• Sweden's news in English

UK court defers Assange extradition appeal

TT/The Local/pvs · 14 Jul 2011, 08:07

Published: 14 Jul 2011 08:07 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The High Court in London heard two days of arguments from Assange's lawyers and from Swedish prosecutors as the Australian sought to overturn a ruling in February that approved his extradition.

"We will hand down our judgment in the usual way," said Judge John Thomas, one of two judges dealing with the case, referring to a written decision.

He did not say when the ruling would be given.

Assange was arrested by British police in December after Sweden requested his arrest for questioning over allegations of sexual assault and rape against two women. He denies the claims.

Lawyers for Swedish prosecutors on Wednesday rejected defence claims that a

rape allegation against Assange, made by one of the women, would not count as

such under English law.

Clare Montgomery accused Ben Emmerson, one of Assange's lawyers, of "winding English law back to the 19th century" with his definition of consent.

"They (the alleged victims) are describing circumstances in which they did not freely consent without coercion," Montgomery said.

"They were forced either by physical force or by the sense of being trapped into the position where they had no choice and therefore submitted to Mr Assange's intentions."

On the allegation that one of the women woke up to find Assange having sex with her without a condom, Montgomery said: "She may later have acquiesced in it... but that didn't make the initial penetration anything other than an act of rape she had not consented to."

"This woman had never had unprotected sex and it was a very important issue to her," she said.

Montgomery was later challenged by judge Thomas over her arguments that the European arrest warrant used on Assange was proportionate.

Discussing whether it would be sensible for Assange to be interviewed by Swedish authorities in some way before the extradition goes ahead, Thomas said: "If you actually take sensible steps to eliminate problems in the spirit of judicial cooperation, you may find the process simpler."

Another of Assange's lawyers, Mark Summers, reiterated arguments that the European arrest warrant was invalid because he is only wanted for questioning

and has not been charged.

"There was from the very outset of this case an easier way to proceed, a more proportionate way to proceed," he told the court.

He said the EU's executive Commission had examined the European arrest warrant system and issued guidance that warrants should not be issued in circumstances where there is a "less onerous" alternative.

Assange took on a new legal team after a hearing in February which abandoned the bombastic statements by his previous lawyers warning that he could be deported to the United States and incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Story continues below…

The former Australian hacker has himself remained uncharacteristically silent during the latest proceedings.

He refused to comment as he left the court on Wednesday surrounded by a scrum of some 50 journalists who were firing questions at him, instead pushing his way slowly through the crowd to a waiting car.

A ripple of applause went up from a group of his supporters who had set up a small encampment outside court, some of whom were dressed in orange jumpsuits of the kind worn by Guantanamo Bay detainees.

One man yelled into a loudspeaker: "We support you. But you should wear a condom, save yourself the trouble."

At his previous appearances Assange gave long press conferences claiming the allegations are politically motivated and linked to his whistleblower website's releases of huge caches of leaked US government documents.

He has been living under strict bail conditions, including wearing an electronic ankle tag and a curfew, at a friend's mansion in eastern England.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

09:40 July 14, 2011 by RobinHood
Many posters here have asked why a series of expensive appeals, all funded by the British tax payer, are necessary? Couldn't a prosecutor hop on a Ryan Air flight, (about 1 500 SEK, including a pleasant pub lunch) and interview Mr Assange in England?

Lord Justice Thomas asked the same question yesterday, and seemed to get a bit peeved that no one representing the Swedish prosecutor wa prepared to properly answer him. Hopefully someone is about to inject some much needed common sense and fiscal responsibility into this rotten case.
10:55 July 14, 2011 by Indignerad
Labeling this "Wikileaks Controversy" is misleading. This is about Assange as a person and the crime he is accused of having committed.
11:38 July 14, 2011 by Rick Methven
@Indignerad "the crime he is accused of having committed"

Wrong he has not yet been accused of any crime. The Swedish authorities want to question him to establish if he has commuted a crime. and as poster #1aid they could have do that in the UK.

This is just another expensive abuse of the EAW such as the 4000 uses of the EAW by Poland to extradite a guy for going £10 overdrawn on his bank account.

The current mood in the UK is that they are being told what to do by the EU and picking up the cost to assuage the spiteful ( and politically motivated) behaviour of a Swedish prosecutor.


The reason why the Swedish prosecutor would not go to the UK is because she has not got any valid case and knows that she would be laughed out of court . The only hope they have is by blatant misuse of the EAW.
13:09 July 14, 2011 by unionisten

why cant Julian go to sweden and have it over and done with? if he is inocent and the Swedish prosecutor doesnt have a valid case then all is fine. Its not the Swedish prosecutor costing you money its Julian Assange, also Julians defence is laughable with "this wouldnt have been a crime in England" so what it was done in Sweden and therefor falls under Swedish law.

And to Mr Julian if you cant take the heat stay out of the kitchen.
13:17 July 14, 2011 by byke

Why would Julian go back to Sweden for a crime he denies and since he hasn't been charged?

While this crime ALLEGEDLY happend on Swedish soil which he hasn't been charged with, he is also not on Swedish soil and this is why the Swedish prosecution need to get him extradited.

Either way it shows a clear problem with the judicial system in Sweden.

In many countries you are innocent until proven guilty .... But in this case he is being deemed guilty without trial or charges.

It's a farce
14:02 July 14, 2011 by unionisten
yes its a farce its Julians unwillingness to go back to sweden to be questioned that is the farce and then claim that it wouldnt be a crime in england, what has english law got to do with this nothing at all is the right answer, Julian is just waistin brittish taxmoney.

the problem is that if he gets convicted for rape and it might happend im not sure, then there isnt a EU country that would let him stay and thats what he is aware of.

he will be sent to sweden and then we see
15:19 July 14, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
I agree with others here: its a grubby case which is possibly mocking the UK justice system by 'taking it for a ride'

I thought Mr Assange would be extradited, given the circumstances. The possibility that at least something claimed against him would be an offence under UK law, could give weight to an extradition

But iIsn't part of the problem the lack of transparency in Swedish justice? They haven't exactly been forthcoming to the UK hearings, they have no bail system and its been said that a Swedish trial of Mr Assange could be held behind closed doors.

It surprised me that a fairly regular poster on this site recently started a thread in which he said his 'ex' had made numerous complaints about him to the police - and he only discovered it more-or-less by accident !

How can a society be so secretive?
15:32 July 14, 2011 by Rick Methven

The only tax money of mine it is costing is here in Sweden, where I pay tax, by the Swedish judiciary who like countries such as Poland are abusing the European Arrest Warrant.

Any EU country may use the European Arrest Warrant to seek the return of a person who is wanted in that country in relation to a crime. The warrant may seek the return of the person to:

stand trial

face sentencing after conviction

serve a sentence already handed down by a court in that country

An EAW can only be issued for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution not merely an investigation.

Sweden is attempting to use the EAW to carry out an investigation in to whether or not a crime has been committed. which is abuse of the whole purpose of the EAW.
15:39 July 14, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
@Rick Methven - totally agree about the scope of the EAW.

One of the justices at yesterday's hearing was wondering how far 'down the road' the Swedish prosecution's case had gone?

Obviously not far enough for charges to be brought
16:47 July 14, 2011 by byke
After reading some of the transcripts from the case, it looks as if assange will be not extradited. However, as this is playing out I am suspecting the Swedish prosecutors will now try to charge him instead without evidence in an attempt to save face.

Once the prosecution can show that he is wanted on charges rather than an open investigation they can attempt reprocess the same warrant.

It's fairly evident based on how this case has been handled by the swedish authorities that its more about national pride than any form of justice being served. And these attempts which appear to be a personal vendetta by the prosecution for whatever the reason put the Swedish judicial system into very dangerous waters which parallel non democratic nations who use what is often described as kangaroo courts.

If Sweden has any sense of judicial system, then they should step in and dismiss the current investigation and open up an inquiry to how this has been handled and actions that have taken place as so far.andafter the inquiry they should look at the investigation to see if there is any evidence to justify a case.
02:25 July 15, 2011 by sgt_doom
Thanks to the intelligent comments from RobinHood; much appreciated and mandatory due to some of the inane comments at this site.

Let us never forget the cast of characters and all their connections to the Bonnier family, which first sought out Assange for exclusive rights to the leaked documents form Wikileaks:

Anna Ardin, formerly worked for at least two Bonnier family businesses, including their publication, Expressen.

Claes Borgstrom, prosecuting private attorney for Anna Ardin, has two sisters who work for Bonnier family businesses, and has had some past financial connections to the Bonnier family.

Thomas Bodstrom, the other private attorney representing Ardin, whose fiction is published through a Bonnier family media business.

Ambassador to Israel (formerly), Elisabet Bonnier, no doubt helpful in the speedy entrance of Anna Ardin to Gaza, or Israel, thus her removal from the Swedish limelight. Her Excellency, E. Bonnier, being of course, a member of the Bonnier family.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Bildt, originally appointed Justice Minister Beatrice Ask to his cabinet back when he was Prime Minister of Sweden.

We have witnessed an almost universal animosity among not only America, and Swedish governmental authorities and politicians against Assange of Wikileaks, but the commercial press as well (both the Bonnier family publications, and others, in Scandinavia, as well as Rupert Murdoch's Fox News and media companies in America and throughout Europe).

I suspect this goes even beyond the plutocrats wishing to shut up Wikileaks, but also to wrest back their hold on their abysmal media empire?
15:28 July 15, 2011 by actuary
Haven't they got anything better to do than persisting with this ludicrous and tedious bedroom farce? I feel sorry for the poor emasculated Swedish men.
22:19 July 15, 2011 by dan_sparrow
sweden is the only way for USA to arrest julian, thats why sweden is trying so hard to get him in the country...
Today's headlines
The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available