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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Six Days Remain before Julian Assange is Extradited to Sweden by Steve Beckow

Six Days Remain before Julian Assange is Extradited to Sweden

2011 July 5 - Today is July 6

by Steve Beckow
In six days time, Julian Assange will be extradited to Sweden to face four allegations of sexual offences. However as of the present day no formal charges have been laid against him.  Julian has been held under house arrest in Britain since Dec. 2010 when Sweden issued two international warrants for his  arrest. 

Under Swedish law, which does not have bail options, upon arrival in Sweden, Julian will be jailed for an indefinite period.Even if found innocent of the charges, he will have been taken out of action, which is probably the aim of these moves anyways.

Questions have arisen as to whether Sweden is acting at the behest of the American government. The detention of Julian is likely to put the Swedish justice system under a microscope and could prove embarrassing to the Swedish government and officials responsible for Swedish laws, courts, and detention. For Julian, it removes him from directing Wikileaks for an indefinite period of time. Below is an assessment of Julian’s prospects in Sweden, admittedly from Julian’s supporters.

Fair Trial for Julian Assange?


Criticism of Swedish justice system


Of all the signatories to the Convention, Sweden has the highest per capita rate of cases brought to the European Court of Human Rights relating to article 6.1 (right to a fair trial). It also has the highest rate of adverse rulings when it comes to the fair trial.

Argument of the defence

In the February Hearing, Julian Assange’s lawyers argued that the UK should not extradite him because he would not face a fair trial in Sweden. If extradited, Assange will be:

 Held in prison in solitary confinement when he is returned, despite not having been charged (likely to spend up to a year in custody). There is no time limit to detention in Sweden.

 There is no bail system, so he would remain in detention indefinitely.

 If there is a charge and a trial, it will be held in secret.

 He will not be judged by an ’independent and impartial tribunal’, a fundamental requirement under the European Convention of Human Rights (article 6.1). Three out of the four judges are lay judges, who have been appointed by political parties and have no formal legal training (see Lay Judges).

 The Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, has not given Julian Assange or his lawyers information on the allegations against him in writing, which violates the Swedish Code of Procedure (RB 23:18) and the European Convention of Human Rights (article 5), and the EU Fundamental Charter on Human Rights.

 There has been political interference with the Prime Minister’s statements to the Swedish Parliament during the trial (see Political Interference, and constant press attention has been given to the complainants’ lawyer (see Media climate in Sweden).

 The bilateral agreement between the United States and Sweden allows Julian Assange to be extradited to the US as soon as he arrives in Sweden (see section on US extradition). Under US custody, Julian Assange risks kidnapping, torture, and execution.

Reactions in Sweden to the criticism of the Swedish Justice System

 Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt stated in a parliamentary address that criticisms of the Swedish Justice system are unfounded, and Assange’s lawyers have tried to patronise Sweden (7 February 2011). The original statements are available here.

 In an anonymous survey one out of three jurists agreed that Assange’s criticisms of the Swedish Justice system were well-founded (English here, and here). The comments by Swedish lawyers reveal a profound lack of trust in the legal system:

“The Swedish judicial system is close to falling apart as far as sex crimes goes. Bizarre gender theories have had too much influence on practitioners of jurisprudence.”

“Considering the pressure on Assange by the world at large, it’s not unrealistic to suspect there are things going on behind the scenes that have influenced how the case is being handled.”

 The Swedish lawyers Jens Lapidus and Johan Åkermark published “Assange’s criticism is right on several counts” in one of the main Swedish dailies, DN (05 May 2011):

“We share Assange’s criticism about the rules of detention, the Lay Judges and the routine fashion in which trials are held behind closed doors.”
 Claes Borgström, the lawyer for the two complainants in the Assange investigation, has also argued detention periods are excessively long in Sweden.

“Both the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and other Inhumane and Degrading Treatment and the UN Committee Against Torture have criticised Sweden for long detention periods and we agree that they can be incredibly long. We have also repeatedly through the years challenged trials behind closed doors. As well as the Lay Judges, but on the grounds that it recruits from a limited pool of people rather than the politicisation of the courts.”

Would a trial lead to Assange’s Conviction?


The testimonies of the two complainants (AA and SW), Julian Assange, and nine witnesses (English here) were leaked onto the internet in January 2011.


Swedish lawyers are divided on whether Assange would be convicted of the allegations against him.

Arguing that Assange would be found not guilty if charged:
Criminal justice professor Per-Ole Träskman (University of Lund Sweden) and doctoral researcher Sakari Melander (University of Helsinki) discussed the rape allegations against Assange in the Finnish daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. They argued that a conviction was unlikely:

* Träskman: “Based on the evidence available, it is unlikely Assange would be convicted of the suspected crimes. Also, the prosecutor has not yet raised charges. That means the prosecutor doesn’t think there’s sufficient reason to raise a charge at this stage. That’s why she wants Assange to be heard in Sweden relying on a European Arrest Warrant.”

* Melander: “The success of a possible charge in court is not likely because reasonable doubt remains about Assange’s guilt. If there is unclarity about guilt, or there is no full certainty of it, the case must be resolved in favour of the accused.”
The full transcript in English is available here.

Björn Hurtig, Assange’s defence counsel in Sweden, estimated that there was a 50% chance of conviction. However he argued the following in a letter to Assange’s UK defence counsel, Mark Stephens:

“Having studied the case-file, as well as other material which I was permitted to inspect but not take copies or notes of (sms/text messages from the complainants’ mobile phones), the case is one of the weakest cases I have ever seen in my professional career…”

“It is highly uncertain whether Mr. Assange will be prosecuted at all, if extradited. If prosecuted, I consider it highly unlikely that he will be convicted. If convicted, he would be likely, in light of the nature and detail of the allegations themselves (the lack of any threats or physical violence, the consensual sexual relations between the complainants and Mr. Assange before the incidents and, in the case of [AA] (her evidence on this point is contradictory) after the incidents, and his personal circumstances, to receive a suspended sentence.”

Arguing that Assange is likely to be found guilty if charged:

 Per E. Samuelson, a high-profile Swedish criminal defense lawyer who specialises in rape cases, has explained the context of the rape allegations against Assange, and the uphill battle he has to prove his innocence. Samuelsson was also quoted in an article on AOL.

* “People from other countries with different legal cultures just do not understand how extensive the Swedish legal system is regarding sexual crimes. The allegations made against Julian Assange in Sweden must seem to Assange as pure nonsense, as a joke. But he must understand that these are the kind of things for which men go to prison in Sweden.”

“There was a discussion [about a law in sexual offences in 2007], but it has not changed. Political pressure which has the equality of women in society as starting point – which is in principle commendable – has led to an unacceptable very high legal uncertainty for defendants in Sweden. This is what Assange is experiencing right now. The feminist movement in Sweden is particularly strong. It has long been criticised by women’s rights activists that the judges would believe men more. It was said that it was impossible to get justice as a woman. Now the reverse is true in Sweden.

* “Today convictions are demanded due to a basic political tenor [a higher conviction rate was the stated purpose of Thomas Bodström (the partner in the law firm representing the two complainants against Assange) while he was Minister of Justice and promoting the reforms for the Sexual offences law]. The tenor: in rape cases, men have to be sentenced; otherwise it is unfair to women. This is unworthy of a constitutional state.”

“In Sweden, the consensus is: you say the truth because you’re a woman. That is the limit for me. I am for the equality of women in society. Of course. But it cannot go so far that people who are innocent are convicted. In Sweden, the so-called victim’s perspective is so advanced that there are even people out there who believe in all seriousness that it is unacceptable that women in general are exposed to the rigours of an interrogation in court. People say we as trial lawyers would offend these women because we interrogate them on behalf of our clients. I think such a culture is unprecedented in Western Europe.”


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The Declaration of Human Freedom

The Declaration of Human Freedom

Every being is a divine and eternal soul living in a temporal body. Every being was alive before birth and will live after death.

Every soul enters into physical life for the purpose of experience and education, that it may, in the course of many lifetimes, learn its true identity as a fragment of the Divine.

Life itself is a constant process of spiritual evolution and unfoldment, based on free choice, that continues until such time as we realize our true nature and return to the Divine from which we came.

No soul enters life to serve another, except by choice, but to serve its own purpose and that of the Divine from which it came.

All life is governed by natural and universal laws which precede and outweigh the laws of humanity. These laws, such as the law of karma, the law of attraction, and the law of free will, are decreed by God to order existence and assist each person to achieve life’s purpose.

No government can or should survive that derives its existence from the enforced submission of its people or that denies its people their basic rights and freedoms.

Life is a movement from one existence to another, in varied venues throughout the universe and in other universes and dimensions of existence. We are not alone in the universe but share it with other civilizations, most of them peace-loving, many of whom are more advanced than we are, some of whom can be seen with our eyes and some of whom cannot.

The evidence of our five senses is not the final arbiter of existence. Humans are spiritual as well as physical entities and the spiritual side of life transcends the physical. God is a Spirit and the final touchstone of God’s Truth is not physical but spiritual. The Truth is to be found inward.

God is one and, because of this, souls are one. They form a unity. They are meant to live in peace and harmony together in a “common unity” or community. The use of force to settle affairs runs contrary to natural law. Every person should have the right to conduct his or her own affairs without force, as long as his or her choices do not harm another.

No person shall be forced into marriage against his or her will. No woman shall be forced to bear or not bear children, against her will. No person shall be forced to hold or not hold views or worship in a manner contrary to his or her choice. Nothing vital to existence shall be withheld from another if it is within the community’s power to give.

Every person shall retain the ability to think, speak, and act as they choose, as long as they not harm another. Every person has the right to choose, study and practice the education and career of their choice without interference, provided they not harm another.

No one has the right to kill another. No one has the right to steal from another. No one has the right to force himself or herself upon another in any way.

Any government that harms its citizens, deprives them of their property or rights without their consent, or makes offensive war upon its neighbors, no matter how it misrepresents the situation, has lost its legitimacy. No government may govern without the consent of its people. All governments are tasked with seeing to the wellbeing of their citizens. Any government which forces its citizens to see to its own wellbeing without attending to theirs has lost its legitimacy.

Men and women are meant to live fulfilling lives, free of want, wherever they wish and under the conditions they desire, providing their choices do not harm another and are humanly attainable.

Children are meant to live lives under the beneficent protection of all, free of exploitation, with unhindered access to the necessities of life, education, and health care.

All forms of exploitation, oppression, and persecution run counter to universal and natural law. All disagreements are meant to be resolved amicably.

Any human law that runs counter to natural and universal law is invalid and should not survive. The enactment or enforcement of human law that runs counter to natural and universal law brings consequences that cannot be escaped, in this life or another. While one may escape temporal justice, one does not escape divine justice.

All outcomes are to the greater glory of God and to God do we look for the fulfillment of our needs and for love, peace, and wisdom. So let it be. Aum/Amen.

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