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Extradition bid 'not a human rights violation'

AFP/The Local · 2 Feb 2012, 21:22

Published: 02 Feb 2012 15:32 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Feb 2012 21:22 GMT+01:00

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In his final avenue of appeal within the British legal system, Assange's entire case rests on the argument that the Swedish prosecutor who ordered his arrest in December 2010 was not a proper judicial authority.

But Clare Montgomery, a British lawyer acting on behalf of the Swedish prosecuting authorities, rejected claims made the previous day by lawyers for the 40-year-old Australian.

"The issuing member state has the task of identifying who it regards as the judicial authority competent to issue the European Arrest Warrant," she told the panel of seven judges.

Montgomery added that there was "nothing either shocking to the conscience or alternative to basic human rights" for a prosecutor or police officer to issue such a warrant.

She told the panel of seven judges on Thursday that it would "undermine" the fast-track European Arrest Warrant system if Assange's appeal was allowed.

Citing legal examples from France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland and even Cambodia, she said victory for Assange could lead to at least eight European countries being barred from using the warrant system -- and there was laughter in the court when one of the judges gently ribbed her after she attempted to say "judicial authorities" in Dutch.

But in her closing argument, Assange's lawyer Dinah Rose said Montgomery's case was "untenable", and that a prosecutor was not an independent, impartial judicial authority.

The white-haired Assange did not comment as he left the grand court building, which is opposite the Houses of Parliament in central London.

He pushed his way through a hail of flashbulbs in the darkness before getting into a taxi, while dozens of supporters of his work on his anti-secrecy website shouted "Well done, Julian!"

It was the second and final day of the hearing at the wood-panelled courtroom in central London.

The judges are expected to defer their decision on Assange's fate for several weeks.

Court officials said it would likely be handed down in person by the judges to the lawyers in the case, but it was unclear whether Assange would be there for the verdict.

Dozens of supporters were again in court to see the former hacker, who has become a cause celebre since his anti-secrecy website enraged Washington by leaking thousands of secret US documents.

Britain's Supreme Court only deals with cases that it decides raise a wider point of public interest -- which in Assange's case would be an overturning of the whole fast-track European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system.

On Wednesday, Rose argued that extraditing him to Sweden on the basis of an EAW issued by a prosecutor would breach legal principles dating back 1,500 years.

She said that only a judge or similar official should count as a proper "judicial authority."

One of the judges mentioned the fact that Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency, which deals with EAW requests, turned down the original warrant issued by Sweden.

The reason was because it did not include a mention of the maximum prison sentence, as stipulated by the EAW system. The detail was included on the second warrant, which was accepted.

Assange has spent most of the last year under virtual house arrest at the mansion of a supporter in Norfolk, eastern England, although he has now moved out.

Assange denies the rape and sexual assault allegations made by two women in Sweden, and insists the sex was consensual.

Story continues below…

He has also claimed that the allegations against him are politically motivated. Assange has said he fears he will eventually be handed over to the United States, where Bradley Manning, a US soldier accused of handing documents to WikiLeaks, faces a court-martial.

If the court rejects his appeal, Assange 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.

But if Assange wins his case it could call into question the entire EAW system.

While the legal battle has dragged on, Assange's celebrity status has grown.

He is to host his own TV show -- although Russia's state-run RT is the only channel to confirm it will broadcast it -- and will also make an appearance as himself this month on the 500th episode of the US cartoon show "The Simpsons".

A lower court in Britain initially approved Assange's extradition to Sweden in February 2011. An appeal to the High Court was rejected in November, but he subsequently won permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:11 February 2, 2012 by zeulf
Ya Julian if You do not want to face the Court ... It then must be Political. that rational follows the USA is behind it all pulling strings and the Swedes are so afraid of the USA. Who believes this Sh*t???
16:27 February 2, 2012 by Liquidmonkey
@ #1

who can believe that an arrest warrant can be issued based on simple allegations!!

he has NOT been charged with anything.

what kool-aid r u drinking zeulf????
17:11 February 2, 2012 by TheWatchman
This is not right. If he is proven guilty, fine, extradite him. Don't extradite him before any decision on his guilt is made.
17:36 February 2, 2012 by skogsbo
but you need to be interviewed and evidence gathered, before attending court and guilt being proved. This is what he refused to do, hence the warrant.

That's the way ALL investigations work, you are arrested on suspicion (if an arrestable offence), then interviewed to put you side of the story / evidence across. You are then charged or released, or held, depending on the evidence. It would be the same for you or I, except that we don't have a few million to push this through every court in the land, just because you think you are above the law.

The guy is a freak and needs putting back in his box.
18:21 February 2, 2012 by lovedealer76
where were these women in question all along until he released those so call classified USA documents?

This guy got a point,i am sick to death with this system that believes what ever comes out of a female mouth as allegation,damn! rediculous
18:38 February 2, 2012 by The Who
This is all a matter of political interests.. they were just waiting for Assange's mistake for taking him down! and yes! what could have been better than blaming him with rape? since every single time a woman has sex with someone sha can easily say: " he raped me" and everybody believe!

I guess the only way Assange could have avoided this situation is if he was gay or asexual.. haha i mean! come on!! everybody need sex! and this was the way and the excuse or chance they took for bringing him down since what he is doing is trying to uncover the real face of the system... I don't care if he becomes famous or not.. but thanks there is people like him who dares to try to open people's eyes for the truth!
19:32 February 2, 2012 by scubadoc
skogbo, Assenge offered to be interviewed several times both in Sweden and later in England. Learn the facts. It is obvious that the prosecutor was more interested in prosecuting than obtain evidence.

Anyone wanting the facts can go to:

21:48 February 2, 2012 by Nomark

A less biased review of the facts can be found in the summary of the extradition judgement made last year. The judge examined a number of JA's arguments about unfair treatment, attempts to be interviewed etc. Curiously enough he wasn't overly impressed with JA's story as the poor innocent persecuted soul.


The problem with Assange's story is that if he really was interested in being interviewed he would have done so. He would also have accepted that a suspect doesn't dictate the timing of police interviews.
00:43 February 3, 2012 by matco
Dear 'The Local',

Is it possible to find a way to view your news items without seeing the ridiculous nonsense that follows from your half-witted readers? Please? If I could just switch it off it would make your web site so much more readable.
08:49 February 3, 2012 by Åskar
@lovedealer76: "where were these women in question all along until he released those so call [sic] classified USA documents?"

They were fans of his that he had had consensual sex with, but who, independently of each other, discovered that he had somehow torn the condom he was wearing and wanted him tested for VD.
08:55 February 3, 2012 by philster61
"Ya Julian if You do not want to face the Court ... It then must be Political. that rational follows the USA is behind it all pulling strings and the Swedes are so afraid of the USA. Who believes this Sh*t??? "

Many investigative journalists do... The fact that Police broke many protocols in their investigation. The fact the case was initially thrown out by the prosecutor. The fact he has been under house arrest and not even charged, The fact that he is only wanted for questioning and that could have been resolved months ago......shall I go on?
11:31 February 3, 2012 by johnny1939
Why is it that any woman's word is being taken over that of a man these days?????? The 2 women involved were not exactly pillars of the community. I think inviting strange men to your home and having sex w/ them and then claiming sexual abuse when he has his way a 2nd time..what is a poor fellow to think?
15:05 February 3, 2012 by Shine your eye
I dont understand this Julian man. Even if he is innocent he is irresponsible. I dont see how a man of his level will be even be having consensual sex with two girls at the same time. He should just admit that he is a porn star and sweden will charge him for that. He paid those two girls. But buying sex is illegal in Sweden. So he must be prosecuted.
08:52 February 9, 2012 by pjtaipale
"This is not right. If he is proven guilty, fine, extradite him."

A trial is where people are proven guilty. The whole point of the extradition is to conduct a trial. He has refused to come to a trial, hence the extradition request.

This rubbish "he has not been charged" is just some Brits trying to be smart, or intentionally stupid. The criminal process has slightly different names for different steps in different countries; none is inherently vastly better than others.
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