2012-05-30 Assange gets surprise chance to fight another day
Assange is a citizen of Australia. He has been fighting extradiction to Sweden from the U.K.
The last paragraphs of the article below provide reason why Assange believes if he ends up in Sweden, the Swedes will simply hand him over to the Americans to face charges of espionage.
The article is from the Christian Science Monitor, a reasonably good account, as far as mainstream media reporting goes.
I would add:
- Actual CHARGES by the Swedish Government against Assange have never been laid, not in the time since December 2010 when Assange was taken into custody in the U.K.
- Assange is to be extradited in order to be INVESTIGATED for charges of sexual assault.
- I can’t swear to authenticity, but the report is consistent with CIA behaviour: See item Number 5 titled ASSANGE ACCUSER WORKED WITH US-FUNDED, CIA-TIED ANTI-CASTRO GROUP, in the posting 2010-12-14 Why I’m posting bail money for Julian Assange, Michael Moore, and other updates on Assange case.
- You may remember: earlier, the UK Court set bail at 240,000 pounds ($378,480) (http://sandrafinley.ca/?p=50). But celebrities like Michael Moore put up bail money. Assange was then released into the hands of a wealthy supporter in the U.K., has a curfew and wears an electronic tracking device on his ankle – he is under “house arrest”.
I wonder if what has happened to Sgt Bradley Manning (terrible) in U.S. prisons, would have happened to Julian Assange, had good people not promptly paid the bail money?
- What is not said in mainstream reports: and rats! I’ve lost the URL. As I understand, the UK Supreme Court normally distributes decisions with a bit of lead-time in order for the lawyers to prepare their response. In the Assange case, they waited until 8:30 am on the set day (May 30) to release the decision.
Ms Rose, Assange’s lawyer, had to respond to the judgment on the fly. She picked out that the judgment significantly relied on law that had not been presented at trial.
This is the Supreme Court of the land. If anyone should know, they should know that the Court is not supposed to do that. Rose called them on it, and that’s how “Assange gets surprise chance to fight another day”. The Court gave Rose the opportunity to re-open the case, to wipe the egg off their face, I would say.
Background information on Assange and some reports on what was actually leaked:
- From our network, click on Julian Assange, Wikileaks OR
- Click on the article below – there are embedded links in it, to more information.
Julian Assange’s lawyer won a two-week reprieve to review today’s decision by Britain’s Supreme Court to deport the WikiLeaks boss to Sweden.
Britain’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange should be deported to Sweden to face questioning on sex-crime allegations, but Mr. Assange’s lawyer then won a surprise 14-day reprieve that has sent the legal fight into uncharted territory.
Assange shot to international notoriety in 2010 when his website published hundreds of thousands of classified US documents, including sensitive diplomatic cables. As he rose in prominence that year, two Swedish women alleged he sexually molested them. Swedish authorities want to question Assange, who maintains the sex was consensual and alleges the allegations are politically motivated.
In a 5-2 decision, the British court dealt a blow to Assange’s nearly two-year legal effort to stave off extradition to Sweden. But after the verdict was delivered, Assange’s lawyer Dinah Rose asked for two weeks to review the decision, arguing that it hinged on a legal point not addressed by either side in a February court hearing.
The court granted the unusual request, giving Assange’s team the chance to apply to reopen the case. Such a turn of events has only occurred once before at the top of the British court system, and for different reasons, meaning the effort to move Assange to Sweden just got more uncertain and protracted.
Uncharted legal waters
“We’ve never been here before. In a sense we are all guessing,” says Carl Gardner, a British legal expert in London who blogs at HeadofLegal.com. “It could be that this is shut down relatively quickly… [but] there’s potential for this to spiral.”
Assange’s team is now expected to file an application within two weeks to reopen the case. What the court would do with the application is uncertain.
Today’s ruling indicated that at least three judges viewed as decisive a legal point from the 1969 Vienna convention on the law of treaties – a point the lawyers did not have a chance to debate in an earlier hearing, writes legal analyst Joshua Rozenberg in the Guardian. “[G]iven two weeks to prepare her case, Rose could well come up with other arguments. In the meantime, Assange can stay in the UK,” writes Mr. Rozenberg, summing up that “he lives to fight another day.”
The quickest resolution, says Mr. Gardner, would be for the Supreme Court to reopen the case, hear the arguments on the Vienna convention, and then decide it made no difference. “That would probably take a few weeks.”
Extradition still likely
In that case, Assange still has two other appeal options, neither of which are likely to halt his extradition to Sweden, says Gardner.
In Sweden, Assange could face prosecution and eventual imprisonment. His supporters have expressed concern that the US would try to extradite him from Sweden.
“WikiLeaks is under serious threat,” read a statement from WikiLeaks. “The US, UK, Swedish and Australian governments are engaging in a coordinated effort to extradite its editor in chief Julian Assange to the United States, to face espionage charges for journalistic activities.”
The US government has not publicly tipped its hand about any plans to request Assange’s extradition from England or Sweden. But a diplomatic cable from Australia’s embassy in Washington obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald reportedly said that “a broad range of possible charges are under consideration, including espionage and conspiracy.”
A confidential email obtained by WikiLeaks from the Texas-based intelligence firm Stratfor indicated that the US has a sealed indictment on Assange.
But Gardner sees no advantage in the US waiting for Assange to reach Sweden before trying to extradite him. He notes that under the European arrest warrant system, if Britain hands over Assange to Sweden he cannot then be moved elsewhere without British consent.
“Actually sending him to Sweden creates an extra block on sending him to America that doesn’t exist here [in England],” says Gardner.
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WHAT ARE THEY SAYING IN THE AUSTRALIAN PRESS?
Video of newscast from Australia: http://video.theaustralian.com.au/2240768906/Court-to-revisit-Assange-appeal-lawyer
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What’s behind Assange’s current legal battle?
The legal battle taking place in London is over whether or not a public prosecutor, as opposed to a judicial authority, is legally permitted to sign arrest warrants as laid out in the Extradition Act of 2003, legislation that applies to European warrants.
Assange was arrested by British police on a European warrant issued by Sweden in Dec. 2010. He was granted bail in London, but the court’s decision was appealed by Swedish prosecutors. London’s High Court heard the appeal and again granted Assange bail. However, in November 2011, Britian’s High Court decided Assange should be extradited to Sweden, a ruling Assange is appealing in British court today.
There are currently no legal charges against Assange in the US related to his role in publishing hundreds of thousands of pages of State Department cables and US military reports via WikiLeaks. However, a federal grand jury in Virginia has been collecting evidence against Assange and his associates for months, and the US Justice Department has been investigating Assange’s work as well, reports Reuters.