sending state determine if a punishment in the extradition request violates the rights of the accused.

Assange is not wanted in the US for the serious crime of sexual assault. With the accusations against Assange in some American states it would be two or four accusations of rape, not one as it is in Sweden.

Assange is only thinking of himself as usual, by using his work with Wikileaks as an excuse to avoid going to Sweden. Assange should just surrender to the Met.
21:53 September 23, 2012 by timbenton51
@ Tiny Red Ant

"The convicted bomber Megrahi was released on 20 August 2009, long before 12 May 2010 when Hague assumed office."

It doesn't matter who was in the British foreign secretary's chair in 2009 versus today. The British foreign office is responsible for policy. The British foreign office granted safe passage to one of the greatest terrorist murderers of all time...FOR POLITICAL REASONS.

In the Assange case, a textbook case of political persecution, the British foreign office refuses to grant safe passage. The Met police are spending at least (and probably a lot more) 50,000 GBP per day to monitor Assange. Why? Because of an allegation of a torn condom? I think not.

The Assange case is a classic case of governments corrupting their own judiciaries to achieve political and foreign policy gains. Any person with no axe to grind can see.

BTW, who cares what the Pan Am bomber Megrahi's first name was? Talk about trying to distract from the main issue at hand.
08:54 September 24, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
Governments change this includes policies and how they implement those policies. Difference politicians and individuals for that matter have different ideas. With the change in government is a change in policies, regulations and laws.

A good example of political persecution is suing journalist who print anything that is different than the governments position. Then after they are convicted and sentenced pardoning them.

Or, imprisoning opposition voices in their home not allowing them to leave, and arresting anyone who attempts to visit them without permission.

Jumping bail to avoid accusations of sexual assault does not count.

The accusations have been publicly available for a long time now. There are four allegations in all, with the most serious being starting intercourse on a sleeping woman. The judge did address the condom issue, but more on the absurdity of that position as a defense.

@timbenton51

Your were the person who brought Megrahi into the discussion and you got the name wrong. So, before you blame someone for "trying to distract from the main issue at hand" you better make sure you can edit your comments.
10:54 September 24, 2012 by timbenton51
@ # 14

The Megrahi case deserves to be brought into the discussion because it's another example of the British using politics to trump their judicial decisions, something happening in the Assange case as well.

"Your were the person who brought Megrahi into the discussion and you got the name wrong. So, before you blame someone for "trying to distract from the main issue at hand" you better make sure you can edit your comments."

I "better make sure..." Or what?
12:56 September 24, 2012 by Nomark
Its all well and good to talk about moving him to Sweden under Quito's protection. However, it ignores the fact that he has broken bail law in the UK, an office which can carry a custodial sentence.

If he thinks he was justified in doing this then fair enough, he should argue this when he's brought to trial. Hopefully (for his sake) his arguments will be a little more solid than those put forward during the extradition hearings.
00:42 September 25, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
You still seem to not understand. It was you who brought Uthman Megrahi into the discussion, and claimed that he was a terrorist. Which he is not.

Instead of accepting the correcting in the manner it was intended you wrote "Who cares what the Pan Am bomber Megrahi's first name was? Talk about trying to distract from the main issue at hand." Which in on itself is a strange.

It was perplexing when investigation into Uthman Megrahi found out that there was no mention of any terrorist attacks associated to him. Yeah, who care if a man who freed political prisoners is attributed to being a terrorist. It really does not really matter. Libyans are all the same, right.

You were wrong. Just drop it, and move on.

The further irony is that "Megrahi" demonstrates that governments do change. In one case government was accused to support state sponsored terrorism and labeling its enemies as criminals. While the next government freed those "political prisoners" imprisoned under the previous regime.

Governments do change, but not as radically as in Libyan.
08:36 September 25, 2012 by timbenton51
@ Tiny Red Ant #17

"You still seem to not understand. It was you who brought Uthman Megrahi into the discussion, and claimed that he was a terrorist. Which he is not.

You were wrong. Just drop it, and move on."

I was wrong about Megrahi's first name. I was right about the hypocracy of the British authorities of refusing safe passage to a true political refugee, J. Assange, when they granted safe passage to a terrorist murderer for purposes of commercial interest.

Which is more important?
18:04 September 25, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
Stressing the importance of some crimes over others serves no purpose. This does not diminish any frustration when authorities refuse to investigate or later prosecute a crime.

Convicted murder Megrahi had terminal cancer before he was sent home, and which is not a case of "safe passage" being granted.

Ecuador's fault was not securing safe passage for Assange before granting him asylum. Quito is consistently oblivious that the UK has a legal obligation to extradite Assange.

Assange is not a "political refugee," as the accusations are for non-political crimes, specifically of violating others rights.

Assange's lawyers did present concerns about Assange being extradited to Sweden. Those include the ones that Ecuador used to grant him asylum. Those concerns were all found to be without merit in three level of the UK courts.
02:56 October 2, 2012 by MarkDnrs
Congratulations, mob mentality is alive and well in Sweden. Maybe it's the government worshipping socialist sheep mindset along with the vodka guzzling northern cold. Sweden has become one of the laughing stocks of the world with these bizarre "broken condom" accusations. which nobody in his right mind would take seriously, except perhaps a lot of tall blonde (and repulsive) whip cracking leather wearing swedish "feminist" crackpots. The whole stupid charade is a pathetic try at crushing free speech by discrediting or imprisoning the messenger, and imprisoning people without even being charged (which is impossible since there's no crime) with Swedish secret service colluding with UK secret service and the CIA to send its prostitutes for this failure of a mission. This is not something new, Sweden is a country that has colluded with the CIA in illegal renditions and torture for ten years. Its government follows any US/NATO orders, human rights are clearly a hindrance to today's Sweden.
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