Tag Archives: Sweden

28 June 2012 Ecuador Has Two Forms of Political Asylum

 

http://www.elcomercio.com/politica/Regimen-interpretacionesopuestas-asilo-politico_0_726527614.html

 

El Comercio (Quito)

The scheme has conflicting interpretations of political asylum

Thursday 28/06/2012

Rafael Correa’s government has different ways of interpreting the figure of the asylum. It is based on who requests it. The first is a critical, when an Ecuadorian citizen seeking asylum in a third country, feeling persecuted politically for his regime. Since last February, six people have applied for such protection, considering that his integrity was at risk against the Correa administration.

The journalist Emilio Palacio and Carlos Perez, director of The Universe, were the first to call for such protection to United States and Panama. They did it on the grounds that Correa lobbied on trial for insulting them, where they received an adverse ruling. By then, the various government spokesmen chose to dismiss both applications. The processing of the Palace is branded as “ridiculous”, while in the case of Perez said that there was no need to issue a pass so he could go from the Embassy of Panama to the airport.

“Government action was shameful and blatant disregard of the conditions of asylum.” That is the criterion of Joffre Campaign, solicitor of The Universe, who notes that in this chapter, the Executive showed “contempt” for the institution of asylum policy.

A similar stance taken by the Government in May. This month, four suppliers of the contracts between the state and firms linked to Fabricio Correa asked for political asylum in Britain, Costa Rica, Chile and Panama. On that occasion, the government not only dismissed the suppliers, but the Foreign Office displayed a diplomatic offensive to block their applications. From the office of Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño contact was made with the various foreign ministries of the countries involved. In these dialogues the Ecuadorian diplomacy explained that suppliers were tried by a criminal offense. The government accuses them of lying, because in its report noted that Correa allegedly did know of his brother’s contracts with the state.

“At that time the Government did not think our human rights, as it says in the case of Julian Assange”. With those words, the seer Paul Chambers questioned the opposite view that the President has asked for asylum against the Director of Wikileaks, a refugee from the previous week at the Embassy in London. In fact, in the case of Assange, the Government has evidenced its second way to interpret the institution of asylum.

In this regard, the President said he will discuss in detail the grounds on which requested protection Assange Ecuador. In addition, he anticipated that the decision whether to grant asylum to journalist who has four demands for sexual offenses in Sweden, is a sovereign decision of Ecuador.

Luis Saavedra, director of the Regional Foundation of Human Rights Advisory, explains that political asylum is a right that people have, to be persecuted in their countries. And while indicating that it is normal that governments seek to stop asylum claims, objected that Ecuador use a tone “angry” and “arrogant” to do when he is accused of persecution, as in the case of suppliers. From the diplomatic notes that it is wrong that the government has different interpretations of political asylum, depending on who you ask.

Ambassador Luis Narvaez stresses that since the state must have a course of action be in line with “the legal and human depth of the topic” in any situation.

 

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Secret documents reveal further Swedish arms cooperation

The shell company set up to carry out Sweden’s secret plans to build a weapons factory in Saudi Arabia was financed with cash borrowed from the country’s military intelligence agency, according to a new report.

The company, Swedish Security Technology and Innovation (SSTI), was reportedly set up by the Swedish Defence Research Agency (Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut – FOI) in order to oversee the construction of a factory for the maintenance and upgrade of anti-tank missile systems.

In order to keep the company secret, FOI needed cash in order to set it up, according to Svergies Radio (SR), which first reported on the secret plans for the Saudi weapons plant earlier this month.

However, FOI was unable to procure the necessary cash on its own, but instead had to rely on help from the Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Service (Militära underrättelse- och säkerhetstjänsten – MUST).

MUST provided the cash to FOI in the form of a loan, according to SR.
Sweden was in talks with Saudi Arabia about providing a state of the art public security system, according to information in a secret letter sent from the Swedish minister for trade and revealed by daily Expressen.

 

The letter, which was sent from Swedish minister for trade Ewa Björling to Prince Mohammed Nayef, dated September 17th 2009, was revealed and published on Tuesday by the newspaper.

The Saudi dictator, according to the paper, wanted to buy “several million kronor” worth of cameras, digital equipment, and an underground control centre system to watch over his own people.

In the letter, Björling notes the advanced technology of Swedish security systems, and how the two countries can continue to work on their “strategic partnership” in the future.

Swedish government ministers have been keen to pass the buck when confronted by Expressen regarding the claims, with all signs seemingly pointed towards the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and The Swedish Fortifications Agency (Fortifikationsverket).

However, spokespeople for both groups have not confirmed or denied the possible collaborations with Saudi Arabia.

According to the letter, published in full today, Björling wrote:

“The responsible Swedish government agencies are prepared to provide an initial study regarding civil public security utilizing the full knowledge gained from Sweden’s experience along with its advanced and proven technologies”.

Sources close to Expressen have indicated that this co-operation was to involve intense civilian monitoring by the regime, allowing them to be able to “deploy heavily armed domestic troops” if deemed necessary from security monitoring.

An initial workshop has already taken place in June of 2009 relating to the security collaboration, according to Björling’s letter.

The plans were met with heavy criticism from the opposition, including Left Party spokesperson on foreign policy, Hans Linde.

“I think it is unacceptable to be engaged in this type of cooperation with a country like Saudi Arabia. This would be actively providing one of the worst dictatorships with tools to monitor and thereby repress its own people,” he told the paper.

Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) spokesperson Erik Lagersten confirmed for the radio station that money was transferred to FOI, but claims that MUST didn’t know that the funds were to be used to set up the shell company.

“That’s something for the preliminary investigation to reveal,” he told SR, referring to the preliminary criminal investigation launched by prosecutors last week in order to determine whether the secret Saudi weapons deal may have violated the law.

FOI’s own investigation has revealed information leading the agency to believe “there are suspicions that a crime may have been committed”, it said in a statement, prompting FOI head Jan-Olof Lind to report the incident to prosecutors.

As FOI is a state agency, it isn’t allowed to start any companies without the approval of the government – something which, according to SR, did not occur in the case of SSTI, which was started in 2009.

The company was launched as part of what is referred to in confidential documents reviewed by SR as Project Simoom, a project started by FOI in 2007 with the aim of helping build an advanced weapons plant in Saudi Arabia.

At the time of SR’s revelations, SSTI CEO Dick Sträng, who is also a high ranking official at FOI, refused to divulge how the company was funded.

“I refuse to answer that question,” he told SR.

“I can’t answer it without lying.”

SR has subsequently learned, however, that SSTI was financed by FOI and that the start-up capital came in the form of a cash loan from MUST.

On Tuesday, FOI head Lind is scheduled to appear before a parliamentary committee to answer questions about his agency’s connections to SSTI and its involvements in the Saudi arms plant construction project. Source


G4S and some deep dark secrets-pdf

G4S
World-wide organisation with six wholly owned subsidiaries in the US (including Armor Corp and Ronco), a joint venture in South Africa running Bloomfontein correctionalcentre and over 40 subsidiaries operating in Argentina, Israel, India, Saudi Arabia,Greece, Sweden, Ireland, Australia, Malaysia, Hungary and Kenya to name a few.It employs 639,904 people with 123,000 employed in Europe. The vast majority – over 589,000 are employed in the security business


Assange allegations deeply fishy with dangerous undertones

I’ve always said the allegations (not actually criminal charges) against Julian Assange seemed like a jack-up and a smear campaign. What do you think?:

2) The process by which Assange was accused, cleared, and then re-accused of these incidents beggars belief. Two women went to a Stockholm police station one Friday afternoon in August 2010, to either (and here accounts vary) report Assange for s-xual misconduct, or inquire as to how he could be forced to take an STI test. Only one woman, Sofia Wilen, gave a statement, saying that the morning after a s-xual encounter with Assange, he had initiated s-x while she was asleep, and without a condom; by her own testimony, she said that she then gave consent to continue the act.

3) While her statement was being given, police had already contacted a prosecutor to issue an investigation warrant for arrest. When Wilen was informed of this, she refused to sign her own evidence statement, saying that she had been pushed into making a complaint by people around her. The next day, the senior prosecutor for Stockholm rescinded the warrant, saying that there was nothing in the statement suggesting a crime had occurred.

4) By Monday, that decision had been appealed, with the two women now represented by Claes Borgstrom, a big wig in the Social Democratic party, and drafter of the 2005 s-x crimes laws under which Assange was being accused — laws that many had said were unworkable. The second complainant in the affair, Anna Ardin, now changed her story. She had been interviewed the day after Wilen had told of a rough but consensual s-xual encounter with Assange, but suggested he had torn a condom off during s-x.

5) In the weeks between the Stockholm prosecutor rejecting Wilen’s statement as evidence of a potential crime, and the appeal, Ardin’s story changed, and her account of rough consensual foreplay became an accusation that Assange had pinned her down with his body during s-x to prevent her applying a condom. This became the basis for a new accusation — s-xual coercion — which would have been sufficient as a felony, should the appeal prosecutor not reinstate Wilen’s r-pe accusation. In that week, tweets were deleted and blog posts changed to remove any suggestion that Ardin had thought Assange’s behaviour to her consensual.

6) The prosecutor to whom the appeal was made — Marianne Ny — was a former head of the “Crime Development Unit”, whose specific brief was to develop new applications of s-x crimes laws, in areas where they had not previously been applied. She had previously spoken of remand as a form of de facto justice for men accused of s-x crimes, whom the courts would otherwise let free.

7) The European arrest warrant, and the Interpol red notice under which Assange is being extradited, was issued with a speed and seriousness usually reserved for major violent criminals, rather than someone simply wanted for further questioning, without a charge being present.Source

Who Is Sofia Wilén?

Sofia Wilén is one of the Swedish women who has accused Julian Assange of rape, for which he was arrested. It has been suggested that Wilen is fairly impressionable and that she was convinced by Anna Ardin to press charges for rape.

Evidence is mounting that Sofia Wilén and her associate Anna Ardin pre-planned “revenge” on Julian Assange by setting him up for false rape allegations. The primary mastermind behind the setup is thought to be Ardin.

Interestingly, the mainstream media has yet to pick up on the fact that Sofia Wilén and her friend Anna Ardin, two friends, seem to have conspired against Assange. Whether this scheme goes deeper than two individuals, to the level of government involvement is yet to be seen.

Evidence is emerging that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been setup on false rape charges by two radical feminists. The most significant evidence for this claim is the “coicidence” that both accusers are friends, and one of them posted about how she had been “thinking about some revenge.”

The first accuser is Anna Ardin, a well known radical from Sweden for her feminism views on how men achieve social dominance through sex. Last January, Ardin posted a blog entry titled ‘7 Steps to Legal Revenge by Anna Ardin’, which includedthe statement, I’ve been thinking about some revenge over the last few days….

The second rape accusation against Julian Assange came from a woman named Sofia Wilén, a friend for Anna Ardin. Wilén is the lesser known of the two.

Wilén and Ardin are now suspected of plotting a scheme to “get revenge” and falsely accuse Julian Assange of rape.Source

Assange: Sofia Wilen – The Silent Accuser.
at Huffington Post
“The second accuser, Sofia Wilen, 26, is Anna’ friend. Here is a video of an Assange press conference where one can see the girls together. Those present at the conference marveled at her groupie-li ke behavior. Though rock stars are used to girls dying to have sex with them, it is much less common in the harsh field of political journalism . Sofia worked hard to bed Assange, according to her own confession ; she was also the first to complain to police. She is little known and her motives are vague. Why might a young woman (who shares her life with American artist Seth Benson) pursue such a sordid political adventure?”

Source


Julian Assange rejects police request to surrender for breaking bail terms

Julian Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks website, has said that he will ignore a request by the police to give himself up because he fears that the US has secret plans to extradite him to Washington.

He said he had been advised that he was within his rights to ignore an extradition notice that was presented to him at the Ecuadorean embassy on Thursday.

During a telephone interview on BBC2′s Newsnight, he was asked if he intended to give himself up. “Our advice is that asylum law both domestically and internationally in the UK takes precedence to extradition law, so the answer is almost certainly not,” he said.

Assange has been asked to present himself to police on Friday to begin the process of extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape and indecency.

His refusal means that he will continue to take refuge in the embassy while the Ecuadorean government decides whether to accept his request for asylum. Even if they do so, Assange is likely to face a long stay at the embassy as he will be unable to leave without being arrested.

Assange said he had evidence that the US had secret plans to force him to face trial in America. “In the US, since at least the beginning of 2011, a US grand jury has been empanelled in Washington. It has been pulling in witnesses, forced testimony from those witnesses, subpoenaed records from Google, from Twitter,” he said.

He submitted recordings to the BBC of American politicians and talkshow hosts calling for his death as evidence of the prejudice against him.

When asked if he had anything to say to the women who have accused him of rape and indecency, he replied: “I am simply not charged. That’s all. That’s all that is important in this matter. What has been said to date is sufficient.”

Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy last week after British courts upheld Sweden’s right to request his extradition to answer the accusations made by two women he met while on a trip to Sweden. Both agreed to spend the night with him but later went to the police to complain about his behaviour. Assange left Sweden before he could be questioned by police.

Assange’s supporters see the extradition as a cover for a subsequent extradition to the US to face charges over the release of diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks. A succession of British courts have found that Sweden has followed the correct procedure in issuing a European arrest warrant for Assange and ruled that Britain must comply with it.

Before the Newsnight interview, a police spokesman said: “The Metropolitan police have this morning, Thursday 28 June, served a surrender notice upon a 40-year-old man that requires him to attend a police station at a date and time of our choosing. This is standard practice in extradition cases and is the first step in the removal process.”

He said Assange remained in breach of his bail conditions. “Failing to surrender would be a further breach of conditions and he is liable to arrest.”

It is understood that Assange has been ordered to present himself at Belgravia police station at 11.30am on Friday.

This week, a letter signed by leading US figures in support of Assange’s application for political asylum in Ecuador was delivered to the embassy. Among its signatories were film-makers Michael Moore and Oliver Stone, actor Danny Glover, authors Naomi Wolf and Noam Chomsky, comedian Bill Maher, and Daniel Ellsberg, the former US military analyst turned whistleblower, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

Robert Naiman, policy director at the Just Foreign Policy campaign group, delivered the letter to the embassy on Monday, along with a petition signed by more than 4,000 Americans urging President Rafael Correa to approve Assange’s request for asylum.

The letter, which has been posted online, states that its signatories believe Assange has good reason to fear extradition from the UK to Sweden “as there is a strong likelihood that once in Sweden, he would be imprisoned, and then likely extradited to the United States”.

Adding that the US government “has made clear its hostility to WikiLeaks”, it says Assange could face the death penalty in the US if he was charged and found guilty under the Espionage Act.

“We also call on you to grant Mr Assange political asylum because the ‘crime’ that he has committed is that of practising journalism,” says the letter to Correa. “Because this is a clear case of an attack on press freedom and on the public’s right to know important truths about US foreign policy, and because the threat to his health and wellbeing is serious, we urge you to grant Mr Assange political asylum.”

Source


2011-03-04 Jennifer Robinson: Brief to Canberra meeting of MPs re Julian Assange

The following brief was submitted to the meeting outlined here by WL Central: On 2nd March 2011 at 9.15am a meeting was held, organised by Andrew Laming (Liberal Party MP Bowman Qld) at Parliament House Canberra to allow federal parliamentarians who wished to attend, some insights into the matters of Julian Assange facing extradition from the UK to Sweden, and facing (subject to that extradition process) a possible trial in Sweden and another possible extradition to the USA thereafter.

Among others, MPs Andrew Laming, Malcolm Turnbull, Doug Cameron and Sarah Hanson-Young were in attendance, along with parliamentary staff members.

Three speakers made themselves available for oral presentations and questions: Greg Barns, barrister from Tasmania; former Australian diplomat Tony Kevin and Peter Kemp solicitor from NSW, the latter two made written material available for the parliamentarians reprinted here with their permission.

The following brief was submitted to the meeting by Jennifer Robinson of the firm Finers Stephens Innocent. She is part of the legal team representing Julian Assange in the extradition proceedings requested by Sweden.

Jennifer Robinson’s biography.

1. I am writing to you to provide a briefing for the meeting of members of Federal Parliament on Wednesday 2 March 2011 regarding the case against Julian Assange. This briefing note sets out the timeline of events and the human rights concerns that we have raised in relation to Julian’s case in Sweden.

2. Julian is facing extradition to Sweden pursuant to a European Arrest Warrant (EAW). He is currently electronically tagged and held under virtual house arrest, having spent nine days in solitary confinement in a London prison for a crime that he has not been charged with and in relation to allegations that he emphatically denies.

3. It is mutually concerning that an Australian citizen like Julian has been treated in ways which would not accord with the standards of Australian law or indeed international law. As I set out in this note, if he is extradited to Sweden, he will be held incommunicado, in solitary confinement, and without bail for several months and then tried in secret on allegations which are weak and which would not constitute a crime in Australia or in the UK. In such event, it can be predicted that Australians will be outraged and that considerable damage will eventuate in respect of relations between Australia and Sweden.

4. It is hoped that this briefing note will act as a resource for concerned Australian MPs to raise questions and to take action on Julian’s behalf.

Timeline of Events and Overview of Concerns

5. Julian had travelled to Sweden in August last year for the purposes of giving public lectures about his work on Afghanistan and in order to seek protection for WikiLeaks from the strong free speech and publication protections under Swedish law in advance of the Iraq War Logs, the publication of Iraq war military reports, and “Cablegate”, the publication of US diplomatic cables. The allegations against Julian were made to police on 20 August 2010.

6. That same day, the initial Prosecutor, Maria Häljebo Kjellstrand, unlawfully told the press that Julian was wanted for rape (reported in the tabloid Expressen) before he himself had been informed. Julian first learned of the allegations when he read it in the papers. In providing this information to the press the Prosecutor contravened Swedish privacy and secrecy law, which protects the confidentiality of preliminary criminal investigations and is supposed to protect those being investigated from adverse and prejudicial media coverage. A complaint was made about the Prosecutor’s illegal act to the Judicial Ombudsman but no action is being taken. As a result of this illegal act, Julian discovered in the press that he was ‘wanted for double rape’. Within hours there were millions of website hits for “Assange” and “rape”, causing irreparable and incalculable damage to his reputation. The illegality of the Prosecutor’s actions was confirmed by our expert evidence in the extradition proceedings here in London, as was the fact that no remedy exists in Swedish law for the breach.

7. The next day, Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm, Eva Finné, threw out the rape charge after reviewing the police file and the statements of the two women. The investigation continued on lesser allegations of harassment only. Julian volunteered himself for interview on 30 August 2010 in relation to this ongoing investigation. Julian sought an undertaking from the police that his testimony would not be provided to the press. This undertaking was violated: his police interview turned up in the tabloid Expressen the very next day. Again, Julian has no remedy against this breach of privacy and the continued disclosures by police have continued to fuel prejudicial media coverage.

8. An appeal was brought against Ms Finné’s decision to drop the rape charges by a lawyer acting for the complainants, Mr Claes Borgstrom. Mr Borgstrom is a Social Democrat politician who was, at that time, campaigning for election in the election to be held the following month (September 2010) and whose political platform and reputation is closely associated with sexual offence law reform. The Prosecutor, Ms Ny, granted the appeal on 1 September 2010 and the rape investigation was reinstituted. Julian was not informed of this appeal or provided the opportunity to make any submissions.

9. The Prosecution continued to provide information about the preliminary investigation to the press. Expressen applied for access to the police file on 1 September and this was granted: redacted versions of Julian’s statement and emails between the police and prosecutor were provided to the press shortly thereafter. We were only alerted to this on 21 January 2010, some four months later, when this same material was disclosed by the Prosecutor to Mr Hurtig and passed to us. It is noteworthy that Mr Hurtig had applied for disclosure of the police file in September and November 2010. Both requests for disclosure were denied by the Prosecutor, Ms Ny, despite the fact that some of this material had already been provided to the press.

10. Julian remained in Sweden for approximately 5 weeks to answer the allegations against him. Through his lawyer Mr Hurtig, proactive attempts were made to arrange interview and to seek permission to leave the country. For example, Julian offered himself for interview on 15 September but this was rejected by the prosecutor because the relevant police officer was sick.

11. An interview was finally proposed on 22 September (more than three weeks after Ms Ny had begun the investigation) for 28 September. Mr Hurtig was unable to contact Julian to communicate this request. It is important to note here that Julian was, at that time, difficult to contact. He was maintaining a low profile because of threats to his security and increasing pressure from the US in advance of the two largest disclosures of US classified documents in history: the Pentagon had just announced a team of 120 people dedicated to “taking action” against WikiLeaks. Before Mr Hurtig was able to contact Julian he had already left Sweden for Berlin for WikiLeaks meetings associated, having been told on 15 September that Ms Ny had no objection to him leaving the country. He did not flee the country to avoid interrogation, as has been suggested by the Prosecution, but instead had left for a pre-arranged business meeting with Der Spiegel – one of his media partners in Cablegate, on the understanding that there was no impediment to him leaving the country.

12. Julian telephoned Mr Hurtig from Berlin on 29 September to inform him that his luggage had gone missing on his Stockholm-Berlin flight and that it was now presumed to have been stolen since the airline had not been able to locate and return it. He called to instruct Mr Hurtig to take legal action. It was then he was informed of Ms Ny’s intention to interrogate him. Julian offered to return to Sweden on 9-10 October for interrogation. This date was rejected as being ‘too far away’.

13. During October and November, Julian was in London working on the Iraq War Log release and preparing for Cablegate with media partners, including The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, El Pais and The New York Times. He also travelled to Switzerland to present at a United Nations Human Rights Council meeting. During this period, we offered that Julian be interviewed via telephone or video-link from London on the condition that the Prosecutor provide him further information about the allegations and potential charges. We offered his voluntary cooperation, through his Swedish lawyer Mr Hurtig, and suggested the use of the Mutual Legal Assistance scheme between Sweden and the United Kingdom. These offers were rejected.

14. In the meantime, I wrote to the UK police on 2 November 2010 and informed them that we acted for Julian and that he could be contacted through us for the purposes of any legal proceedings. This is significant: throughout this period Julian had continually indicated his willingness to cooperate with the authorities by offering alternative means of interview to the Swedish and by reporting his presence in the UK to the local police. The widely reported suggestion he was in hiding from justice is simply false.

15. After our voluntary offers of cooperation were rejected, the arrest warrant in Sweden was granted on 18 November 2010. Ms Ny, the Prosecutor, sought an arrest order to have Julian held incommunicado pending potential trial. These pre-trial detention conditions in Sweden have been heavily criticised by the European Council and by the United Nations, in particular, for the treatment of foreigners.

16. Just before the hearing on 18 November Mr Hurtig was, for the first time, provided a description of the allegations against Julian and provided copies of parts of the police file. At that time he was also shown more than 100 text messages between the two complainants and their friends, which contained important evidence about the allegations and the women’s motives. For example, the second complainant had been texting her friends in between sexual encounters with Julian over the course of the evening in question and states that she was “half-asleep” at the relevant time at which the arrest warrant asserts she was “asleep”: a very important factual error in the warrant which undermines the entire case. Further, the women speak of getting “revenge”, making money from the allegations and ruining Julian’s reputation by going to the press. However, the prosecutor refused to allow Mr Hurtig to take copies or to even take notes from this important evidence.

17. Mr Hurtig has made numerous requests for further disclosure under Swedish Criminal Procedure Code (Chapter 23.18), but these have been denied. In correspondence with the Australian Embassy in Stockholm, Ms Ny justifies her position in refusing to disclose this important material on the grounds that Julian has not yet been charged. This highlights the injustice of the EAW system: Julian has been held in solitary confinement and is now under effective house arrest without the Swedish Prosecutor having to show a reasonable case against him – or, indeed, any of the evidence against him to the British court.

18. Despite Mr Hurtig’s requests, Ms Ny had consistently refused to inform Julian regarding the specific charges to be brought against him before he was interviewed: interview by ambush is the preferred Swedish method. We had requested a specific description of the charges and the evidence in English as a condition precedent to Julian returning to Sweden to be interviewed. This, again, was refused. The first document Julian received from the prosecutor in English was the translation of the EAW provided by the English police at Kentish Town Police station in London when Julian voluntarily met with police to answer the warrant on 7 December 2010. This was the first time he had been informed in writing of the specific allegations and potential charges against him in English. I was with Julian at the police station and witnessed his shock and surprise at reading the allegations as described in the warrant.

19. It is noteworthy that the both the EAW and the Interpol red notice were issued for Julian by Sweden just before WikiLeaks began to publish Cablegate with their media partners and were executed just days after publication began. Had Julian returned to Sweden in October or November, we know (confirmed by the findings of the judge in London on 24 February 2011) that he would have been held incommunicado in prison pending trial and we may not have seen the release of Cablegate. Furthermore, his Swedish counsel, Mr Hurtig noted at the time that it was highly irregular for an international arrest warrant to be sought in relation to allegations of this kind.

20. The Swedish prosecutor has failed to disclose any materials to Julian in English (the language he understands), which is her obligation under the European Convention of Human Rights. We have since been provided certain excerpts of the police file in Swedish and translation costs now exceed £20,000 (AUD$32,000) as a result of the Prosecutor’s failure to meet her human rights obligations in this regard. Furthermore, she has failed to disclose relevant exculpatory evidence that tends to demonstrate Julian’s innocence.

21. The Prosecutor has apparently failed to consider and disclose exculpatory evidence in her investigation, as is her duty as prosecutor.

(1) First, it is clear that the text messages (approximately 100 of them) between the two complainants and their friends cast doubt on the allegations and contradict the specific factual allegations in the EAW that form the basis of his arrest – though we are unable to properly assess these because the Prosecutor refuses to disclose them to Julian.

(2) Second, it has subsequently come to light that the first complainant, Ms A, has been deleting important evidence (i.e. tweets which demonstrated that she had been enjoying Julian’s company after the alleged assault). It is not clear whether this evidence has been considered because, despite the fact it was provided to the Prosecution by Mr Rudling, it does not form part of the police file disclosed to us.

(3) Third, the Prosecutor has not contacted several potential witnesses who spent time with Mr Assange and the first complainant, Ms A, who know them both and can attest to their friendly relations in the days after the alleged assault.

22. The parts of the police file disclosed to the defence on 18 November 2010 (translated at significant cost to Julian) demonstrate that police have acted improperly and in breach of proper procedures in investigating sexual offence allegations.

(1) First, it is clear that the women met together before making the allegations and had discussed the evidence at length, thereby contaminating their evidence.

(2) Second, it has since come to light that the policewoman who had interviewed both women and initially reported the alleged rape to the Prosecutor was a friend of the first complainant, Ms A, and had also run for election for the Social Democrats (the same party for which Ms A and her lawyer, Mr Borgstrom, have stood for election) .

(3) Third, both women were interviewed only briefly over the telephone and their interrogation is in summary form only. Indeed, the second complainant’s interview summary is not even signed or approved by her (she was upset at hearing Julian had was wanted for rape and her friend’s later interview to the police states that she felt “railroaded” into making the complaint). This breaches police procedure: interviews with witnesses in sexual offence cases must be recorded in full (video or tape recorded) because the initial interview is important evidence at trial. It is notable that all of the Prosecution witnesses interviews are recorded in summary format so it is impossible to know what the police asked and what their precise answers were in response. Only the interviews with Mr Assange and his friendly witnesses were recorded in full. These irregularities in police procedure will cause evidential problems in any trial, particularly if the reliability of the complainants’ testimony is in question.

23. As to the strength of the evidence that founds the basis for the warrant, a number of observations can be made. First, evidence at the extradition hearing in London brought to light that not one, but two well-regarded prosecutors in Stockholm do not believe there to be sufficient evidence to found a prosecution. Eva Finné dropped the rape investigation in August but was overruled on appeal. Ms Ny’s own deputy, Prosecutor Erika Lejnefors, had told Mr Hurtig in November that the case would likely be dropped because it was so weak. Nevertheless, an international arrest warrant was sought for Julian’s arrest. Second, expert evidence from the most respected criminal lawyer in England, Professor Andrew Ashworth of Oxford University, concludes that the facts as alleged in the EAW and the police statements of the two women would not constitute rape or any other crime in England.

24. Further, Julian has suffered immense adverse prejudicial media coverage in Sweden, fuelled both by the disclosure of police material to the press by the Prosecution and by the highly prejudicial media statements of the lawyer of the two complainants and funded by the Swedish government, Mr Borgstrom. Mr Borgstrom has called Julian a ‘coward’ for not returning to Sweden and has alleged that his refusal to return is indicative of his guilt.

25. The Prime Minister of Sweden intervened in the case by making highly prejudicial and pejorative remarks in the Swedish press following the extradition proceedings in London on 7 and 8 February 2011. The Prime Minister told the press that Julian has been indicted and is being prosecuted for rape. This is not correct – Julian has not yet been charged, the preliminary investigation has not yet been concluded and no decision has been made to prosecute. The Prime Minister’s comments are inappropriate given his political position (he had, just weeks earlier, refused to comment on Julian’s case on the grounds it was a matter for the courts and not for politicians) and given that a key question being determined by the British court is whether the warrant is for questioning or for prosecution. The Prime Minister made pejorative remarks regarding Julian’s legal defence, including the incorrect suggestion that Julian’s defence is to deem women’s rights “of little value”. This was subsequently reported as Julian and his defence team “trying to limit the right for women to take a claimed sexual abuse to court”. This clearly and unfairly mischaracterises Julian’s defence case and has led to him being portrayed as an enemy of Sweden and of women’s rights in the Swedish press.

26. Other politicians have followed the Prime Minister in attacking Julian and his defence. For example, the Chancellor of Justice, Anna Skarhed, has described the defence as “shocking”. The Chancellor of Justice then states that the defence has accused the Swedish legal system of being “corrupt”: but anyone who has read our submissions or followed court proceedings will know this is simply not true. Our skeleton arguments and all of the case evidence filed with the court is available on our website: http://www.fsilaw.com/news-media/news/28-julian-assange-case-papers/.

27. Given the nature of the press coverage in Sweden, we have grave concerns as to whether Julian will receive a fair trial: he will be tried in secret, behind closed doors, by a judge and three lay judges (jurors) who are appointed by political parties. The Swedish press does not seem at all concerned with the need for suspects to be presumed innocent and it is difficult to see how jurors could remain unaffected by this media coverage.

28. In summary, our concerns regarding the case in Sweden to date include:

• the unlawful and prejudicial disclosures by police and the prosecution regarding ongoing criminal investigations;

• the failure to disclose details of the allegations and the evidence in English;

• the breaches of police procedures in the investigation of the allegations;

• the apparent failure of the Prosecutor to consider exculpatory evidence;

• the disproportionate behaviour of the Prosecutor in refusing voluntary offers for cooperation and refusing to make use of alternative methods for interviewing Julian – insisting instead on an international warrant which unduly restricts his liberty;

• the pre-trial detention conditions sought by the Prosecutor;

• the prospect of a secret trial; and

• the adverse and prejudicial media coverage, fuelled by the state-funded lawyer for the complainants and the country’s most senior politicians, including the Prime Minister.

Decision to grant extradition – 24 February 2011

29. On 24 February 2011, District Judge Riddle ordered that Julian be extradited to Sweden. It must be noted that this is simply the initial ruling on the validity of a EAW and did not deal with the substance of the allegations against Julian, which he has always firmly denied. The judgment concerns whether it is technically valid for a EAW to be used in this manner. The strength or weakness of the allegations, and even their detail, cannot be heard in a EAW case. This is one of the central complaints made by law reformers about the EAW process – a civil liberties disaster and the subject of investigation and campaigns by human rights groups such as Fair Trials International.[1]

30. It must be remembered that under the EAW system, the British courts are bound to regard the prosecutors of no less than 26 countries, including Poland and Romania – as perfect. The Extradition Act 2003 allows European countries to deem prosecutors and even policemen “as judicial authorities” (a contradiction in terms, because they are neither independent nor impartial) and to demand return of their suspects from the UK so long as they tick the right box on the EAW form. In Julian’s case, for example, they ticked “rape” and the court cannot dispute that the allegation is of rape, even though the leading authority on sexual offences, the Oxford Professor Andrew Ashworth, disputes this characterisation. There can be no questioning on the merits of the charges – in 2003 parliament abolished the traditional right of a suspect to require foreign governments to show a prima facie case before dragging them off to unfair trials. It also took away the historic right of individuals facing extradition to show that the case against them was unfounded.

31. Judge Riddle – a hostile judge – made a number of important factual findings. Judge Riddle ordered Julian’s extradition to Sweden despite the fact that he agreed that:

• upon return to Sweden Julian will be held incommunicado pending trial because Sweden has no system of bail; and

• Julian will be subjected to a secret trial, which is anathema to Australian and British traditions of open justice and an outrage given the widespread dissemination of the allegations against him by the Swedish authorities.

32. The decision to extradite Julian is not final, nor (as has been misreported) does it “determine his fate”. Julian is permitted an appeal as of right by the 2003 Extradition Act. Thereafter, points of law may, with permission, be appealed to the Supreme Court.

33. The appeal to the High Court was filed today in London. The dates for this appeal are not yet available but we anticipate it will be heard sometime between April and June.

34. It is our position that the EAW system should not simply be used as a rubber stamp, but instead ought to be used to improve the quality of justice throughout Europe. Extradition ought to be refused when the trial in prospect is likely to be unfair judged according to fundamental fair trial principles because only then can things improve and human rights blind spots be eradicated. If the British courts declare that open justice is the only possible justice by refusing to extradite Julian to Sweden, this would very likely have the result that Sweden would change its unacceptable policy.[2]

Action points for Australian MPs

35. Julian remains willing to cooperate with the Swedish investigations, provided that certain guarantees are provided in respect of the human rights concerns raised above. We would encourage Australian MPs who are concerned at Julian’s treatment to raise the following concerns.

36. First, to ask our government to seek guarantees from both the Swedish and British governments that Julian will not be extradited to the United States to face prosecution in relation to WikiLeaks publications. Any such prosecution would violate the right to free speech and the protections of the First Amendment. His concern about being extradited to the US is justified in light of:

• US Attorney-General Eric Holder’s ongoing criminal investigation;

• recent subpoenas of Twitter accounts of WikiLeaks, their associates and supporters, which proves an ongoing federal criminal investigation in Virginia and demonstrates intent to prosecute; and

• the recent statement by US Ambassador to the UK to the BBC that the US is waiting to see how things work out in the British courts.

37. Second, demands must be made of the Swedish authorities to ensure that, if Julian returns to Sweden, that his human rights will be protected. These include:

• The evidence in the case be disclosed to him in English, as is Sweden’s obligation under the European Convention on Human Rights. Full disclosure of the police file, including the exculpatory evidence such as the text messages, must be provided.

This request – made in November when an international arrest warrant was being threatened and extended by us to Mr Hurtig as condition precedent to Julian returning/being interviewed – has still not been complied with. Translation costs have exceeded £20,000 because of Sweden’s failure to meet their human rights obligations in this regard. It has also delayed our work and made our legal defence more difficult.

• A guarantee be provided that he will not be held incommunicado or in custody pending any trial.

Again, this was one of our concerns in October and November when Ms Ny requested that he return to Sweden – a concern that was validated on 18 November when Ms Ny sought an order for arrest that would have seen Julian held incommunicado pending trial. These pre-trial conditions have been criticised by international human rights bodies. Aside from human rights concerns, as noted above, Julian was at that time preparing for the release of the Iraq War Logs (23 October 2010) and Cablegate (28 November 2010). Had he returned to Sweden and been held incommunicado in pre-trial detention, these important and internationally significant WikiLeaks releases would have been jeopardised.

• A guarantee be provided that his trial be heard in public: the press and public should be permitted entry to the Court. Other measures, similar to those deployed in Australian courts, can be taken to protect the women in giving their testimony.

• A guarantee be provided that he will not be extradited to the United States, but instead will be allowed to travel back to Australia.

In considering the risk of extradition to the US from Sweden, it must be recalled that Sweden has a history of complying with US requests to hand over persons of interest notwithstanding potential human rights concerns – international bodies have recently found Sweden liable for handing asylum seekers over to the CIA for torture (see Mohammed Alzery v. Sweden (Communication No. 1416/2005, UN Human Rights Committee) and Agiza v. Sweden (Communication No. 233/2003, UN Committee Against Torture, Decision of 24 May 2005 (CAT/C/34/D/233/2003)).

Further, WikiLeaks cables released last December demonstrate that intelligence sharing and cooperation between Sweden and the US is far deeper than anyone had realised, calling into question Sweden’s perceived neutrality, and the extent of this cooperation had been hidden from the Swedish Parliament and the Swedish people.

WL Central


Sen. Scott Ludlam: Australia gave up on Assange, Exclusive Interview

Hello. This is John Robles. I am speaking with Senator Scott Ludlam with the Australian Green Party.

On May 30th you raised the issue before the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs on Julian Assange’s impending extradition. What was the reaction?

The reaction is really indifference. The Australian government doesn’t completely understand why the people are so concerned and as recently as yesterday we had a Foreign Minister on Twitter throwing his hands up in the air metaphorically saying what more should we have done? And I am struggling to understand what it is that they are not understanding or that they don’t get. We are looking for the Australian government to stand up for Mr. Assange’s human rights and they have been extremely negligent in that duty.

What is now the official position of the Australian government?

The Australian government has essentially said that they offered Mr. Assange a full consular assistance, which is true in a very legalistic way of thinking about it. They’ve sent him text messages, they sent officers to appear at court hearings in the United Kingdom and I think they attended when he was incarcerated in the end of 2010. But at the same time as that is occurring the Australian government has also preemptively declared the work to Wikileaks illegal, that was their prime minister, the Attorney-General instructed the Federal police to investigate whether Assange’s passport could be torn up, there have been false crimes and statements made that he has been charged by the Swedish government, which is obviously not true, and also that he fled Sweden, which is not true. So the assistance has been fairly seen on the ground but there has also been some really quite aggressive political positioning around the work of Wikileaks organization. Now we believe whether you agree with this publishing outfit style and its role in the way that it conducts its work, would you agree with that or not. Julian still has Australian citizenship entitlement, he still has the right to a fair trial, I think he has right to know whether his government will protect him if for example he is prosecuted by the United States.

I find this very bizarre. How is it that he may face the death penalty if he is an Australian citizen?

That’s peculiar. I don’t know how that would work, what is likely is that he would be potentially charged of espionage, that’s what we believe based on the work of the grand jury that was empanelled at the end of 2010. And so there may be espionage charges or charges related to computer hacking, illegal entry to computer systems, but nobody knows, this really is guess work because it hasn’t been revealed whether there was an indictment that was produced by the grand jury, whether it’s underway. And those sort of things I would have thought the Australian government would be very interested in finding out.

Would do you know about the sealed grand jury finding?

We know probably no more than the general public. We know from media reports that the grand jury existed, that was impaneled in the end of 2010, but it was issuing subpoenas tens of thousands pages of documentation that have been assembled and that then it wasn’t mentioned that sealed indictment existed and the Stratfor that leaked via Wikileaks in February. So, there is no proof that there is a sealed indictment, there is certainly evidence leading in that direction. My ask really on the Australian government is that they should simply take an interest, stop pretending they stay out of this debate and talking about consular system, they need political and diplomatic support. That’s what Julian is asking for, that’s what we are asking for. Just to give you one example, a foreign minister was who is an Australian citizen who was there developing prosecutions in the international criminal court. She had diplomatic protection, she should not have been incarcerated and I strongly support a foreign minister travelling there to advocate in her cause. Now that’s not consular assistance, that somebody actually offering her substantive help and that’s what I think – we are not asking for the foreign minister to fly anywhere to confront anybody. We would like to know whether the U.S. government intends to prosecute Julian Assange and if they do whether the Australian government will tolerate that or whether they will resist it.

What documents did you request? Have you received them?

We’ve requested documents in the position of the Australian government, we are relating to the interactions with the counterpart in the department of state and the department of justice. I don’t have any standing to directly demand documents from the US but I am able to inquire to what communications have occurred between counterparts here and in Washington and in that regard the department of foreign affairs has delayed, obfuscated, made excuses and made it difficult as possible to the point where they are not actually in breech of their own guideline, we are appealing that they’ve handled the case. It appears as though they are doing everything they possibly can to prevent everything that might expose what they are actually being doing, which I suspect either announce to ignorance or to complicity, either they know that the prosecutions are about to be launched. They haven’t done anything about it, or they don’t know they are being kept in the dark and I am not sure which is worse.

Now he has sought asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy. Do you think the US will try to intercept him if he leaves the Embassy?

I don’t believe that the US has ever indicated that they would do such a thing but Scotland Yard have indicated that Julian’s now breached his bail conditions and if sets foot outside the diplomatic protection by the Ecuadorian Embassy, that he will be arrested. So, as long as he stays on that property, but I can’s imagine circumstance in which he would be able to make it through, he is thown onto a claim unless there is negotiated settlement with the British government. So, at the moment quite literally it’s a stand off and I don’t think anybody knows exactly how it is going to be resolved.

So, it looks like he will be there for a long time?

It’s very difficult to say. In part this is up to the president and the government of Ecuador as to whether they choose to offer him asylum. If they deny him asylum, then I understand that he would then be handed back to British authorities who presumably would put him in prison and immediately transfer him to Stockar. If he is prosecuted and found guilty he could potentially serve out some of his term here in Australia, there is an agreement that it would repatriate a prisoner and Australian government indicated that it is aware of that option.

Are there any other developments that you would like the world to know about?

The Australian people by quite a strong majority support the work of the Wikileaks organization. They support the kind of journalism and the kind of publishing that Wikileaks did, mainstream journalists and publishing houses were putting stories originating from Wikileaks, we saw them on the front page of the major papers day after day. These were war crimes that were exposed, these were substantial issues of public policy around the way the United States behaves in the United Nations, the fact that the Australian government had offered military troops to special operations in Pakistan, missile strikes in Yemen that public weren’t aware of. I think the citizens of every country in the world learned some important things from the work of Wikileaks. That’s not good enough now that we stand back and allow the organization to be sabotaged and its proponent to be locked up.

Do you see a public outcry in Australia causing the government to change their position?

Yes, I think that’s actually starting to happen now. We saw yesterday for the first time – I was able to get opposition party support, conservative party support for a motion in the Senate in support of Wikileaks organization and Julian Assange right and that’s the first time that’s occurred. I think the political pressure is mounting, I think the Australian government is starting to become increasingly isolated and I think there is still time for them to do the right thing and I hope they do.

Thank you very much.

You were listening to Australian Senator Scott Ludlam with the Australian Green Party.

Source


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