Can Assange feel confident about a fair treatment by the Swedish legal system?

SWEDHR Research & Report. Vol 1., No 13, 5 April 2015

The Swedish paper Svenska dagbladet (SvD) has reported that Julian Assange is very pleased that a Swedish prosecutor finally comes to London to interview him. [1] But how confident can he feel about this?

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By Prof. Anders Romelsjö

Vice-chairman, Swedish Doctors for Human Rights

 

The Swedish paper Svenska dagbladet (SvD) has reported that Julian Assange is very pleased that a Swedish prosecutor finally comes to London to interview him. [1] But how confident can he feel about this? 

Dick Sundevall, a very experienced journalist on criminal and juridical issues added on the 17 of December in the magazine Paragraph an update [2] to his analysis on the Assange case published in English by SWEDHR’s Research Reports: [3] In his update the author declares:

“In the aftermath of the announcement that Assange would be interrogated in London, some have stated that now, at last, the two women [accusing Assange] will finally have an opportunity to redress, after all these years. Yes, of course it is important that when one or more women make police reports about sexual abuse, the matter should be investigated properly. Something that unfortunately is not always the case. However, the uniqueness of this case is that the two women, through their attorneys, have opposed that prosecutors and the police would go to London and interrogate Assange. To the best of my knowledge, it has never before happened that women who have reported sexual assault to the police, have at the same time objected that the police or the prosecutor should carry out the investigation as thoroughly as possible.”

In his original article published on the 16 of March [3]. Sundevall reminds on the previous assessment done on the case by Chief Prosecutor Eva Finné, to whom he refers as “the very respected prosecutor, which usually takes over complicated or sensitive investigations from other prosecutors”, and “that is what happened with the case on sexual allegations against Assange.” It resulted in that Eva Finné, says Sundevall,

“After examining the case, [Finné] lifted the warrants for the detention of Assange, and issued this written statement with her decision about dismissing the case: ‘I do not think there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape’.”

Sundevall continues: “A few days later she produced other statements, in which she also dismisses allegations of sexual molestation. She makes that clear in this communication from the prosecutor’s office: ‘The content of the interrogation does not give support to that any crime has been committed’. Then, Claes Borgström appeals the closure of the case, and this goes to Marianne Ny.”

With the support of the Swedish establishment – according to Sundevall – Marianne Ny refuses to interrogate Assange in London.

And the journalist writes: “Is there anyone who believes that there has not been an informal contact between people from the US Embassy and appropriately selected Swedes in such a major international political issue? Appropriately chosen Swedes who have the necessary network of contacts? Recently, it was revealed that Carl Bildt had previously reported continuously to his American ‘friends’ on the internal deliberations at the Swedish government. Thus, the Americans knew what those government decisions would likely be, even before that the members of the parties integrating the government, and the Swedish people as a whole, have a clue about it. And let’s not forget that we live in a country where American CIA agents have been allowed to retrieve citizens at Bromma airport. Drugging the prisoners, put them on adult diapers, and then transporting them off to Egypt, to be tortured.”

Frihetsgudinna-gråter-bild5

In the article “A political solution to the legal stalemate in the case Assange – Government guarantees against extradition”, [4] published by Västerbottens Kuriren on the 1 of November 2014, Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Leif Elinder, and I, point out that “the former right-wing government’s handling of the Assange case has been criticized on a number of international human rights forums,” and that this criticism has been mainly focused on:

“a) The previous government’s direct interference in the legal process of the case, such as Prime Minister Reinfeldt media statements, [5] which was criticized, among others, by the Australian-Senator Ludlam Scotland in an open letter to his government, a missive who enjoyed wide international reception;” [6]

b) Government Members statements about Julian Assange’s right to political asylum;

c) Incorrect statements from the Foreign Ministry headed by Carl Bildt, maintaining that for legal reasons it would not be possible to interview Julian Assange in London.” [7]

In England, Assange has had house arrest with ankle shackle, or been locked up at Ecuador’s Embassy in London for over four years. Both the Ecuador’s Ambassador and the French EU parliamentarian and magistrate Eva Joly has sought contact with the previous Swedish Government to find a solution. Also, through diverse actions, the following [public personalities associated with the Swedish legal system] have tried to find a solution: Former prosecutor Rolf Hillegren, juridical associate professor and former judge Brita Sundman, the MP and member at the Parliament’s Justice Committee Johan Pehrson, as well as the chairman of the Swedish Bar Assciation Anne Ramberg. All efforts have been in vain. Former Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has refused to discuss the matter.

“Julian Assange has been described in the US as “high tech terrorist”, [8] and according to documents published by Edward Snowden, Assange has been placed on a so-called “Man haunting target-list”. [9]

Meanwhile, “the US government urged European countries that participated in the NATO-led military operations in Afghanistan – hence Sweden – to “consider prosecution” against Assange.” [10]

Remember that at the beginning of 2010, Wikileaks began publishing 400,000 “top secret” documents describing the criminal activities of the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq. [11] They included a video, “Collateral Murder”, [12] showing an American helicopter killing a group of civilians in Iraq, including two journalists employed by Reuters.

With regard to the issue of likelihood of an extradition, the Swedish praxis the last fifteen years has been to approve all extradition requests from the United States – when the person has been found in Swedish territory. [13]

References

[1] Gunilla von Hall, “Assange: Tar emot med öppna armar” , SvD, 22 March 2015.

[2] Dick Sundeval, “Uppdatering 17 mars 2015”. See down below text of “Åklagaren föregriper beslut avseende Assange“:

“Efter beskedet om att Assange ska förhöras i London, har en del skribenter de senaste dagarna framfört att nu ska äntligen de två kvinnorna få en möjlighet till upprättelse. Och att det var på tiden efter alla dessa år. Ja, det är naturligtvis viktigt att det utreds ordentligt när en eller flera kvinnor gör polisanmälningar om sexuella övergrepp. Något som tyvärr inte alltid sker.”

“Det unika i det här fallet är att de båda kvinnorna, via sina juridiska ombud, har motsatt sig att åklagare och polis ska åka till London och förhöra Assange. Mig veterligen har det aldrig tidigare hänt att kvinnor som polisanmält sexuella övergrepp motsatt sig att polisens och åklagarens utredning ska bedrivas så långt det är möjligt.”

[3] Dick Sundevall, “Prosecutor’s behaviour in ‘case’ Assange questions Swedish principle of prosecutor-neutrality”. SWEDHR Research & Reports. Vol 1., No 12, 3 April 2015.

[4] Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Leif Elinder, and Anders Romelsjö, “En politisk lösning i fallet Assange – Regeringsgarantier mot en utlämning“. Västerbottens Kuriren, 31 October 2014. English version: “A political solution to the legal stalemate in the case Assange – Government guarantees against extradition”, The Professors’ Blog, 1 November 2014.

[5] TT, “Beklagar att kvinnors rätt och ställning väger så lätt –Statsminister Fredrik Reinfeldt (M) om Assange-fallett (“Sorry that women’s rights and status weigh so easy – Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt on Assange case”) Aftonbladet; 8 Feb 2011.

[6] Scott Ludlam, Excerpt of “Letter to Foreign Minister Bob Carr on a series of statements made ​​by members of the English Executive and Government Officials on the Assange case“, January 14, 2012. Published in M. Ferrada de Noli, “Importantes denuncias del Senador Ludlam sobre el caso Assange“. The Professors’ Blog, 20 January 2013.

[7] Leif Elinder, “Kasta prestigen över bord i fallet Assange.” GP, 1 Sept. 2012.

[8] Marcello Ferrada de Noli, “Contesting Announcements of Sweden’s Justice Stefan Lindskog – Lecture on Assange at Adelaide University”. In: “Sweden VS. Assange. Human Right Issues”. Libertarian Books-Sweden, 2014. Pages 251-257.

[9] Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Leif Elinder, and Anders Romelsjö, “En politisk lösning i fallet Assange – Regeringsgarantier mot en utlämning“. Op.cit.

[10] Marcello Ferrada de Noli, “Was The Reopening Of The Sweden Case, Part Of The US Request To Prosecute Assange By Any Means?” In: “Sweden VS. Assange. Human Right Issues”. Libertarian Books-Sweden, 2014. Pages 19-31.

[11] Julie Hyland, “Despite Swedish interview request, WikiLeaks founder Assange remains in danger”, World Socialist Web Site, 16 March 2015.

[12] YouTube, “Collateral Murder – Wikileaks – Iraq”. Uploaded 3 April 2010.
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[13] Marcello Ferrada de Noli, “AP journalist from Sweden reports misleadingly on Assange extradition case”. Second Opinion, 7 February 2011.

 

 

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