“Julian Assange, yet another scandal for the Swedish justice”

SWEDHR Research & Reports. Vol 2., N° 26, 27 July 2015

 

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SWEDHR has done a translation of the article by Prof. Marian Radetzki, published in Det goda samhället, 27 August 2015. This translation was later checked by Prof. Radetzki on the 28 of August. More developments around this human rights outrage, in our HR-page The Case Assange.

 

“An objective and well-functioning judiciary is a fundamental cornerstone of a good society. The case of Julian Assange can justifiably be added to the list of cases where the Swedish judicial system seriously failed in its function. The details of this case are well known, but they still need to be recapped.

During the visit to Sweden in August 2010, two women approached Julian Assange and he had sex with both. The women contacted the police to ask how Assange could be persuaded to do an HIV test; however, the police officer (an acquaintance with one of the women) widened her mission and generated a report where Assange is accused, on obviously flimsy grounds, to have committed rape on one of the women and sexual assault against both of them. In violation of police regulations, the protocol was published with loud echoes in the media, both in Sweden and internationally. The protocol has elements of almost laughable character, such as the issue of a condom that allegedly was ripped against one of the women’s will (unclear who did the ripping), before the agreed intercourse.

The case ended up with the chief prosecutor Eva Finné, who, after reviewing the existing material, dismissed the accusation of rape and decided to discontinue the case.

At the end of the same month, Claes Borgström – solicitor of the two women – contacted his friend, prosecutor Marianne Ny, and asked her to take up the case anew, which she did. Assange stayed in Sweden for several weeks after, but he was not called up for interrogation. On a request from Assange’s lawyer, [prosecutor] Ny stated on September 27 that she had no objection about Assange leaving Sweden – which he did. Days after, in a contradictory move, Ny issued an EAW on Assange, aiming to carry out an interview with him in Sweden.

Ny’s actions on the case in September has left several serious questions: Why did she not interrogate Assange while he was in the country? Why did she not object to his planned traveling from Sweden? Why did she then issued the arrest warrant? But it does not end there.

Once in England, Assange refuses to return to Sweden, on the grounds that Swedish authorities can extradite him to the US, where he could be sentenced to a long prison sentence because of illegal spreading of information. The fate in the US of Chelsea Manning, collaboration-partner with Assange , points to the realism of Assange’s fears. Facing the British police’s threat of deporting him to Sweden, Assange takes instead refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, while the Ecuadorian government grants him political asylum. He has lived in the embassy since then. By now been under arrest for five years, and confined to the embassy for over three years.

Assange’s lawyers have constantly offered Marianne Ny to implement the questioning with him in London, under forms that Ny herself would chose, for example, by video link or through a personal visit. For more than four years Ny has been completely passive on the issue, giving a variety of extremely strange-sounding formal reasons for her passivity. 

During the summer of 2015 the accusations of sexual molestation lapsed legally, which obviously is a totally unsatisfactory solution for the parties, the plaintiffs as well as the accused. In connection with the impending lapse of the allegations, Ny showed great activity to still bring about an interrogation in London around the more serious accusation of rape [the criminal-level implicit in the specific of this “rape” allegation is the lowest in the scale of penalties according to the Swedish legislation. In most other countries it is not even called “rape”. / Translator’s note]. Ny’s activity, however, ran out of steam after a few weeks, after she discovered new – quite unconvincing – reasons to abstain from action to interrogate Assange in Lodon.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority’s handling of the case Assange is deeply reprehensible. It has denied the defendant the possibility of being purged from accusations, which, if they were ever proved, appear as bagatelles – judging from what has been known out of the original police report, and from the first prosecutor’s decision to not pursue the case. Additionally, the management [of the case] throws a shadow of ridicule on Sweden and its courts.

Nevertheless, it is clearly not a bagatelle for an insensitive and ego-tripped prosecutor to deprive a person of five years of his liberty – and maybe longer. My reflections go unsought, and with great sympathy, to the Hungarian Cardinal Mindszenty, who was accused of all sorts of imaginary crimes by the country’s communist regime, and who in 1956 took refuge in the US Embassy in Budapest. There he spent the entire fifteen years. So Assange would have to stay at the embassy for another ten years to break the Cardinal’s record.” / End of translated text.

Original author (text in Swedish), Professor Marian Radetzki, Luleå University, Sweden. [SWEDHR translation by Prof M. Ferrada de Noli].

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