News Archive - 2014-07 (July 2014)

2014-07-26 Stockholm District Court Protocol 2014-07-16


Chief judge Lena Egelin

District court law clerk Sanna Ordenius

PARTIES (present unless stated otherwise)

Prosecution director Marianne Ny and chief prosecutor Ingrid Isgren
Development Centre and Southern prosecution office Stockholm resp

Julian Assange 1971-07-03
Deprivation of liberty: detained in his absence
Unknown address
Not personally present

Counsel and defenders:

1. Attorney Thomas Olsson
Fria Advokater AB
Box 12706
112 94 Stockholm

2. Attorney Per E Samuelson
Law firm Samuelson, Schönmeyr & Wall HB
Fleminggatan 17
112 26 Stockholm

Complainant counsel Claes Borgström, substituted by attorney Emma Persson, present for open part of hearing

Interpreter Malin Safioti

Investigator Cecilia Redell

Unlawful coercion et al; now a question of re-detention

Because Julian Assange is not present at the hearing, there is no need for an interpreter, Malin Safioti leaves the hearing.

The prosecutor requests that Julian Assange continue to be detained in his absence. The prosecutor submits that there is still probable cause that Julian Assange is guilty of the deeds for which he has been detained and that the specific reason for detention, flight risk, is undiminished.

Julian Assange's defenders request that the decision for detention be rescinded. They dispute that there is probable cause on both objective and subjective grounds. They further dispute the specific reason for detention.

Julian Assange's defenders also allege that the prosecutor has not shown the care, efficiency, and expediency a prosecutor should have in cases where the suspect is deprived of liberty, and that this condition, together with the prosecutor's negligence in attempting to conduct interrogations with Julian Assange in Great Britain, which consequently has caused that this matter has been drawn out an unreasonably long time, mean that it is disproportional and in violation of Julian Assange's fundamental right to personal freedom to maintain the decision for detention.

The prosecutor requests that the hearing be held behind closed doors for that part pertaining to the probable causes for the criminal suspicions.

Julian Assange's defenders have no objection.

Directive per chapter 5 procedural code et al.

The court directs that the hearing, as far as pertains to the question of whether there are probable causes for the suspicions, shall be held behind closed doors (chap 5 § 1 procedural code, chap 18 § 1 and chap 35 §§ 1 and 12 secrecy act).

The spectators leave the courtroom. It is noted that the investigator may remain.

The prosecutor explains her opinion that there is probable cause for the suspicions. See the sealed appendix.

Julian Assange's defenders explain their opinion in the matter of probable cause. See the sealed appendix.

The court announces that the hearing is again public.

The prosecutor explains her request in the remaining matters.

Julian Assange's defenders explain their request in the remaining matters. They submit and explain the decision of the Ecuador foreign ministry and post from Ecuador's embassy in Sweden, appendices 56-57. They further play a film with various statements about Julian Assange as well as submit notes on what is being said in those statements, appendix 58.

The parties conclude their statements, save concerning the probable causes for the criminal suspicions, which has taken place behind closed doors.

The hearing is hereby concluded.

After considerable deliberation, the court announces the following


Julian Assange is still on probable cause suspected of

1. unlawful coercion 13-14 August 2010 in Stockholm
2. sexual molestation 13-14 August 2010 in Stockholm
3. sexual molestation 18 August 2010 or thereabouts in Stockholm
4. rape, lesser crime, according to chap 6 § 1 paragraph 3 criminal code, 17 August 2010 Enköping.

There is a risk that he will abscond or in some other way evade legal process or sentence. The reasons for detention outweigh the intrusion or harm which the measure otherwise means.

Julian Assange shall therefore continue to be detained in his absence for the same suspicions and because of the same specific reasons for detention as before.

The court shall be immediately notified when the detention decision is carried out.



Stockholm District Court issued an order to remand Julian Assange in custody on 18 November 2010. The Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal of the decision 24 November 2010. On 2 December 2010, the Supreme court decided to not grant a leave to appeal, which meant that the ruling of the Court of Appeal was in effect. A European Arrest Warrant was thereafter issued; a review by the British courts was completed on 14 June 2012. Neither the remand decision nor the arrest warrant have been enforced.

Conditions for remand according to chap 24 § 1 procedural code

Any person suspected on probable cause of an offence punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or more may be placed in detention if, in view of the nature of the offence, the suspect's circumstances, or any other factor, there is a reasonable risk that the person will:

1. flee or otherwise evade legal proceedings or punishment;
2. impede the inquiry into the matter at issue by removing evidence or in another way; or
3. continue his criminal activity.

If a penalty less severe than imprisonment for two years is not prescribed for the offence, the suspect shall be detained unless it is clear that detention is unwarranted.

Detention may only occur if the reason for detention outweighs the intrusion or other detriment to the suspect or some other opposing interest.

If it can be assumed that the suspect will only be sentenced to a fine he must not be detained.

Is Julian Assange suspected on probable cause of a crime?

According to the court, Julian Assange is, based on the current investigation, still suspected on probable cause of the crimes for which he was previously arrested in his absence.

Is there a risk that Julian Assange will evade his legal process or sentence?

The court finds that there is still a risk that Julian Assange will evade his legal process or sentence.

Is it proportional to keep Julian Assange under arrest in his absence?

On 2 December 2010, the prosecutor issued a European Arrest Warrant with a request that Julian Assange should be apprehended and surrendered from Great Britain to Sweden. As the basis of the warrant, the Court of Appeal cited the decision for remand of Julian Assange in his absence. As a result of the issuance of the arrest warrant, Julian Assange was deprived of liberty on 7 December 2010. He was released on 16 December 2010, and was instead required to submit to electronic surveillance with an ankle bracelet and to report daily to the police, and forbidden to be outdoors of his residence 22:00 - 08:00. His passport was confiscated and he was forbidden to acquire travel documents.

The arrest warrant was reviewed by the British courts, and on 31 May 2012, the Supreme Court in Great Britain ruled that Julian Assange should be surrendered to Sweden as per request. Julian Assange submitted an objection to the legal framework of the decision. The court's final ruling, to not resume the case, was announced 14 June 2012.

On 19 June 2012, Julian Assange visited Ecuador's embassy in London. The Ecuador government have granted Julian Assange political asylum. Julian Assange has, as far as one knows, been at the embassy since 19 June 2012.

In judging the intrusion and harm that the arrest in absence has meant and means for Julian Assange, it can be established that as a result of the European Arrest Warrant he has been deprived of liberty for the period 7-16 December 2010 and thereafter has been subjected to restrictions. These have, without being comparable to deprivation of liberty, of course been very significant for Julian Assange. That he has chosen to remain at the Ecuador embassy in Great Britain is, in the judgement of the court, not to be seen as a deprivation of liberty, and shall therefore not be regarded as a notable consequence of the decision to arrest him in his absence.

The deprivation of liberty and freedom to which Julian Assange has been subjected in Great Britain during the court reviews of the European Arrest Warrant are not, according to the court, sufficiently extensive that they can be regarded as disproportional.

Julian Assange's defenders have submitted that Julian Assange's status as a political refugee means that the arrest warrant and thereby the remand decision cannot be enforced as long as he is protected by Ecuador, and therefore the remand decision should be rescinded. A surrender is assuredly not possible at present, because Julian Assange, as far as is known, is resident at an embassy, but the court does not find this a sufficient reason to rescind the decision that he be remanded in his absence.

Julian Assange's defenders have also submitted that the prosecutor has not shown requisite care, efficiency, and expediency. They have submitted that the prosecutor has not shared all investigative materials. They have also submitted that the prosecutor's opportunities to question Julian Assange in Sweden were wasted. They have further submitted that it is possible to question Julian Assange in Great Britain, and that the prosecutor has such a duty, considering the requirement for an effective investigation.

The prosecutor has submitted that the circumstances which are the basis for the arrest have been well known by Julian Assange through the information submitted at the remand hearing and through the prosecutor's previous statements to the Court of Appeal. The prosecutor has further submitted that the purpose of requesting Julian Assange to be arrested in his absence was to make it possible to continue the preliminary investigation and a possible legal process, that is to say not only for the purpose of conducting interrogations. The prosecutor has submitted that the question of conduction interrogations by telephone and other matters continually in Great Britain has been reviewed, and this has resulted in the judgement of the prosecutor that Julian Assange must be in Sweden during the investigation and, should there be a trial, for the trial itself.

The court does not find that what has emerged regarding the prosecutor's review of the question of conducting interrogations in Sweden or Great Britain, or her conduct otherwise, can lead to the arrest warrant being rescinded.

In conclusion, the court thus finds that the reasons for arrest outweigh the intrusion or harm which the measure otherwise mean for Julian Assange or for any other opposing interest. Neither does the court find that the ruling is in conflict with the directives in article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Therefore shall Julian Assange remain detained in his absence.

As soon as this decision is executed, at the latest within four days of Julian Assange arriving in Sweden, the court will hold a remand hearing.


This decision can be appealed to the Svea Court of Appeals. The right to appeal is not limited to a certain time.

Sanna Ordenius, District court law clerk
Shown to Lena Egelin, Chief judge

(© and reprinted with permission from Assange in Sweden, where reprint requests should be directed. For further documents in the new case filing, including the initial petition to the Stockholm court and a facsimile of Marianne Ny's response to the court, see Justice4Assange.)

Assange stalemate unworthy of Sweden

Per E Samuelson and Thomas Olsson write to SvD.

That a prosecutor can continue a preliminary investigation for four years and not question the suspect violates the demand for expediency. This is a strong reason to rescind the warrant against Julian Assange, write his lawyers.

Our client Julian Assange has been arrested in his absence for almost four years. He's spent the past two years at the Ecuador embassy in London, protected by political asylum. The London police guard the building day and night, but they can't enter the building. We have, time and again, demanded that the prosecutor [Marianne Ny] travel to London to question Assange. She refuses.

We've asked the Stockholm district court to rescind the warrant to break the deadlock. That would force the prosecutor to think differently. The matter will be dealt with in court 16 July.

Elisabeth Massi Fritz claims that anything but continued arrest would be a 'slap in the face' for her client and 'all women who are victims of sexual violence'. This is shabby jurisprudence at the cheapest possible level.

Massi Fritz is wrong in the crucial evidentiary matter of the case: no crime has been committed.

In August 2010, Assange had brief encounters with two Swedish women. Both were a question of consensual sex. Nothing else applies.

The women did not know each other beforehand, but they got in touch afterwards, culminating in Fritz' client going to the police accompanied by the other woman. But they did not go to the police to file complaints against Julian Assange.

The SMS traffic shows that Fritz' client only wanted advice on how to get Assange to take a blood test. She wasn't accusing Assange of anything, and she was shocked when she heard Assange was to be arrested in his absence.

So the truth is that neither of the women wanted to accuse Assange of anything, and that matches Assange's own version of events.

But there are other reasons to level serious criticism at Massi Fritz. Her position on political asylum is, to say the least, extraordinary.

Asylum is a fundamental human right cited in the UN Declaration of Human Rights (article 14). Ecuador expressly referred in their decision to the 1951 Geneva Convention.

Ecuador granted political asylum to Julian Assange in order to protect him from extradition to the US. This has nothing to do with the Swedish preliminary investigation. One need only read the asylum decision oneself. Obviously Massi Fritz hasn't done that.

Massi Fritz also makes a colossal blunder when she completely ignores the threat of the US and instead - completely in error - claims that Ecuador, 'a tiny South American country', tried to help Assange evade justice 'by fooling the world into thinking this is somehow all about the US'.

So let's lay out some fundamental facts.

On 5 April 2010, WikiLeaks released the Collateral Murder video showing a US helicopter attack on Baghdad civilians. Later that same year, they published 75,000 secret documents from the Pentagon concerning the US war in Afghanistan, 400,000 documents concerning the US war in Iraq, and over 250,000 US diplomatic cables, as well as 779 journals from the US base in Guantanamo.

One can see the reaction of the political pundits and powers that be in the clip below.

The clip shows very clearly how disastrously wrong Massi Fritz is. Alongside the Swedish preliminary investigation, there are very serious investigations going on in the US.

Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning was sentenced 20 August 2013 by a military court to 35 years prison, accused of having leaked over 700,000 documents to WikiLeaks.

There's yet another investigation into the 'founders, owners, or managers of WikiLeaks' being conducted in the Eastern District of Virginia, in Alexandria, and according to the US Department of Justice, the investigation is active and ongoing.

So Assange risks a very long prison sentence if extradited to the US, at least as long as the 35 years of Manning.

And that's why Ecuador granted Assange political asylum.

With that in mind, the demands of Massi Fritz (and the prosecutor [Marianne Ny]) that Assange turn up voluntarily and leave the protection of his political asylum are totally unreasonable. Julian Assange will use his political asylum as long as there's a risk he can be surrendered to the US in order to spend most of the rest of his life behind bars.

But the most damning thing about Elisabeth Massi Fritz and the prosecutor [Marianne Ny] is that they don't even try to resolve the stalemate. All they offer is more and more stalemate. Their demands could be summarised as follows:

Let's keep Assange locked away in the Ecuador embassy in London, let's stop him from using his political asylum, until he gives up and exits the building voluntarily. And in the meantime, what do we do? We do absolutely nothing.

It is our opinion that such a position is unreasonable and unworthy of Sweden as a nation of law. Such a position violates internationally recognised conventions. Such a position violates Swedish law.

Continued arrest violates the principle of necessity in that it can't ever achieve the objective (forcing Assange to Sweden); due to the political asylum, Assange has permission to stay there as long as he wants. Great Britain cannot enter and arrest him.

Great Britain can instead guard the embassy round the clock (at a cost of close to 7 million pounds sterling at time of writing). The embassy is guarded because of the arrest warrant. No warrant, no embassy guard. But Sweden gain nothing by this surveillance because they can't ever achieve their objective (forcing Assange to Sweden). The warrant has, however, serious negative consequences for Assange because it puts him in a situation tantamount to house arrest for the foreseeable future.

The warrant therefore also violates the principle of proportionality as the negative effects for Assange are not in proportion with what Sweden wanted to achieve by continued arrest.

The reason the prosecutor wanted Assange under arrest was - as she herself tells it - to apprehend him and have him brought to Sweden. But as we've seen above, that objective can no longer be achieved: Ecuador granted Assange political asylum. The prosecutor's request that the district court, despite this, keep Assange under arrest in his absence has, as its sole purpose, to pressure Assange into forsaking his political asylum. But personal pressure may not be used to coerce a suspect - that's a violation of the principle of purpose.

Assange has soon been under arrest in his absence for four years. He still hasn't been questioned. He still hasn't been notified of any accusations concerning Fritz' client. This despite the fact that we, time and again, have pointed out that Assange wants to be questioned, wants to clear his name from the accusations the prosecutor has been levelling at him.

That a prosecutor keeps a preliminary investigation open for four years without interrogating the suspect violates the demand for expediency in RB 23:4 and is a strong argument for rescinding the warrant.

The above is part of the judicial arguments which are the basis of our request that the Stockholm district court rescind the warrant.

Rescinding the warrant would of course not mean that the Swedish preliminary investigation would not continue. Just as we've pointed out for almost four years, we will still demand that the investigation be complemented with Assange's version of events. We and our client are available for such a questioning. All the prosecutor has ever had to do is contact us.

The Stockholm district court must, by rescinding the warrant, force the prosecutor to expedite the preliminary investigation in the only way possible: get over to London and question Assange.


(© and reprinted with permission from Assange in Sweden. For further documents in the new case filing, including the initial petition to the Stockholm court and a facsimile of Marianne Ny's response to the court, see here.)