SHARE
COPY LINK
ASSANGE EXTRADITION FIGHT

WIKILEAKS

‘No fair trial for Assange in Sweden’: lawyer

Julian Assange's Swedish lawyer on Monday reiterated fears that the WikiLeaks founder would not receive a fair trial in Sweden, where he stands accused of sex crimes allegedly committed against two women.

'No fair trial for Assange in Sweden': lawyer

Assange, who is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, has little chance of a fair trial in Sweden due to the “poor treatment” that suspected criminals receive in the country, wrote his lawyer Per Samuelson in on opinion piece published Monday in the Guardian newspaper.

“Sweden routinely imposes severe restrictions on suspects held on remand. Pre-trial, suspects are often held in detention, or even in isolation. This treatment is unnecessary and humiliating and thwarts the defendant’s ability to prepare their case,” he wrote.

Samuelson claims that detainment and isolation should be reserved for criminals such as Norwegian serial killer Anders Breivik, but that less serious allegations like those leveled at Assange should be exempt from such treatment.

“Sweden insists on Assange’s forcible removal to Sweden. Once there, he will immediately be seized by police and put in jail. He will be taken to the detention hearing in handcuffs, and will almost certainly be detained. He will remain in custody for the duration of the proceedings. This is unnecessary,” Samuelson wrote.

“This treatment is degrading. No one should be treated as guilty until proven innocent. There has been no trial, let alone conviction. Assange has not even been charged with any crime. And the situation makes it difficult for him to prepare his defence.”

Furthermore, Samuelson argued that remand prisons in Sweden do not allow suspects any kind of “proper contact” with anyone outside the prison, with any communication often taking weeks due to application forms and the censorship of letters.

“The treatment that the Swedish legal system has inflicted, and would be likely to inflict on Assange would mark him out as guilty and prevent him from preparing a proper defence and, for that reason, having a fair trial.”

Meanwhile, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa claims that Ecuador is still considering whether to grant political asylum to Assange.

“We are analyzing the case with full responsibility and, as we have said a thousand times, we have no deadline to make a decision,” Correa said Saturday.

The Local/og

twitter.com/thelocalsweden

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

JULIAN ASSANGE

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer

Julian Assange would cooperate with Swedish authorities if they reopen a rape case against him but will continue to resist any bid to extradite him to the United States, his lawyer said Sunday.

Assange will cooperate with Sweden, but fight US warrant: lawyer
Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson in London on Thursday. Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham/TT

“We are absolutely happy to answer those queries if and when they come up,” Jennifer Robinson told Sky News television about the rape claims.

“The key issue at the moment is US extradition, which we have warned about for many years,” she added.

The WikiLeaks founder is in custody in London awaiting sentencing for breaching his British bail conditions in 2012 by seeking refuge in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.

He was arrested at the embassy on Thursday after Ecuador gave him up, and is now also fighting a US extradition warrant relating to the release by WikiLeaks of a huge cache of official documents.

The Australian has always denied the claims of sexual assault and rape in Sweden. The first expired in 2015 and the other was dropped in 2017, but the alleged rape victim has now asked for the case to be reopened.

If Stockholm makes a formal extradition request, the British government will have to decide whether to consider it before or after that of the United States.

Robinson said Assange would seek assurances from Sweden that he would not be sent on to America, saying: “That is the same assurance we were seeking in 2010 and the refusal to give that is why he sought asylum.”

She added: “He's not above the law. Julian has never been concerned about facing British justice or indeed Swedish justice. This case is and has always been about his concern about being sent to face American injustice.”

The US indictment charges Assange with “conspiracy” for working with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to crack a password stored on Department of Defence computers in March 2010.

He faces up to five years in jail.

Manning passed hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, exposing US military wrongdoing in the Iraq war and diplomatic secrets about scores of countries around the world.

The conspiracy charge against Assange seems intended to sidestep limits on prosecution potentially arising from the US Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of press freedom.

But Robinson insisted: “This indictment clearly engages newsgathering activities and the kinds of communications that journalists have with sources all the time.”

The lawyer condemned as “outrageous” claims made by Ecuador about Assange's behaviour in the embassy, including that he smeared his faeces on the wall, saying: “That's not true.”

Quito also accused him of failing to care for his cat. WikiLeaks said Assange had asked his lawyers to “rescue him (the cat) from embassy threats” in October, adding: “They will be reunited in freedom.”

Assange's father, John Shipton, on Sunday urged Australia to bring his son home.

READ ALSO: 

SHOW COMMENTS