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UK court greenlights Assange extradition

AFP/The Local · 2 Nov 2011, 13:35

Published: 02 Nov 2011 10:44 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Nov 2011 13:35 GMT+01:00

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On Wednesday, the High Court in London affirmed a lower court ruling that allowed Sweden's extradition request to move forward following his arrest in the UK in December.

"The court dismissed the appeal," the judgement said.

Assange wore a blue suit with a poppy in his lapel -- a symbol in Britain to mark Armistice Day on November 11, the anniversary of the end of World War I -- and fought his way through a scrum of photographers to get inside the building.

He had argued that because the European Arrest Warrant under which he was held was issued by a prosecutor, not a court, it was invalid, but the judges ruled it had been subject to independent judicial scrutiny in Sweden.

They also rejected his assertion that the claims made by two women of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and an accusation of rape would not as they were described be considered offences under English law.

One woman alleged that Assange had unprotected sex with her while she was asleep, and the judges rejected his lawyers' contention that consent to sex on condition that a condom was used remained consent when a condom was not used.

"There is nothing in the statement from which it could be inferred that he reasonably expected that she would have consented to sex without a condom," the court judgement said.

"It is clear that the allegation is that he had sexual intercourse with her when she was not in a position to consent and so he could not have had any reasonable belief that she did," it added.

He also questioned the validity of the arrest warrant because he was not charged in Sweden, only wanted for questioning, but the judges rejected this, saying the case against him was clear.

"There can be no doubt that if what Mr Assange had done had been done in England and Wales, he would have been charged and thus criminal proceedings would have been commenced," the judgement said.

The final ground of appeal was that the arrest warrant was disproportionate, given that Assange had offered to be questioned via videolink, but the court also dismissed this.

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.

"We will be considering our next steps in the days ahead," the former computer hacker told a scrum of reporters and cameramen gathered from around the world, in a brief statement from the steps of the court.

His legal team now has 14 days to file an appeal.

Assange has denied the allegations, claiming they are linked to the release by WikiLeaks of hundreds of thousands of classified documents which have enraged governments across the world, especially the United States.

In February, a lower court ruled that Assange should be sent to face questioning by Swedish authorities over claims of sexual assault against two women, triggering a lengthy and bitter appeal battle.

The enigmatic WikiLeaks boss has been living under strict bail conditions, including having to wear an electronic ankle tag and observe a strict dusk-to-dawn curfew, at the east-England mansion of supporter and former army

captain Vaughan Smith.

The long-awaited decision, which has been deferred since the High Court heard Assange's appeal in July, may not be the final chapter in the saga, but it will be difficult for either side to lodge an appeal.

The 40-year-old Assange has continually denied the allegations and claims they are politically motivated.

Story continues below…

The former hacker caught the world's attention when WikiLeaks released tens of thousands of classified diplomatic files allegedly obtained by a US serviceman who is now in prison in the United States.

But Assange also achieved a different kind of notoriety when the allegations of sexual assault were made against him by two Swedish women in August 2010.

In an autobiography published in September, Assange repeated his denial of the rape allegations.

"I did not rape those women and cannot imagine anything that happened between us that would make them think so, except malice after the fact, a joint plan to entrap me, or a terrifying misunderstanding that was stoked up

between them," he wrote.

"I may be a chauvinistic pig of some sort but I am no rapist, and only a distorted version of sexual politics could attempt to turn me into one."

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:27 November 2, 2011 by N0DE
Why did he appeal in UK courts ? Did he believe in UK justice system , funny. Sweden and UK will do whatever US wants them to do......Ever seen a pet disobeying his owner? Not many times
11:35 November 2, 2011 by Jes
Come on @NoDE !!

When did this chap start believing that there is no justice in Sweden ?

Is it before or after his application for a resience permit was rejected ?
11:38 November 2, 2011 by engagebrain
how many extraditions and for what does Sweden make in an average year ?

This raises the question of whether this is a normal or abnormal train of events.
11:56 November 2, 2011 by dammen
perhaps he should claim he was drunk at the time and can't remember anything - then all will be well
12:04 November 2, 2011 by Johno
The conspiracy theorists will not be silenced on this. But taking a narrower look at the man. He is a loner who his co-workers describe as someone who likes getting his own way and doesnt take being thwarted lightly. Which lines up with the womens descriptions of having their wishes in their encounters with him ridden over roughshod. So there is some evidence that he has had this coming to him. He should be a man and face up to his accusers in court.
12:32 November 2, 2011 by Jes
@engadebrain , why don`t engage your brain and find out how many extraditions Sweden carries out annually ?

@Johno , Assange`s dad will agree with you . In his interview he said that the son would never accept no for an answer . The mother adds a few things that might not help the son`s defence .

If he comes off as an intellectual bully who does not give a damn who he hurts to get his way , some one will tend to agree with the women who are accusing him of whatever they are accusing him of .
12:42 November 2, 2011 by RobinHood
Were Sweden a country without a history of illegally rendering people to foreign powers at the call of the CIA, or a country where it is unlawful to expose and photograph a woman's breasts and wave your penis at her - as long as she's asleep, or a country where you may not stab a person to death, even if you are drunk, I am sure Mr Assange would have entrusted himself to the Swedish legal system long ago.

However Sweden does illegally render people at the call of the CIA. It is lawful in Sweden to expose and photograph a woman's breasts while she is asleep, and it is lawful in Sweden to stab someone to death - as long as you are drunk. Add in that some judges in Sweden are politically appointed, that the Prime Minister, in this very case, has publicly stated his negative opinion on Mr Assange's defence, and that this entire case has been handled by the prosecution in an extremely eccentric manner, (he has yet to be even charged) and you can see why Mr Assange is concerned, first for his safety, and secondly whether he will get a fair trial.

He is quite right to oppose extradition to this legal basket case of a country, and if as a result of his extradition to Sweden, he ends up in the hands of the USA, Sweden will become a pariah amongst countries that respect the rule of law, and manage their legal systems in a proper and equitable way.
13:00 November 2, 2011 by HenryPollard
Sadly Assange is fighting extradition to an outpost of the American Empire, from a nation which is front and centre in that Empire's cheerleading squad.

I wish him a fair trial, but in light of Reinfeldt's comments on him, I think an impartial process in Sverige is near impossible.
13:18 November 2, 2011 by Jes
. How and why is it possible for Sweden to do things that UK cannot do - for the "American Empire" ?

Is someone attempting to argue that Sweden is more of USA´s "outpost" than UK ?

Helo , let´s use our heads and make some sense !!!!!!!!
13:20 November 2, 2011 by Nomark

If Sweden is a basketcase of a country, can you name one country which isn't one ?

I don't think you're particularly well qualified to discuss aspects of law when you have difficulty understanding the universal nature of innocent until proven guilty i.e. its a principle for everyone, eg Ms Ny who you accused of criminality on the basis that someone else said so, and not just people you admire.

That said, I hope Assange wins this one. One of the primariy issues, totally missed by his outraged band of followers, is the use of European arrest warrant. The intention behind this was to easily facilitate extradition between EU states with the minimum of evidence to be provided to the extraditing country (hence you shouldn't be at all surprised that he "isn't even charged" - learn a bit of modern EU law before you get outraged, many of us knew this from the start). Its thrown up some odd cases and needs revisiting. I hope the UK Supreme Court objects to this. I've no idea if this is a miscarriage of justice though there have been some very well documented cases which are. Fortunately, this issue hasn't been missed by his lawyers who have finally jettisoned the ridiculous notion that he's off the US to be executed and are focusing instead on the whole EU arrest warrant system.

BTW can you provide one ounce of evidence that Sweden is doing this at the behest of the US ? The fact that they did so in a couple of clandestine cases is hardly convincing. What is far more convincing is what many of us have argued from the start that this case revolves a very peculiar feminist environment here, Sweden's propensity to prosecute very public and borderline rape cases, eg Tito, and the new European arrest warrant.


Can you eleborate on how Reinfeldt is denying Assange a fair trial ? This one I'd like to hear. And please, base the argument on *logic* and *evidence* rather than uninformed speculation.
13:42 November 2, 2011 by RobinHood

Perhaps you should try to keep up with the facts of the case yourself, rather than asking posters to prove things you either missed or didn't understand. It makes you look dreadfully and ill-informed, and even rather dim!

Henry - you can bring Nomark up to date with Reinfeldt's speech to Parliament earlier this year if you want to, but personally, I don't think he deserves it; leave him in his splendid ignorance.
13:59 November 2, 2011 by Nomark

I was quite correct. You don't apply the principle of innocent until proven guilty consistently. In one case, someone you dislike, you write that they broke the law, on the basis of an allegation. Yet in another, you insist that someone is innocent until found guilty in a trial.


Also, if I recall correctly, I also asked you to justify cutting and pasting different parts of different sentences I'd written to come up with something with a very twisted meaning. Not very intellectually honest.

As for the other stuff regarding JA's extradition, I'm quite correct there. Even JA's lawyers are making this case.

Regarding Reinfeldt's speech, I've read what he said. As mentioned, I would just like evidence that this implies JA wouldn't get a fair trial.

Now, it may be convenient to call me ignorant. However, I'm far from being in that state. I'm just after evidence and logical thinking that withstands even a basic degree of scrutiny. I'm clearly posting on the wrong site.
14:06 November 2, 2011 by johnny1939
I wish Assange luck
14:31 November 2, 2011 by Rick Methven
Assange will either not get the chance to appeal to the suprem court or if he does will be extradited anyway as Ny used the EAW to get him extradited. Sweden is far from being the worst offender when it comes down to misuse of the EAW Poland is with thousands issued every year. The UK sent a guy back to Poland on a EAW issued on suspicion that he may have left a cafe without paying for his coffee!.

The problem that the UK and other countries courts have when it comes to the EAW is that even if they think that it is being abused and countries are issuing them like confetti for cases that in the UK would not be an arrestable offence, to deny extradition would be tantamount to saying " We think your legal system is crap/corrupted"

While this may be true in many cases, all EU countries have to be seen to be treated as equals by the other 26 and therefore 99% of all EAW's are granted.

A Lawyer friend of mine in the UK told me that Swedish authorities had been informed that in the opinion of the UK, they had made a cockup of the whole thing and that part of the delay in issuing the decision by the high court was done to give the Swedish prosecutor the chance to cancel the warrant. Ny seems to be so up herself that she would not back down. Lets hope that when Assange does come to Sweden that the whole thing can be exposed as the politically motivated farce that it is. One thing for sure, it will make Swedes think again about the integrity of their legal system
14:42 November 2, 2011 by HenryPollard

Learn to read.


Reinfeldt's statement, which he promptly realised was illegal and thus retracted it, accused JA of the standard definition of rape, which as anyone following the case would know is not the charge leveled against him.

He has also accused JA of taking the idea of women's rights 'lightly'. There is no reason for a politician, let alone the most influential one in Sweden, to be making such a prejudiced proclamation against a man who hasn't been tried. Even the judge of the district handling the case admitted that it was improper for the PM to comment.

In 1988, a similar case occurred when Thatcher made prejudicial comments against Paddy Ryan, an Irish priest who the UK were trying to have extradited to their shores. Fair process ensued, and the courts dictated that it was impossible to hold a fair trial in a nation where the PM has taken up the mantle of de facto chief prosecutor.
14:57 November 2, 2011 by Jes
HenryPollard dear , so you can read ? Congraturations !

Now tell me this : the extradition should not happen because the MP said something he should not have said , yeah ?

Which kind of law do you read that one from ?

In my case , someone who can read told me that in UK , Sweden and USA , there is something called seperation of powers . I suspect that it means that opinions from the executive, righ or wrong , have no bearing at all on how the judiciary conducts its legal business .

Anyway , I am very sure that Assange himself is intelligent enough to know that if he ever ends up in a Swedish court , it will not be a politician that will hear and judge what he has to say in his defence .

You are free to say that I am wrong .
06:56 November 3, 2011 by Nomark

I ask again - show me how anything he says affects JA's right to a fair trial ? What influence does he have over the judiciary ? Simply saying something is the case i.e. Reinfeldt denies JA justice doesn't make it so.

I'm aware that this was sent to KU. What was their verdict ?
18:16 November 4, 2011 by Observant
The UK Court's decision is the only way that the Americans could ever hope of getting JA extradited to America. First to Sweden where nothing much will ever happen then the Yanks will apply for his extradition. The Swedes will JUMP to pleasing the Yanks. So off he will go to Yankie land. Where we will see him free after 40-50 years.

The Brits are As* H**** to have granted extradition.

Good luck JA I am very sure you will need all the luck you can get. Don't think for ONE second that you can trust the Swedes. You would be able to trust a cobra easier.
11:52 November 5, 2011 by philster61
Well put Observant. Swedes have a long history of bending to the will of greater powers.

Their cow towing to the Nazi regime whilst maintaining a guise of neutrality. Allowing troops to enter as they went to invade Norway...

And recently there was an episode of undisclosed flights coming and going which suspects rendition

When it comes to trusting the Swedes, it is not a good bet.
17:03 November 10, 2011 by Ranger
Readers should be advised there is no free speech in Sweden. The Local newpaper solicits for comments, but then edits out those comments about the corrupt swedish court system. It appears that the Local is a nazi publication.
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