Human-rights & issues of national sovereignty in Swedish case VS. Julian Assange

 SWEDHR Research & Reports. Vol 2., N° 23, 27 July 2015

By Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli

 SWEDISH DOCTORS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

“Swedish officials got the impression that they were working under direct orders of the CIA”. / Prize-winner journalist Mike Ölander’s reportage “CIA demanded that Sweden would expand cooperation”, Expressen, 6 December 2010. [1] The day after (7 December 2010), and requested by Sweden, Julian Assange was arrested in London and thrown to solitary confinement.

Introduction

This analysis covers the following aspects: a) Explaining the diplomatic maneuvers of the Swedish government as aimed at the further protraction of the interrogation of Mr Assange in London, and why is in the interest of Sweden  not conducting this interrogation at all; b) A rationale on how an interrogation of Mr Assange by the Swedish authorities – contrary to what is commonly known – has already been conducted. This section also reviews the relationships between the government of Sweden, the prosecutor of the case, and the law firm Bodström & Borgström; the relationships between the police involved in converting the women’s consultation in a criminal case, the nominal woman accuser, and the political party to which all these actors belong, and c) Conclusion; this ‘legal case’ has never existed. The case – as we have put forward already in 2010 – has only a political aim, and will be ultimately resolved only by political means. [2]

depicting a pros. delussion - w. ja & nc

A main human-rights issue and and a serious  issue of sovereignty 

The Western media presents the outwardly erratic diplomatic exercise from the part of the Swedish authorities in the ‘case Assange’ as if it were part of a diplomatic duel held with Ecuador.

This is not the case. The positions put forward by Sweden are consciously designed to be refuted by the Ecuadorian government. Sweden does not wish any interrogation with Mr Assange in London; neither do they wished an interrogation in Sweden.

Let us first make clear that these are not “Marianne Ny’s terms”. These are the terms agreed by the legal Swedish system as a whole. This comprises Ms. Ny’s boss – Prosecutor General Perklev – and the one ruling over him, namely the Interior Minister of Sweden. Nevertheless media protests negating it, the fact is that Sweden do not have a precise separation of powers, Montesquieu-wise. When the last appeal of Assange was to be treated by the Swedish Supreme Court, the court asked first the Prosecutor General (an appointee by the government) for his comment, and decided of course – accordingly – versus Mr. Assange.  

Sweden knows well that Ecuador, or any other country, would never accept the terms of ‘the prosecutors’ (in fact, it is the official position of Sweden) like this one regarding the case Assange. This, because there are issues of national sovereignty – Sweden is very much aware that it is impossible to be subtle in negotiations by Ecuador or with any other sovereign nation.  

To the above belongs the issue of territorial sovereignty of the Embassy in London, the venue of the would-to-be (it will never be) interrogation of Mr Assange in London; and consequently, who is to be present in such a legal procedure, or under which legal agreements representatives of the two nations would cooperate.

At the time the embassy of Sweden in Santiago granted diplomatic asylum to Chileans requested by Pinochet’s arresting warrants (it was during the noble times of Olof Palme), the Swedish government insisted – and obtained – that any contact of the Chilean authorities with the asylum folks would to be supervised by personal of the Swedish embassy. On occasions, supervised with the presence of the ambassador Harald Edelstam himself. These actions were taken by Ambassador Edelstam in accordance with PM Olof Palme (“i samförstånd med statsministern Olof Palme“). [3] Now the Swedes insist in negating such a right to the Ecuadorians, although it is documented that they officially granted this to the Swedish Embassy personel in a Latin-American country. Swedish officials are now adducing that “international agreements are sufficient”. But, is it not paying respect of the territorial integrity of an embassy – as a juridical expression of the country’s sovereignty – one outmost sacred international agreement? 

Indeed Swedish officials are fully aware of that. And they have known that,unequivocally, all along (Ecuador put forward its position several month ago; among other at the Swedish human-rights hearing at the UN meeting in Genève in January). And it is precisely this clear awareness that prompts the Swedish prosecutor authority to continue insisting in such impossible demands. Why? Because they need a refusal from the Ecuadorian authorities; and they need this play to be extended until mid August: Sweden does need the case to reach the prescription limit. It will be the only way – they hope, at least – in which their legal system shall be spared of international scrutiny and scorn. Otherwise, an interrogation of Assange (especially if conducted in front of Ecuadorian diplomatic personnel) it will reveal what the ‘case’ really is: a no-case, legally speaking.

Swedish criminal experts that have examined the material available (including the interrogation-protocols of the police investigation), have concluded that the possibility of a legal case at all against Mr Assange – based on the Swedish law – does not exist in real terms. For instance, in the analysis “Prosecutor’s behaviour in ‘case’ Assange questions Swedish principle of prosecutor-neutrality“ (SWEDHR Research & Reports, Vol 1., No 12, 3 April 2015) the prize winner criminal-investigation reporter Dick Sundevall concludes that the result of eventual prosecutor hearings with Mr Assange will most likely be, “Brott ej styrkt” – meaning, the crime implied in the accusations is not legally sustainable as a punishable act. [4]

Against the backdrop of those evidence-based analysis, added our own 5-years follow-up of all materials available on the case, our conclusion at SWEDHR was that this late move from the part of the prosecutor in trying to show they are now interested in “finally” do the interrogation of Assange – after these five years – this is a simple bluff. [5]

We wrote, in no uncertain terms, “in absence of a real legal case, there is an ostensible manipulation from the part of Sweden through protracting the interrogation of Assange all the way during these five years, all which would eventually permit Sweden to drop the case without   losing face  on the base of publicly demonstrated false accusations. [5]

Sweden has no legal case here, and now they appear of only trying to get the case prescribed in order to avert that further international embarrassment would be brought upon the Swedish legal system in general, or upon the prosecutors of the case in particular. Or do the Swedish authorities really expect that their Ecuadorian counterparts would  indulge themselves in a breach of Ecuador own sovereignty? Swedish authorities cannot pretend (“hacerse el sueco”) that they have not known this:

a) about the sovereignty-issue of the embassy compound, and the right of a nation to apply – or at least to come into agreement agreement – regarding the applicability and/or feasibility of its own legal norms for procedures in interrogations of this sort.

b) about the legal protection they are obliged to the person they have granted diplomatic asylum in their sovereign territory.  This is the human rights issue that the Ecuadorian government has taken upon them as an ethical obligation – in the same fashion as Harald Edelstam and Bengt Oldenburg and did in Chile 1973-74.

As pointed out elsewhere, both these issues have been clearly expressed to Sweden at several diplomatic occasions for a long time ago. We have also reminded our readers in our previous analysis here in Research & Reports that is not only Ecuador who has raised these topics to Sweden. It has also been put forward directly to Sweden by a number of Latin-American and European countries.  [5]

The self-revealing time-line, and how the ‘legal case’ did commence. The interrogation of Mr Assange

The notion given by the Western media that the prosecutor’s side  has never interrogated Julian Assange is false.

The interrogation of  Mr Assange by the police holding the investigation took place on the 27 of August 2010. What happened around that interrogation, and why is was not commented on by the Swedish media, or the Guardian, etc., is detailed here, see below. [6]

Another essential distortion of facts that continues unabated in the Swedish and Western media, is that the case against Mr Assange would have started as a criminal accusation from the part of “two Swedish women”. In fact, it started by a conversion done by officers at the Swedish police, which is an institution under the Swedish Ministry of Justice. The facts depicted here below will be horrifying information for many, yet they are true.

On the 10 of August, sixteen days after that WikiLeaks published the Afghanistan-war documents, the US-government had asked the few other countries governments participating in the military occupation of Afghanistan (among them Sweden, with troops there under US-command) to prosecute Mr Julian Assange. [6]  

Then days after, on the 20 of August, The Swedish police – an institution under Sweden’s ministry of justice – converted a consultation about Julian Assange into a criminal complaint and suspicion of criminal behaviour. The consultation (i.e. how to proceed with a testing on ‘what if a venereal disease’) has been made by two women, who discovered they have had sex with him in different occasions during a same period. [7]

The registration of the complaint as ‘suspicion of rape’ (skälig misstanke om våldtäkt) was done by a polis officer of name Irmeli Krans. Krans, an active member of the social democratic party, and who was a personal friend of one of the women’s “accusers” (AA). Police officer Krans has  also exposed publicly her admiration to her party colleague at the Social Democrats of Sweden,  of the lawyer Claes Borgström (the one nominally asking for the reopening of the case – see below). [8]

This woman accuser, AA, also an active member of the Social Democratic Party, was at the time the political secretary of the organization “Brotherhood” (now renamed “Religious Social Democrats of Sweden“), [9] integrated by the group of Christian social democrats where former Minister Thomas Bodström was highest ranking member after the ex PM Göran Persson – the U.S. (and Bush’s) friend, according to their own declarations. [10]

However, after the reviewing of the case presented by the police, the Chief Prosecutor Ms Eva Finne dismissed already on the 21 of August 2010 the arresting order against Mr Assange, and some days after – on the 25th of August – Chief Prosecutor Ms Eva Finne dismissed the case. Mr Assange was free to go. The news on the ‘case Assange’ and of the decision of prosecutor Eva Finne are published all over Sweden. [11]

Police officer Irmeli Krans, the friend of ‘accuser’ AA, reacts by posting the following in social media, the same evening (22:44):

irmeli krans2

“But my god!!! The scandal in every newspaper and news broadcast. But our dear eminent and especially competent Claes Borgström can hopefully straighten this out!”.  [12]

In spite of that the Chief prosecutor had dropped the case and the arresting of  Mr Julian Assange, the police officer Ms Irmeli Krans –  public fan of lawyer Borgström – conducted on the 26 of August (the day after that decision of prosecutor Finne discarding the case) a new official interrogation with her friend and party comrade, the ‘accuser’ AA. Noteworthy , the protocol of this interrogation was not signed by AA. [11]

The day after, on the 27 of August 2010, one day after the above un-signed report produced by police officer Krans, and only two weeks after the US government demanded the prosecution of Assange to the countries participating in the military occupation of Afghanistan, the law firm ‘Bodström & Borgström’ asked a “new” prosecutor – Ms Marianne Ny – to reopen the case.  [7] Which she did. Why?

The intermingling between government, prosecutor Ny, and the ‘accusers” law-firm Borgström & Bodström

We have reviewed above the intermingling between the Swedish police officer, taken the declaration of her friend and party comrade AA, and the subsequent conversion of the consultation in a criminal categorization (‘rape, etc.’). Here we will examine the relationships of important actors in this constructed legal drama.

“Bodström & Borgström”:

Mr Thomas Bodström, member of the social democratic party, is the Swedish former minister of Justice identified as main collaborator with the CIA renditions of political refugees from Sweden that occurred during the government of Göran Persson. At the time of their case against Assange, Thomas Bodström was a permanent resident at Virginia, U.S. There, in his blog Bodströmsamhallet (Bodstrom’s society), he proudly announced that his law firm defended the plaintiff against Assange (see down below).

Mr Claes Borgström, then member of the social democratic party, was a government-appointed Gender ombudsman. According to a Wikipedia bio article retrieved 8 Dec 2012, Claes Borgström had plans of becoming the Minister of Justice of Sweden “if the Social Democrats had won the election in 2010” He is also known in Sweden for his claims that “all men carry a collective guilt for violence against women”. 

Bodstrom, Borgström & Ny

Marianne Ny, Thomas Bodström and Claes Borgström participated in the same governmental consulting team set by the Swedish government for the formulation of new sexual-crimes legislation.

With the time, has Claes Borgström himself felt obliged to acknowledge that he – previously to their initiation of the ‘Assange case’ – has worked together with Marianne Ny in a governmental committee and that he has met her also at a workshop on genders issues. [7]

Regarding the ‘expert-assignment’ prosecutor Marianne Ny  received from the part of the Swedish government, it is noteworthy to mention that this assignment was still going on at the time she decided to open a case against Mr Assange – times that overlap, as we wrote before, with the period in which the U.S. government requested the countries participating in the military occupation of Afghanistan to open a prosecution against the founder of WikiLeaks.

This assignment of prosecutor Ny – still going at the time of her decision of opening of the case against Mr Assange, has unsurprisingly never been mentioned in this debate – with exception of a publication by The Professors Blog in 2014 (“Duckpond in the Swedish legal system”, texts excerpted below). [13]

The government’s assignment of Ms. Marianne Ny – as appointed expert in the Swedish Committee ensemble to propose a broadening of the criminal concept of rape in the context of hardening the legislation of sexual-offences – is described in the document detailed below. 

This is contained in a letter – see it in box- sent to the Ministry of Justice (Chefen för Justitiedepartementet) by judge (rådmanNils Petter Ekdahl : “The Government decided on the 17 of July 2008 to appoint a special investigator with the assignment of evaluating the applicability of the 2005 sexual-crimes legislation. . .” “To assist the investigation, Marianne Ny (named among the six appointed experts) was appointed (förordnade) from the 10 of September  2008 . . .” “The experts have agreed with all the principles in the PM conclusions and propositions. Therefore this PM is formulated in “we” form?”

doc eckdal - mänsson

The letter is contained in the document “Sexualbrottslagstiftningen – utvärdering och reformförslag (SOU 2010:71)”. The letter, signed in “October 2010”, also declares that “Hereby the work is concluded” (“utredningens uppdrag är harmed slutfört”). The document was officially given to the Minister of Justice, the right wing politician Beatrice Ask, on the 27 of October 2010.

The decision by Prosecutor Marianne Ny in Gothenburg of taking up anew the accusations against Julian Assange took place on the 1st of September 2010. To the best of my knowledge, this was in a frame period in which she would have been under the government expert-appointment and which works concluded officially only in October 2010. Further, the accusations ascribe to Assange precisely a sexual-offence characterization discussed in detail in the evaluation and propositions for the new legislation put forward by Prosecutor Marianne Ny et al on behalf of the government in the weeks ahead (the document Sexualbrottslagstiftningen – utvärdering och reformförslag was ofiicially delivered to the authorities the 27 of October 2010).

The petition of reopening the case was formally presented on the 27 of August 2010 by lawyer Claes Borgström, of the private law-firm Bodström & Borgström – a firm based in Gothenburg, as also the Prosecutor’s special bureau. Former Justice Minister of Sweden Thomas Bodström proudly announces 3 of December 2010 in his blog “Bodströmsamhället” (“Society according to Bodström”) that it is his very legal firm who represent the plaintiff against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (“Det är vår advokatbyrå genom Claes Borgström som är målsägandebiträde“).

Conclusion

As we remarked in the previous article in this series, “Sweden’s authorities and accomplice media continue dealing nonchalantly with serious accusations of misconduct against human rights. And in spite that these issues are at large ignored in Sweden, they are known in the international forum. And they are quite well  known by the Ecuadorian government. It is inevitable that, in reviewing with Swedish officials what Foreign Minister Patiño has referred as to ‘three years violation of the human rights of a citizen’, those facts will be a mirror held by history in front of the Prosecutor General‘s envoys”.

If the Prosecutor General of Sweden, or the high functionaries at the Swedish foreign office would think that all nations – particularly from Latin America – have the same subservience towards the U.S. interest as Sweden has demonstrated to have, for instance in the “Assange case”, these officials are utterly wrong. And they should start reflecting apon the historical implications of all this. And they should start reflecting also apon the above words uttered by Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, whose complete sentence was: 

Alguien tendrá que responder alguna vez por estos tres años de violación de los derechos humanos de un ciudadano”/“Someone, sometime, will have to be responsible for the three years of violating the human rights of a citizen“.

Notes and References

[1] Mike Ölander’s reportage “CIA demanded that Sweden would expand cooperation”, Expressen, 6 December 2010.

[2] M Ferrada de Noli, “Assange buried the Swedish neutrality myth“, Second Opinion, 7 December 2010.

[3] Wikipedia, “Harald Edelstam” [Swedish], retrieved 27 July 2015.

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

[5] M Ferrada de Noli, Anders Romelsjö, Leif Elinder, “The real reasons why Assange has not been interrogated in London. An analysis of central human rights aspects in the foreign policy of Sweden“, SWEDHR Research & Reports, Vol 2., N° 20, 22 July 2015.

[6] M Ferrada de Noli, ““Snowden document reveals Swedish prosecution of Assange was requested by the U.S.”, The Professors’ Blog, 7 October 2014.

[7] The fact that the women went to the Policde Station for a consultation about a possible HIV test on Julian Assange has been confirmed by their solicitor Claes Borgström in an article of his own  he sent for publication in the Swedish paper DN. DN, 20 August 2012

[8] For details on these events, see in The Professors Blogg, “The affair Irmeli Krans in the case of Sweden against Assange“.

Irmeli Krans: “Claes Borgström is a worth-admiring and extremely knowledgeable lawyer. I am proud he is a social democrat”

 

[9] Wikipedia,  Religious Social Democrats of Sweden, retrieved 27 July 2015.

[11] Timeline in this section according to the post detailed in Flashback, 18 April 2011.

[12] Rixstep, “Irmeli Krans“, 18 Aprile 2011

[13] Text from M. Ferrada de Noli, “Sweden versus Assange – Insider Analyses. Introduction and Part I: Duckpond in Swedish legal system,” The professors’ Blog, 8 December 2012.

Proofreading:

Dr. Martin O. Gelin checked the English proofreading.

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