Sweden

2011-07-11 Assange to appeal extradition to Sweden

WikiLeaks front-man Julian Assange will front the high court in London on July 12 for his appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sexual misconduct. Assange has been under house arrest in England for over six months, following a ruling in February at a London district court that the extradition of Assange to Sweden was valid and would not breach any of his human rights.

Assange’s lawyers argued that he would face an unfair trial in Sweden; there arguments can be found here: http://t.co/NTwxH2D http://t.co/oVYrSpM

Assange voluntarily turned himself in to the police in the UK after Sweden filed a European Arrest Warrant for him.

A widely held view amongst WikiLeaks’ supporters is that the extradition to Sweden is a preface to an eventual trial in the US; and that extradition for the charges against Assange would not be pursued if it was any ordinary citizen.

Assange and his colleagues at the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks have subjected the US government to extreme duress and embarrassment due to its publication of many thousands of US diplomatic cables including: the July 12 Baghdad Collateral Murder Video and other Iraq war documents; material on extrajudicial killings in Kenya, and the Guantanamo Bay files, to name a few.

Julian Assange is an Australian citizen and deserves all the support our government can offer him. Instead he was thrown to the wolves. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard failed to support Assange and called the leaks “an illegal act” according to an article in The Australian in 2009.

Gillard came under widespread condemnation for failing to give support to Assange. Hundreds of prominent lawyers, journalists, editors, and academics signed a letter to the Gillard government calling for her to support Assange but the government has maintained its hardline stance from the outset.

2011-07-07 Sweden - a covert NATO country

Ever since the Second World War, official Swedish foreign policy has been one of neutrality, a stance that has been consistent with public opinion: support for Swedish NATO membership has at most times remained below 20%.(1) In 2010, 47% of Swedes held the view that a Swedish application for NATO membership would be a bad idea, while only 18% thought it would be a good idea.

Sweden joined NATO's Partnership for Peace programme in 1994, but is claimed to have retained its independence. According to NATO, "Sweden has a long history of non-alliance, and that policy remains in place today."(2) The Swedish Ministry of Defence emphasises this independence, stating that "Sweden´s cooperation with NATO is based on non-alliance"(3), and suggesting that although it currently has troops deployed in several foreign countries, Sweden has not been at war "for 200 years."(4)

Instances of close cooperation between Sweden and NATO throughout the cold war period are, however, too numerous for this stated position of neutrality to retain much credibility.

Wilhelm Lagrell has pointed out that then US ambassador to Sweden William W Butterworth sent a telegram to Washington in 1952, stating that Sweden was prepared to enter far-reaching defence cooperation with other western countries, on the condition that any such arrangements were kept secret.(5) Swedish military documents declassified in 2004 show that Swedish planes - also in 1952 - were used to gather intelligence on Soviet ships placed in the Baltic Sea, information which undoubtedly would have been of great interest to NATO.

In 1973, it was shown in relation to the famous IB affair that the Swedish intelligence agency, SÄPO, actively provided the US with information on US Vietnam war deserters living in Sweden.

2011-06-11 The extradition appeal of Julian Assange: EU melting pots, ambiguities and human rights on trial.

The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) not for the purposes of prosecution argument.

Readers are likely aware that English speaking nation’s common law concepts/language do not necessarily have equivalents in Sweden, mens rea (guilty mind) being a major one lacking in Swedish sexual offences legislation for example (relating to lack of consent*). Julian Assange’s defence made substantial arguments at the extradition hearing that the EAW was not for the purposes of prosecution, that the use of the word “lagforing” in the warrant, meaning judicial process, was not sufficient to qualify as meaning a prosecution for the required purposes of an EAW.

As Judge Riddle wrote, in page 14 of his judgement (Full ruling here in Pdf.):

Under section 2(2) and (3) Extradition Act 2003 an arrest warrant must contain a statement that the Part 1 warrant is issued with a view to his arrest and extradition to the category 1 territory for the purpose of being prosecuted for the offence….

What is required by section 2 of the Act is an arrest warrant which contains a statement that the warrant is issued for the purpose of being prosecuted. The question has been considered in a number of earlier cases, including Trenk, Vey, Mighall, Patel and Azstaslos. The defence argue that the EAW nowhere states unequivocally and without ambiguity that Mr Assange is sought for prosecution. The EAW was translated from Swedish into English by a translator appointed by the Swedish National Police Board. It begins “This warrant has been issued by a competent authority. I request that the person mentioned below be arrested and surrendered for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order”.

2011-05-17 WikiLeaks Omitted from the US International Cybersecurity Strategy

ImageNew US International Cybersecurity Strategy Aims to Institute 'Rule of Law' on the Internet

The United States officially launched its international cyber security strategy in a White House event on Monday, May 16. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined by the following administration officials: John Brennan, the president's counterterrorism and homeland security adviser; Howard Schmidt, White House cybersecurity coordinator; Attorney General Eric Holder; Secretaries Janet Napolitano of Homeland Security and Gary Locke of Commerce; and Defense Deputy Secretary William Lynn.

The presentation of the cyber security presented several principles, outlined the approach the US intends to take in the further development of cyber security protections, and indicated how the US might use the Internet to preserve its status as a superpower in the world.

Featured during the presentation were seven principles, which appear in the framework: economic engagement, protecting networks, law enforcement, military cooperation, multi-stakeholder Internet governance, international development and Internet freedom. Within the presentation, Clinton sought to explain that cyber crime, Internet freedom and network security could no longer be “disparate stovepipe discussions.”

At no time during the launch of the strategy was WikiLeaks mentioned. Not even Clinton bothered to mention it, despite the fact that she heads a State Department that had their department’s classified information leaked and published by media organizations and continue to have new information published each day.

2011-04-06 Hearing date set for Assange extradition appeal

The BBC first announced this morning that the High Court of England and Wales* has listed court dates of 12-13 July to hear Julian Assange's appeal against extradition from the UK to Sweden.

BBC reporter Dominic Hurst tweeted shortly after his first announcement that "Assange's appeal is against Judge Riddle's ruling that extradition to Sweden wouldn't breach his human rights," a summary repeated in this report from the Guardian.

Mark Stephens @markslarks, Assange's UK solicitor, then replied to a first question on Twitter from a WLC reporter: "dates correct. Detail wrong." When questioned further by another WLC reporter hoping for a lawyerly update, he tweeted: "will come when I return to the UK."

There is obviously some time for precising our understanding of what the appeal may entail. Parliamentary review of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is also expected in June [citation needed and welcomed].

* NB: Scotland's legal system has always been independent from that of England and Wales.

2011-04-02 WikiLeaks Notes: Parliamentarians question treatment of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks

UK MP quizzes Crown Prosecution Service over Assange extradition case

Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert has raised the relevance of the Human Rights Act to the role played by the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Sweden's attempt to extradite Julian Assange.

In reply to Mr Huppert's questions during a joint committee hearing on human rights, Keir Starmer, director of Public Prosecutions, admitted that the CPS "are bound by the Human Rights Act, and we are bound by our duties to the court." However, he added that human-rights issues would be for the courts to determine rather than for the CPS.

Impenetrable though those legal distinctions may appear in the abstract, parliamentary attention to possible politicization of law is significant where it appears that the boundaries between law and politics are not clear and stable.

Australian MP and shadow minister reflects on WikiLeaks, Spycatcher, and freedom of the press

Malcolm Turnbull (L-Wentworth), former leader of the Opposition in the Australian House of Representatives and the current shadow minister for Communications and Broadband, spoke to Sydney University Law School on 31 March about his experiences representing former MI5 officer Peter Wright, author of Spycatcher, and about the concerns and responsibilities the Australian government faces relative to Assange's own situation and to WikiLeaks publications generally.

2011-03-26 WikiLeaks Notes

ImageDebate: This House believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place

On 9 April, the Frontline Club and the New Statesman will host a public debate in which Julian Assange will speak for the proposition "This House believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place."

The debate will be chaired by Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman; other panelists have yet to be announced. The event will be held at Kensington Town Hall at 5 pm GMT; it is already fully booked but should be both livetweeted and filmed.

Rob Stary, Australian lawyer for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks: interview

Last week the WikiLeaks Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) posted the video of an interview they did with Rob Stary, Julian Assange's lawyer in Australia, before the WikiLeaks Free Speech Forum in Melbourne on 4 February.

Some of the interview focuses on legal and political issues particular to Australia. More generally, however, Stary challenges the claims of a number of governments that their legal manoeuvres against Assange and/or WikiLeaks are unaffected by politics. His analysis of the international interplay between law and politics is a fine summary of the state of play so far.

2011-03-06 Darkness at Noon: Bradley Manning

Authored by Tony Kevin, former Australian Diplomat.

Chillingly, inexorably, the lifepaths of Julian Assange and Bradley Manning are converging.

Not yet in the sense that Manning’s US military torturers hope for, with a desired confession by him whether true or falsely coerced of prior collaboration with Assange to pass US classified intelligence material to Wikileaks. Either would satisfy them, because even a false and forced confession, that could be later disavowed by Manning in court, could be enough in the US judicial system to trigger a valid US secret grand jury arrest warrant for Assange’s extradition to the US. Such a warrant could be served either on the UK or Swedish governments, depending on where Assange was at the time.

More broadly, their stories are appropriately coming together now as stories of two young national heroes, one American and one Australian, who are putting their lives on the line now for the sake of defending the principle of individual moral accountability for the actions of their national states that profess to share similar political values. This principle has been variously expressed by many political leaders and thinkers, of which a few examples here will suffice. I am sure an Obama quotation could be readily found to add to this short list:

US founding father Benjamin Franklin, in 1792 - … a nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.

Martin Luther King at the height of his US civil rights struggle - Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

"Conspiracy as Governance", Julian Assange, 3 December 2006, from me@iq.org

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.

2011-03-03 Meeting on 2nd March in Parliament House Canberra with MPs re Julian Assange.

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 below with their permission. Written material was also provided by Jennifer Robinson, UK counsel for the Julian Assange. That material is reprinted with permission here.

After short addresses by each of the three speakers, the meeting was opened for questions and summaries of each speaker in the proceedings appears below, after biographies.

2011-02-24 Swedish Newspaper Aftonbladet Hosts Chat with Julian Assange

The following is a chat that recently took place on the Swedish news website Aftonbladet with Julian Assange. Assange talks about his trial, the possibility of extradition to the United States, why he thinks he won't get a fair trial in Sweden, how WikiLeaks is faring currently, whether WikiLeaks will go on if he is found guilty and sentenced to jail, and more. Here it is re-published in full.

2011-02-24 Extradition hearing: Day four (Final round)

Today Julian Assange faced his last extraditon hearing (apparently). We will be updating Court´s events in Belmarsh here. If you have related live information and audio or video feeds, please send to @wikileaks_world on Twitter.

After 1 hour and 45 minutes, the hearing is over. Judge orders Assange be extradited in Sweden. Assange has 7 days to appeal. For now, he will remain on bail. Lawyer Mark Stephens says they will appeal.

Full judgement is up here.

Relevant Twitter feed from Belmarsh, based on @federicacocco, @estheraddley, @c4marcus and @ravisomaiya:

c4marcus (12.13 GMT)
#Assange bailed until 2pm while issues around sureties are sorted out.
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federicacocco (12.12 GMT)
Judge: Assange will remain on bail
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federicacocco (12.10 GMT)
Robertson: To save time, we have 2 alternative sureties. One of the original sureties was Lord Evans but he couldn't be here today
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estheraddley (12.10 GMT)
Decision postponed on costs. On bail, defence offering two alternative suretors. Judge 'I'm afraid I don't know who these people are'
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(12.08 GMT)
Judge: I can't rule on costs today as Crown hasn't provided me with their total. #Assange
.
federicacocco (12.05 GMT)
Judge: A schedule has not been made. For these purposes, the court has no longer jurisdiction after today.
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federicacocco (12.05 GMT)
Judge: In principle I would today make an order for costs in the amount I consider Judge. Today I'm not in a position to assess costs
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c4marcus (12.00 GMT)
Appears Crown aren't actually sure what their costs are, which is making dealing with that issue today a bit tricky. #Assange
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federicacocco (11.58 GMT)
Judge to prosecution: If the appeal in successful you have a right to apply for the reimbursement of legal costs
.
federicacocco (11.56 GMT)

2011-02-18 Australia appeals to Sweden over Assange

Paul Stephens, Australian ambassador to Sweden, last week formally requested assurances from Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask concerning the treatment of Julian Assange under Swedish law.

In a letter written on the day of final arguments in Assange's extradition hearing last Friday,

Stephens explained that Assange "has been detained in his absence" by a Swedish court on suspicions of having committed "a criminal offence".

"I wish to convey the Australian Government's expectation that, should Mr. Assange be brought into Swedish jurisdiction, his case would proceed in accordance with due process and the provisions prescribed under Swedish law," the Australian ambassador.

He emphasised as well that he expected Assange's case to adhere to "applicable European and international laws, including relevant human rights norms."

2011-02-11 Extradition hearing: Day three

The following is a reconstruction of the Julian Assange extradition proceedings on 11 February 2011 based primarily on the tweets of @federicacocco (Federica Cocco) and in much smaller part from the tweets of @channel4news. WL Central acknowledges those sources. The tweets have been preserved as much as possible and combined but are rewritten in parts for clarity, and legal terminology has been inserted where appropriate. Clarifying additions are generally in italics and may be assumptions within the legal context.

SC Robertson’s Submissions.
Robertson QC opens submissions with an account of the attack on Julian Assange by Fredrik Reinfeldt, prime minister of Sweden; Robertson says that Reinfeldt's comments earlier this week amount to his labelling Assange an "enemy of the people" in Sweden.

"This will influence a fair trial,” says Robertson, who quotes the prime minister as claiming that Assange and his lawyers are “sexist and condescending to Sweden."

The Swedish chancellor added to the prime minister's remarks, which Robertson says is an intolerable development; he adds that it is unprecedented for a government minister to comment in that way.

2011-02-08 Witness statement of Bjorn Hurtig - Summary

The Witness Statement of Bjorn Hurtig, Swedish counsel for the defense of Julian Assange - Summary

The original statement is available here, and the supporting documents are here, here, and here. In this document, Mr Hurtig describes the case against Mr Assange to the London defense team as one of the weakest he has ever seen in his entire fifteen year career. In this document London defense Mark Stephens asserts that the Swedish prosecutor sought not just to have Mr Assange imprisoned while under investigation, but also placed in solitary confinement. The key points of Mr Assange's skeleton argument were summarized here.

Mr Hurtig states that the manner in which Ms Ny (the Swedish Prosecutor) has handled Mr Assange's case is not in compliance with the concept of a fair trial.

Mr Assange will most certainly be brought to trial behind closed doors, initially and in the Court of Appeal. Mr Assange, who has endured an avalanche of bad publicity, will be heard with no witnesses to view the weaknesses of the case and thus no opportunity to clear his name. Prosecution witnesses will not be refuted by any new witnesses coming forward, because no one will hear their testimony.

The trial will be heard by a judge and three laypersons who are appointed by, and often members of, a political party.

The trial may be affected by media prejudice caused by the unfair conduct of police and prosecutors. Before the complainants were properly interviewed, and thus before an investigation ought to have begun, a prosecutor told the Expressen newspaper that Mr Assange was being investigated for rape, a serious breach of Swedish anonymity law. Despite this breach, the prosecutor has not been disciplined and the Justice Ombudsman has refused to accept a complaint made against her.

2011-02-09 Notas sobre la persecución a Julian Assange

Ya no queda ninguna duda de que Wikileaks está siendo atacada: amenazas directas desde el Pentágono; llamamientos al ataque militar por parte de la vieja derecha neo-conservadora, – que incluye un intento de juzgarla como espía usando una vieja ley de 1917 ; los sonados boicots de Paypal, Moneybookers, Amazon y ahora incluso Apple; la reticencia del gobierno Australiano para defender a su ciudadano (Julian Assange), el rechazo de su residencia en Suecia sin explicación alguna por parte de las autoridades, y la lista crece.

Ahora bien, aunque muchas voces han insinuado, o abiertamente declarado, que las acusaciones de violación del Sr. Assange son una faceta más de esta campaña, por su naturaleza sensible es mejor no apresurarse en llegar a conclusiones. Lo que sí es seguro es que las constantes irregularidades del caso lo hacen cuestionable, razón por la cual cada vez hay más voces expresando su preocupación por la verdadera motivación de las acusaciones. A mediados de agosto y en pleno revuelo de las filtraciones hechas por su organización sobre la guerra de Afganistán, el Sr. Assange salía casualmente con una politóloga liberal e activista sueca, Anna Ardin. Según su versión este la habría forzado sexualmente la noche del 14 de ese mes, por lo que una semana después presentó una demanda formal.

2011-02-08 Eyewitness account from Belmarsh trial - February 7

After the positive feedback on the report I did last time - I decided to go once more to London. A different journey: Last time was spur of the moment and very intuitive. If Gallilei lived today, I would have wanted to go to THAT process and this is about the biggest thing to happen in my profession (archiving) for the coming 100 years!!! I think Wikileaks is also a sign of a lot of other things that will start shifting.

This time my decision is more controlled. I have less to 'do' for myself and one of my purposes is definitely pure support. I feel that at this time consistent, levelheaded support is very needed.

I was again early and noticed that there was slightly less press and slightly less security. The latter probably because the police now put a fence round the entrance and the road throughout and felt more in control that way. I walked straight to the entrance to queue for the public and at 8:30 could proceed to the court room without further ado.

On the public gallery the security was one policeman up - but it was possible to wait there. Courtroom staff were less itchy than they were the last time. There were now two women in charge. Despite supporting Wikileaks, I have frowned my eyebrows at remarks that a pink cashmere sweater is apparently not appropriate on official occasions. The eyes of the people making that remark would have popped out here. Belmarsh Crown Court female staff loves high, very high (!) heels and I saw several people in fishnet stockings!

2011-02-08 UPDATE Australian attorney general responds to open letter to PM Gillard re Assange

The Australian attorney general's response to an open letter to the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard re Julian Assange

Australian Attorney General

2011-02-07 Extradition hearing: Day one

From the Guardian's timeline, rewritten for chronology and with legal terminology:

The hearing opened with Clare Montgomery QC, for the Crown Prosecution Service on behalf of the Swedish authorities. Opening submissions are that the Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, is asserted to be an issuing authority for the purposes of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

In relation to the offences, the court decides that the alleged victims are to be called Woman A (three counts of sexual assault alleged) and Woman B (one count of r*pe alleged)

Ms Montgomery says the matters are extraditable offences because the definitions in the two countries are the same. "Mr Assange had sexual intercourse with her and exploited the fact that she was asleep." This is submitted to be an offence under English law. In relation to Woman A there are three counts of sexual assault "without consent" and again contrary to English law.

2011-02-06 The Skeleton Argument of Julian Assange’s lawyers: Extradition part 5

Julian Assange appears tomorrow, 7 February, at Westminster Magistrates Court for what has been announced as a two-day hearing, but judging from past extradition hearings in the UK, it is likely (with appeals) to take much longer, even a year or more, with the second-last word being that of the Supreme Court (formerly House of Lords) and then, under certain circumstances, the last word from the Home Secretary.

Readers should note that the procedure is not to judge the actual case on its merits as a criminal procedure but to judge it according to relevant sections of the UK Extradition Act. Such evidence of the alleged offences that has surfaced is only relevant indirectly, such as to prosecutorial abuses, not to the arguable merits of that evidence and a future case in Sweden if extradition occurs.

The Skeleton Argumentbegins with a challenge to prosecutor Ms Ny’s authority to issue an European Arrest Warrant (EAW). The case of Enander v. The Swedish National Police Board [2005] EWHC 3036 (Admin) is cited; it states that only the Swedish National Police Board is the authorised authority.

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