2011-01-23 Swedish PM denies political role in Assange extradition case

It is not clear from the UK Press Association report why Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt responded to reporters' questions about Julian Assange in London two days ago by addressing the hypothetical question of Assange's extradition from Sweden to the US, but he didn't dismiss it as hypothetical:

Mr Reinfeldt said Sweden's policy was not to extradite people to countries with the death penalty. But he said Sweden's courts, not its government, would decide that. ...

"We should remember when we ask questions about this that these are legal systems talking to each other, not politicians."

We know from the cables and other sources (see the summary in section 7, 92-96, of the "skeleton" legal argument) that Swedish courts have in the past been complicit in the illegal kidnapping of refugee claimants by US agents. More broadly, the role of diplomacy as mediator between law and politics has arisen repeatedly in many of the cables released by its major media partners and WikiLeaks.

Since the role of the courts is usually to interpret legislation ("policy") or to strike it down if it is unconstitutional, Reinfeldt's apparent failure to affirm Swedish refusal to extradite to countries that retain capital punishment raises questions.

Via @calixte on Twitter

Assange is not a US citizen

My blood boils every time I read an article which raises the subject of US extradition, and I have stated my feelings on this before but constantly feel it needs to be reinforced into peoples' mind sets.

The Deputy PM of Australia confirmed (under pressure) that Mr Assange has not committed any offence under Australian law. He hasn't committed any offence under UK law either.

When the Downing Street memo was leaked it was posted on Cryptome's site based in the USa. Why? Because it was on US territory where UK secrecy laws don't apply. Nobody could touch it.

When Peter Wright's Spycatcher book was published it was banned by UK (England and Wales) courts under the Official Secrets acts. However it was published in Australia and despite legal actions, the highest courts there upheld this right. It was also published in the USa. Why? UK laws do NOT apply in Australia nor the USa. It was even available in Scotland which has a different legal system from England and Wales.

For exactly the same reasons US domestic laws do NOT apply internationally to non-US citizens in non-US territories for acts which take place outside the the USa.

When is everybody, including the USa, just going to accept this?

As for Sweden I do not accept that their actions are of a solely judicial nature either and that all attempts by Swedish authorities in this matter should be resisted too.

(ps I have edited this post on various occasions since when it was first placed, for better clarity and feeling)

I think the idea that Mr

I think the idea that Mr Assange is in danger of lethal injection is, not to put too fine a point on it, completely farcical. There are plenty of reasons why Mr Assange might not want to be delivered to US justice, but not that. There is no evidence or reason to believe that it would be any easier to be extradited from Sweden than the UK.

lgr, I don't know Swedish

lgr, I don't know Swedish society beyond what I read but I do know the UK fairly well, and I would say that political resistance to Assange's extradition from the UK right now would be very high. By that I mean that the government will know that there would be huge popular support for Assange and, perhaps more important, resentment of a move against him from the US.

The UK government is capable of being as underhanded in its secret dealings with the US as the Swedes have been, but in a case like this one, I think there is stronger legal and popular resistance among Brits, and the government has to take that into account. I also don't think that the UK would waffle on the question of capital punishment, not if it became a public issue.

I just think capital

I just think capital punishment is not even a possibility and its kind of absurd to bring it up (except as a legal argument maybe). Who were the last people to be executed for espionage? The Rosenbergs? And there have been plenty of spies since then. No one expects Manning to be facing the electric chair. Having said that, who wants to go to prison? No one in their right mind.
If a warrent for espionage or conspiracy is issued, its still will make life pretty difficult if you think any european country other than the UK would lock him up. In Australia the Govt couldn't approve his extradition either - in the end a minister has to sign off on it and that wouldn't happen. The whole thing seems like games inside games.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer