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Assange win would have 'profound' effects

AFP/The Local · 31 Jan 2012, 08:03

Published: 31 Jan 2012 08:03 GMT+01:00

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If the court rejects his case, the 40-year-old Australian will have exhausted all his options in Britain but he could still make a last-ditch appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, prosecutors have said.

The Supreme Court, England's highest, granted Assange permission to appeal in December.

It said his case raised an issue of "great public importance", namely whether Sweden's state prosecutor had the right to sign the European arrest warrant under which he was held.

The case will be considered by seven judges, rather than the usual five.

The Supreme Court usually takes about 10 weeks to deliver a judgement but the parties have requested that this case be speeded up.

Wednesday marks 421 days since the arrest of the former computer hacker, who has been living under tight bail conditions at the country mansion of a wealthy supporter in Norfolk, eastern England.

Assange was arrested in Britain in December 2010 after two women made allegations of sexual molestation and an accusation of rape in Sweden, which he strongly denies.

He says the sex was consensual and claims the allegations are politically motivated, linked to WikiLeaks' release of hundreds of thousands of classified US files about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as diplomatic cables.

Assange's extradition to Sweden was initially approved by a lower court in February. An appeal to the High Court was rejected in November, but it subsequently granted him permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

If this appeal fails, the WikiLeaks founder will have only one other option to stop his extradition -- an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

"If the ECHR takes the case then his current bail conditions would remain in force and he would remain in the UK until the proceedings at the ECHR have concluded," the Crown Prosecution Service said in a commentary on the case.

"If the ECHR declines to take the case then he will be extradited to Sweden as soon as arrangements can be made," England's state prosecutor said.

Concerning Assange's case before the Supreme Court, Julian Knowles, an extradition law specialist with the Matrix Chambers law firm, said the question of whether a public prosecutor was a valid judicial authority had been comprehensively tested.

"The courts have always reached the clear answer that while it may look odd to English eyes ... European systems don't have the same structure," he was quoted as saying Tuesday in The Guardian newspaper.

"The courts have always said that to make extradition work, you have to be flexible in your approach to what extradition is."

Were Assange to win, the consequences would be "very profound", he said.

"It would basically mean, until the law is rewritten, that extradition to Europe (would) become very difficult, if not impossible.

Story continues below…

"Because in the vast majority of European extradition requests, the arrest warrant is issued not by a court, as it would be in England, but by a prosecutor."

Assange announced last week that he was launching his own television chat show and promised interviews with "key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries".

No guests have been unveiled, but a statement on the WikiLeaks website said the show would go on air in mid March in 10 weekly half-hour episodes.

Russian state television channel RT said it had the rights to show the episodes first.

Formerly known as Russia Today, the English-language channel is funded by the Russian government.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:44 January 31, 2012 by hejsweden
he should be a free man!!
09:36 January 31, 2012 by RobinHood
I would be surprised if Assange were to win. The reputation and operation of international arrest warrants would be severely damaged. English courts are generally braver than others on these issues (they arrested and held Pinochet for many months), but undermining international arrest warrants is perhaps going a bit too far.

It is clear from the comments of the several English judges who have heard the earlier applications that they are extremely uncomfortable sending Assange to Sweden, but as they say, they have no choice under international law.

The fact that the Swedish Prime Minister himself has had to defend his legal system, and attack Assange in Parliament is important. In most countries, that act in itself would be a serious contempt of court, grounds for Assange's immediate release, and even the prosecution of the Prime Minister for attempting to influence a criminal procedure. Lawyers and judges in other countries are watching these shenanigans, and have developed a healthy disrespect for Swedish justice. Those who read the Local regularly will generally agree that disrespect is well earned. International business is voting with its feet. Swedish lawyers are noticing that while negotiating cross-border business contracts, lawyers representing non-Swedish companies are insisting the legal jurisdiction of the contract be in their own country, rather than risking a trial before a Swedish court.

Whatever happens to Assange, it will take a long time for Swedish justice to recover from this embarrassing debacle.
10:26 January 31, 2012 by OMaHTLD
Actually, most companies proposing a contract stipulate that the jurisdiction is their own, simply because they already retain lawyers in that jurisdiction.

At least he is being extradited for a criminal act committed in Sweden. Others are facing extradition to the US on criminal copyright infringement.

Copyright infringement is a civil offense in the UK, the people concerned operated within the UK, and to top it off, the CPS declined to prosecute.

Under the treaty with the US, the UK must provide reasonable evidence to extradite someone to the UK. However, the US only needs to provide suspicion of an offense, and so the poor bugger is facing five years in federal prison.

It seems to me, that Asshang would be better off in Sweden if he truly feared extradition to the US.
11:15 January 31, 2012 by Tall swede
Assange fan boys are truly nuts. Why would neutral sweden be such an excellent gateway to extradite him to us when he is in Uk that followed US every whim into wars and everything else.

To think that this changes everyones view on sweden and its legal system, and that the entire government should be in prison for corruption is a grandiose and unrealistic. You might find support for that kind of thinking on fan sites for assange, but it is still very unrealistic. People who believe in aliens, hidden planets in our solar system and illuminati do have sites too. Oh wait, illuminati are the ones who tries to frame assange!
11:19 January 31, 2012 by johnny1939
The whole thing was a storm in a teacup but has been made a big "deal" by people w/ various interests. I wish Assange the best.
11:53 January 31, 2012 by RobinHood
@Tall swede

Let me explain.

Sweden may, or may not, be politically neutral, but its legal system is not. Assange will be tried in Sweden by judges who were politically appointed, and the Prime Minister is allowed to express his opinion about ongoing criminal matters. This is repugnant to most legal systems, and more the stuff of banana republics than a civilised country. Several recent intellectual property cases have cast even further doubt about Swedish judges' independence from their government.

The UK legal system is completely separate and independent from the government. Judges are hired and fired by an independent body, and UK judges have a centuries long history of overturning or even refusing to follow government legislation. UK judges are expected to abandon any political loyalties upon their appointment. A UK judge who felt himself being influenced by the government would scream blue murder, and there would be a scandal. Currently, Assange is not in the custody of the UK government, he is in the custody of a UK judge. In Britain, that is a very different thing than in Sweden.

Whilst none of this is evidence that Sweden will pass Assange onto the US, or if he is guilty of rape, it is a sad but accurate reflection of what passes for justice in Sweden, and certainly not a conspiracy theory.
11:57 January 31, 2012 by transatlantic7
It is NOT true that the judges have no choice under international law. This case is so bogus, such an outrageous over reaching of judicial authority by the Swedish prosecutor, that the only decent thing to do is throw it out and refuse the extradition. Why? Because there are NO criminal charges. None. There is NO criminal charge against Julian Assange in Sweden. There was an initial charge filed by a subordinate in the prosecutor's office which was IMMEDIATELY withdrawn, because the chief prosecutor could see that it was bogus. Julian Assange has been kept under house arrest for almost a year now because a prosecutor in Sweden wants to QUESTION him in order to decide whether he WANTS to files charges against him. That...is bullshit. There is no law in any civilized country on earth which says you can arrest someone and keep him arrested, WITHOUT FILING ANY CHARGES AGAINST HIM, simply because you think you MIGHT be able to file some charges if he gives you answers to questions which you do not like. The whole thing would be a farce if it were not such a police state tactic.... Why hasn't the prosecutor filed any charges? Obviously because they do not have enough evidence to do so! When prosecutors have evidence to charge someone, they do it. They don't wait. The problem is, their evidence is so flimsy that if they are stupid enough to file their charges, the case would probably get dismissed immediately for lack of solid evidence. So, instead, they issue this warrant, and get to arrest the guy anyway, without enough evidence to even charge him with a crime.
12:42 January 31, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
After these 421 days, and counting, I wonder what the ratio is of: the legal fees spent up to now at the various legal levels (both private lawyers and government lawyers, including Swedish, British, and Australian) to the price of the two condoms that might have nullified the warrant to begin with.

I also wonder how these legal fees compare to the sentence Assange would eventually get or avoid (a few months of Cable TV? Was all that fighting worth it?).

If they truly believe that the danger is that Assange would be zipped up into an orange jump suit and sent to Gitmo then why have the legal fees not been spent instead at the International law level to get assurances from Sweden and the EU that no extradiction would take place?

I am not an Assange fan, but personally I feel that Sweden has used up the patience of the international legal community by this apparantly unusual (or unprecedented?) warrant for questionning , which will make it even LESS likely that they will extradite him to the US, even in an election year where someone like Gingrich could win.
13:59 January 31, 2012 by philster61
TallSwede. You know nothing about Swedish Justice...
14:32 January 31, 2012 by farnoxo
Julian who? he is so yesterday's news
16:55 January 31, 2012 by Tall swede
I know that sweden has low crime, and ridiculous short sentences. And despite that people claim that sweden wields the most undemocratic and abusive justice system. And im not impressed by Uk judges. They kept him locked up for a year without coming to any real decision. Would that be an improvement to sweden? Sweden do have the ministerstyre rule which would prohibit reinfeldt from intervening in swedish cases. Reinfeldt commented on blatant lies that was said about the swedish system, in UK. He is allowed to comment on things said in courts in other countries regarding his country. That is not corruption or anything even remotely close to it. I remember Assange writing to Reinfeldt and asking him to intervene, which was answered with "im not allowed to intervene", and after that they claim that the swedish system is corrupt. Assange should go to russia and host his show and see how he likes the free press there...
22:22 January 31, 2012 by Fredio
It is so sad that Sweden, is leaving its once known neutrality, now joining the 'hawkish' clan.

With this totally bogus case, and the outrageous involvement in handing over Libya to Al-Qeada terrorists. Now the Islamic terrorists are now spreading all over Africa with their arsenals and terrorism.

Maybe Sweden and NATO are not aware their weapons are being used in genocides around Africa, especially in Islamic part of Nigeria where Al-Qeada terrorist group 'Boko Haram' (Western education is evil), is already cleansing Christians and other non Moslems.

Do Sweden really want to continue pursuing this man Assange, just to please America, or real justice?

Please, Swedish government, many of us care so much about that country (Even when we don't live there), to see it fall into one bad trap after another.

The dangerous activities of the Feminist group (Men haters) and the hawkish 'Uncle Sam' is a bad combination. Wake up and save the lovely country before they destroy it.
08:49 February 1, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
The other point to remember is that Assange's sentence, even if he is convicted, will be instantly nullified by credit for 'time served' under house arrest in England.

He's been living in a posh mansion outside of London, which is only slightly less luxurious than life in a so-called Swedish prison, so he should get full credit for time served 'behind bars' (or at least one bar, the one next to the billiard room, with that fine private collection of single malt Scotches).
13:24 February 1, 2012 by expatjourno
It seems wrong that Assange could be extradited for "questioning." The Swedish prosecutors could question him in the UK and then, if they decide to file charges, try to extradite him to face trial.
16:47 February 1, 2012 by RobinHood
@Tall swede

Let em explain again.

The UK judges have kept Assange in custody at the assistance of the Swedish prosecutor, not becasue they wanted to. The prosecutor actually asked for Assange to be held in solitary confinement. The judges refused, and put him under house arrest instead. This is extremely lenient for someone accused of a sexual offence in England, and a powerful message how the judges feel about Swedish justice.

A Swedish Prime Minister is allowed to comment on ongoing criminal cases in Sweden. He did so quite blatantly before his own Parliament. In civilised countries such a thing is a scandalous and corrupt breach of Assange's right to a fair trial. Lawyers quite rightly assume, that now the Prime Minister has publicly given his opinion to his politically appointed judges, a fair trial is impossible.
17:04 February 1, 2012 by Åskar
It's so fascinating to read all insightful comments by experts on the Swedish legal system.
18:10 February 3, 2012 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
RobinHood, I'm afraid you are mistaken when you say 'UK judges have a centuries long history of overturning or even refusing to follow government legislation'. UK judges have never had the power to do this. There are 2 strands of law in the UK, common law (created by the judiciary) and statute law (created by Parliament). They can overturn and refuse to follow common law. They cannot do that with statute law. They can only interpret Statute law using the Rules of Statutory Interpretation. Parliamentary sovereignty is absolute and the bedrock of the UK constitution.
21:24 February 3, 2012 by Nilspet
It is not difficult for one to conclude that:

1. RobinHood is a well-educated man (whether he is Assange fan or not)

2. Tall swede is a typical swede (who believes Sweden is always right)
21:30 February 3, 2012 by SuperTulle
Whether he is extradited or not, he should be tried before a fair court. He has been accused of committing a crime and he should be tried for that.

I don't care if it happens in Sweden or the UK, as long as it happens in court. Right now, it only looks as if he's trying to resist.

The innocent have nothing to fear Mr. Assange, and you are looking very afraid of court at the moment.
04:56 February 4, 2012 by Cheeseman
Sweden seems to have its hands full in Malmö with murders and shootings.

I'm relieved to see that the Prime Minister has his priorities regarding what legal matters merit his attention as the elected head of Sweden's government.

Clearly Assange is the greatest threat to women's safety in Sweden, not the refugee asylum system of Sweden (which is not open to a national referendum regarding this policy's affect on Swedish society's safety).
13:03 February 5, 2012 by sleezypornorangutang
Swedish system, the world´s best in everything eh?

One would have to be a complete moron, not to detect the stink in this case.

It is just so quaint, that of all the places mr.Wikileaks has been to, he gets accused or rape namely in Sweden, the country known for it´s hyperactive behaviour in certain things. Now I know, that there is a LOT of racist sentiment in that land, just like everywhere, but the reaction to Sverige Demokraterna was just something I think no one expected. To shut somebody out like they did, creating a massbehaviour - pressure on their own frightened citicens, just defies my conception of a working society.

People are afraid. You don´t shut that sentimen in a closet and expect it to go away.

And then the Prime starts to get involved, defending the legal system...

04:00 February 6, 2012 by Ranger
Western Europe and the USA should boycott Swedish products and services until such time Sweden dumps their corrupt judical system and all the criminals that work there and adopts an honest modern court system based on Common Law.
11:52 February 6, 2012 by CJ from Sunshine Desserts
I´m a bit fed up with this bloke & all the free publicity he´s getting....can`t we just kick him back to Australia ?
13:49 February 6, 2012 by GLO
His parents should be proud. A son both a Terrorist and a criminal. Well done!
14:54 February 6, 2012 by Grindsprint
Haha I lol every time i read the comments on this site :) You people do realize that everyone sane who reads your bitter comments understands that you are retarded, right? Swedish judicial system is fine! everybody, exept internet trolls understands that. Just because conspiraacy theorists have spouted their various ideas about the assange case, it doesn´t mean thet they are true. He is accused of crimes. He fled. Now he´s wanted. Simple really. I wonder, do you bother so much protecting all sex offenders, or is it just this one?
16:00 February 6, 2012 by Ranger
The swedish judicial system is trash.

You can try to put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig.
19:02 February 6, 2012 by RobinHood
@William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha

Your interperetation of the English legal system is incorrect in part. Take at look at Lord Denning's rejection of Margaret Thatcher's draconian trade union legislation back in the 80's, as just one example. Lord Denning "interpreted" it out the door of his court room and all the way back to Parliament, where it died of embarassment.

There are many more examples of legislation "interpreted" to death by English judges in this way.
19:45 February 6, 2012 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
It's not incorrect. It's first year law student stuff. Parliamentary sovereignty is absolute. Nobody can overturn statute legislation except Parliament.

If legislation is interpreted in such a way as to not do what the legislators wanted then that is because it was badly drafted in the first place. Judges cannot interpret it to mean what they want it to mean, they have to interpret it according to the rules of Statutory Interpretation.

I do happen to agree with the point you were trying to make though.
09:58 February 7, 2012 by RobinHood
@William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha

You clearly didn't take a look at Denning and Thatcher's spat over trade union legislation.

If you do get round to it, look up Lord Woolf's rejection of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Bill 2004, which ended up on the same parliamentary scrap heap.

It's not always as simple as it first appears in first year law school. The bit that comes after "There are certain exceptions ..." is worth listening to.
14:11 February 7, 2012 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
And those exceptions are ... ?
20:09 February 7, 2012 by OUIJA
I have read over and over the comments posted here. Some are quite good and relevant, but others simply suck. Therefore, I suggest everybody to go to http://www.nnn.se/nordic/assange.htm

and thoroughly read what you are talking here about. If you do it, especially the Swedes that do not understand that a zero is a zero and not a nine, then, and only then, you will be able to grasp the seriousness of the witch hunting the Swedish Judicial system has pursued. You can have the following:

The section of NNN's website is concerned primarily with the Swedish proceedings against Julian Assange and includes the following elements:

Case History

A chronological account of the Swedish accusations and British extradition process, from their origins in August of 2011 to a U.K. Supreme Court hearing in February of 2012.

Sequence of Events

A brief overview of important events and developments relating to the case.

Police Interviews

Protocols of the original police interviews which contain vital information about the Swedish accusations against Assange.


A variety of information sources relating to the case.

Guys: Please do not write without having facts.
13:46 February 8, 2012 by Peterpjc
Alitheia in Ancient Greek means not merely "Truth" as we think of it in English. It means literally, un-covered, dis-covered, discovery, unveiled. Martin Heidegger saw the significance of this and went into it at length in his book, Parmenides. I want to go into it even more deeply.

In a time like the present where propaganda, disinformation and psy-ops are being constantly and heavily utilized to dupe the masses in America, Britain and Europe (throughout the entire English-speaking world), truth of government wrong-doing, abuse-of-power and do-it-yourself-false-flag-terrorism, is constantly covered-up and needs uncovered, alitheia. The English word, Truth, etymologically connects to the same root as trust, which implies hypnotic states, conditioning and belief. In English, truth is merely what people firmly believe, have faith in. In the English-speaking world, whatever people believe without question, without inquiry and investigation, is supposed to be "Truth". This is the underlying sociolinguistic tendency. The very meaning of "Truth" in English is whatever the stupid masses are manipulated to believe by their government so their government can successfully cover-up, litheia, with lies.

In Ancient Greece, the Truth, Alitheia, is the Truth-That-Comes-Out, the Uncovered Truth, as a result of successful investigation of the cover-up, the lies and illusions of the time. Truth, Alitheia, is finding out what is really going on, what has really happened. Truth, Alitheia, in Ancient Greece, is a disillusionment, an awakening from common mass belief. But in the modern world of government cover-up, Truth-That-Uncovers-The-Facts is always called a "Conspiracy Theory" in the sense of a "crank belief of people who want to disrupt society". This is the tendency in Ancient Greece which itself culminated in the martyrdom of Socrates. Socrates, like Parmenides, was a devotee of Alitheia, the Goddess of Truth, the Goddess of Uncovering Real Truth. It was not merely Socrates who was martyred in Athens, but Alitheia, the Goddess of Uncovering, of Discovery. The present governments of America and Britain are working very hard to kill Alitheia, Uncovered Truth, yet again and again.

14:41 February 8, 2012 by pjtaipale
In my eyes, Assange has made a fool of himself with this stuff about exraditing him to Sweden exposes him for extradition to U.S. or Gitmo and torture. It's just ridiculous.

Hey, Britain is the country that went to war in Iraq with U.S. Not Sweden.

Also all the nonsense about technicalities like "he has not even been charged". The process is a bit different in ann European countries, but it is very safe in Sweden. If you think that British system is so much better than any other country that Assange or anyone else couldn't be extradited due to these process differences, then you shouldn't sign any extradition treaties at all. In that case, you can expect the treaties are mutual. So a rapist in Britain would be protected in Sweden or France or Germany.

That's not what you want. Try to understand that countries are a bit different, and you are not necessarily superior.
21:46 February 8, 2012 by sgt_doom
You mean it might have profound effects on the Wallenberg fortune?

Bonnier AB? The Karl Rove & Carl Bildt longstanding relationship?

The economic relationships between Sweden and the US Federal Reserve?

I'm confused? Could you please clarify a bit more?


Perhaps it might affect the future of Prime PR????


Hmmmm....Lundin Petroleum's history of Sudanese massacres?
09:08 February 9, 2012 by pjtaipale
"The fact that the Swedish Prime Minister himself has had to defend his legal system, and attack Assange in Parliament is important"

Having to defend the Swedish legal system is important only in showing that Assange fanboys are sometimes misunderstanding things, sometimes just simply lying. The Swedish prime minister is perfectly within his rights to explain how the legal process works. He has not attacked Assange or influenced the case itself, that would be improper. If explaining the legal process is in your opinion an attack on Assange, that only shows a remarkable bias you have.
17:15 February 10, 2012 by Ranger
If Reinfeldt was a "real PM" he would be working to clean out all the corrupt judges and criminals that work in the Swedish judicial system.
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