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back to article Assange™ wins Supreme Court extradition appeal bid

Julian Assange has been granted permission to appeal against his extradition to Sweden where he faces allegations of sexual molestation and rape. The Supreme Court confirmed today it will hear his case against deportation in the new year; the WikiLeaker-in-chief was told by High Court judges last week that he could request a …

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Anonymous Coward

"thinking about the other makes me want to cave his face in."

So how does that make you any different from the people abusing Bradley manning?

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no particularly

a fan of his, but how can he face charges that he hasn't been charged with?

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Facepalm

Hey, Monkey

He doesn't face the charges until he's extradited to Sweden. Understand?

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Re: no particularly

"a fan of his, but how can he face charges that he hasn't been charged with?"

His lawyer was advised that the police wanted to interview and then charge him (that is the procedure in Sweden) and he mysteriously skipped the country. In court, having denied that the Swedish police had tried to contact him, the lawyer found records of police attempts to contact him on the matter.

If you are unable to see through the lawyer-client deceits then you will always see him as injured party. (shrug)

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Anonymous Coward

Whatever happened to the principal of everyone being treated equally under the law?

That to me is the grounds of "general public importance".

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Childcatcher

"Everyone being treated equally under the law."

Liberte. Egalite. Fraternite.

What a charming idea. I don't care if it is copyrighted.

I'm engraving it on my cufflinks.

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Liberte. Egalite. Fraternite.

"I'm engraving it on my cufflinks."

You have three sleeves?

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Anonymous Coward

"Liberte. Egalite. Fraternite......I'm engraving it on my cufflinks."

I wouldn't the French seem to think that means Muslim women don't have the right to dress how they choose,

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Meh

A small mistake....

I wouldn't the French seem to think that means Muslim women don't have the right to dress how their controlling husbands choose.

There, fixed it for you.

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I agree that some women are being forced, but how do you tell which?

And why would you want to punish the victim and not the perpetrator in any case?

That's like punishing a battered wife for having a bruised face.

I wish you people would use what little intelligence you have.

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It's no surprise

I don't think the European Arrest Warrant has been taken to the Supreme Court before. So I guess it's no shock that they're willing to hear a test case.

I can't see them striking it down, given they didn't with the new extradition treaty to the US, which has fewer safeguards. Thanks to our lovely friends in New Labour for some awesome legislation there... But this case, and the case of Gary McKinnon, show that if you throw enough lawyers at a problem, you can at least keep it going for a few years before anything happens. Even if technically you don't have a right of appeal to the UK courts, you can spend an awful lot of time in them being told just that.

Actually could we swap them over? Mix-up at the airport. The yanks get Assange, and the Swedes can have McKinnon. It would be much more fun than doing it the other way round...

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Boffin

This isnt a good test case.

Putting aside Assange's delusional antics...

This is a case where a guy goes to Sweden, hooks up with a couple of girls and according to the Swedish prosecution, commits rape.(rape as defined under Swedish law.)

Under Swedish law, the suspect is called in to questioning before being formally charged. With the aid of his lawyer, the guy leaves the country before they formally charge him. Note, this is all within Sweden.

An EAW is issued to haul the guy back to Sweden from the UK.

According to the EAW, rape is one of the thirty odd crimes specifically listed where there is no reciprocal checks. (#23 I think). That is to say, regardless of how the UK defines rape, its how Sweden defines rape.

According to this article, the reasons why Assange's appeal is getting heard, is that they are questioning the validity of the EAW because apparently in Sweden the EAW can be issued by the prosecutor without having to get a judge to sign off on it.

IMHO, this is a last ditch effort that will fail.

First if there was an issue w the validity of the EAW, then Assange's attorneys would have fought the issue in Sweden. note, this asnt happened.

Second, If this is an issue of testing the validity of the EAW process, it will fail. The international laws have to respect the laws and due process of the member countries. Specifically in this case, if the Swedes allow the prosecution to issue the EAW, and in the UK the EAW requires a judge to sign off on the EAW, then the UK courts have to respect Swedish law and honor the EAW.All the Swedish prosecution has to show is that under Swedish law, the prosecution has the right to issue an EAW.

Sorry, but if you take the three ring circus you know as Assange out of the picture, this isn't a good challenge to the law.

Also note that this isn't a question of Assange's innocence or guilt. This is more about gaming the system. This is an intentional delaying strategy, all with the hope of improving Assange's chances at trial in Sweden.

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Interesting points.

You mention Assange's lawyers helping him leave Sweden before he could be charged. I understood that the message was sent, but I understood from the BBC article that this was along the line of a call to the Lawyers office where a message was left. No indication as to when this call was made, or who received it (voice mail perhaps?) or when the lawyers were made aware of the message. Neither was there any indication as to when Assange had left (before or after the message was sent?) or why Assange was not stopped at the boarder when he left (presumably the boarder control was not informed or not checked).

I agree that there are games being played, but I do wonder who is holding the aces and who has the jokers. I also doubt the prosecution are being as honest as they pretend. Then again, I doubt Assange's lawyers are, either: They're lawyers, after all! :p

As to the EAW: It has to be challenged in the UK as this is where it is being enforced.

Testing the EAW process: This does need doing to help refine the law.

Assange and his lawyers seem to be doing a poor job challenging the EAW process. A shame as failure on their side will reinforce the validity of the EAW process, and may well open it to abuse.

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Boffin

@PatientOne...

I don't know if you actually read the coverage of the first appeal. This is where Sweden's lawyer had cross examined Assange's Swedish lawyer who made the claim that he was not contacted by the prosecution. These are the statements presented by Assange's lawyers in UK court.

Under cross the attorney for Assange recanted his testimony while under cross. Seems that the Prosecution had texted him about getting his client to come in. You know the interview where at the end he gets charged... ;-)

Those are the facts and we're still wondering what's going to happen to Assange's lawyer.

More than likely. Assange's lawyers are trying to stall this out for as long as possible. The longer it takes, the less likely the accusers will want to deal with the unwanted publicity and will want some closure and just move on.... Or over time, memories fade. Its their testimony that will be used in court. All of this works in favor of the defense. At the same the defense is gambling that the Swedes will lose their taste for this trial.

As to the EAW, again, this isn't a good test case on the validity of the law. Reread my posts, there is no ambiguity. And you're right, it will re-enforce its validity. Again, lets be clear, there is no abuse of power on the issue of the EAW.

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Yes, I read the coverage. The matter of the message was a bit vague. Yes the lawyer declared he was not contacted, then admitted there had been a text message.

Now, here's the thing about text messaging: Last I heard, it wasn't considered legal notification (I've had to deal with legal matters, both professionally and privately and through out it all I was advised to support text messages and e-mails with a phone call and/or letter, simply to create a legal record of events). Why? Well, text messages can be spoofed, lost, ignored, deleted by error, intercepted and tampered with and proving any of that can be next to impossible.

So legally, the lawyer was not contacted: The prosecutor would have had to phone and speak directly to the lawyer for that, or to an official representative (secretary) or there would have had to be a formal, legal letter sent with acknowledged receipt.

I think that would be why the Lawyer is off the hook. It is also why I called to question your assertion that the Lawyer aided Assange leave Sweden to avoid prosecution: There is a lack of evidence (in the form of a timed sequence of events) to support that claim.

Again, not saying the Lawyer didn't game things, just that I've seen nothing to support that belief.

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FAIL

Someone explain to me..

How you can be extradited in the first place, WITHOUT charge!?

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Anonymous Coward

Because that is how the law works in Sweden

Pay attention. Study Swedish law for five years before answering.

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"How you can be extradited in the first place, WITHOUT charge!?"

It's the European Arrest Warrant. It's not extradition per se. It's an obvious corollary to freedom of movement! Since the EU is in some sense one place now, and we have no problem with someone being arrested in Newcastle (or even Glasgow, for a place with a different legal system) for a crime committed in Dover, the idea of a EAW shouldn't be too surprising.

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It isn't just Sweden you know. The legal system in many countries requires that you cannot be charged until you have been arrested and interviewed. That is a sight fairer than a system which allows somebody to be charged in their absence.

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@AC 16th Dec,17:53 GMT

@"Because that is how the law works in" X

Seriously, WTF!, just because country X says something, doesn't give them the jurisdiction over the rest of the human race in other countries!

If that were the case, almost all of us would be guilty of some crime in some country. Freedom of speech for example isn't universal.

The extradition laws abuse the principle of democracy, which is we vote in people to represent us and set our laws. We should not be answerable to the other countries laws, because we have no vote in that country. Any attempt to violate this principle, allows other countries to dictate terms to us, as is happening in this case.

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@Asgard

"Seriously, WTF!, just because country X says something, doesn't give them the jurisdiction over the rest of the human race in other countries!"

Uhm actually that's how it works when your country signs a treaty like the EAW.

Note that Assange allegedly broke Swedish laws within their jurisdiction. Then ditched before he could be charged.

Sweden has jurisdiction over those withing their territory aka the country Sweden.

Think of it this way... Someone goes in to your house and kills your family. Before the police can catch the guy, he hops a plane to Sweden to hide. Would you then argue that it would be wrong for the UK to seek extradition of the man from Sweden to face the crime in the UK?

Note: I used the crime of murder because its stops the potential argument of the severity of crime.

Now do you see how flawed your logic is?

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@Ian Michael Gumby

As usual Mr Gumby your absolute bias in this case blinds you to the larger issues that effect us all. The way the treaty is getting used and expanded is increasingly becoming a violation of our democracy.

You use murder to distort your argument to an extreme as a Straw man argument to distort us away from thinking about the erosion of our democracy by treaty feature creep expanding into all aspects of our lives.

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I think the issue is more a confusion between Extradition and an Arrest.

The EAW is working as both an arrest warrant (hence the name) and a request for extradition (which is being challenged).

After all, if you were arrested in Manchester for something that happened in London, you are not automatically sent to London for trial - you can be tried in Manchester or anywhere else in the country. London Police would have to request your transfer (extradition) as part of their investigations, although they could send someone up to Manchester to question you.

Now do you see why there is some confusion and concern?

And as for the treaty: That can be challenged in court, which is in effect what is happening here. Poorly, true, but that's what's happening.

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@Asgard

Actually I used murder because I didn't want you to run off and try and argue that the EAW is abusive because of what Assange did wouldn't be considered rape in the UK or his home country Australia. That argument is moot because the EAW does take in to consideration that each country has their own legal systems.

The point was that a person allegedly broke the law in Country A and fled to country B. Country A issues an EAW to have Country B return him to face charges and a trial.

You attempt to make an argument that holds no water. Country A is merely attempting to use the EAW which both countries are party to.

This is democracy and criminal law in action.

Its very scary that you fail to grasp the simple facts of the case. Or what is correct in a democratic society.

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Holmes

@PatienOne

Heres the confusion.

A person omits a crime in jurisdiction A, but before getting caught he flees to jurisdiction B. jurisdiction A files charges in jurisdiction A and then issues an arrest warrant which causes the person to be arrested in jurisdiction B. as you correctly point out, the person can fight the extradition.

Now with respect to Assange, the confusion is that Sweden hasn't formally charged Assange because in order to charge him, they must bring him in for an interview and then he will be formally charged. It's a Catch22... This is why the Swedish prosecution has stated that he will be charged when he's brought back to Sweden.

That's part of the confusion on some since he technically hasn't been charged therefore how can the EAW be valid. This point was raised and ruled on in the first trial.

The second point of potential confusion is that the prosecution issued the EAW, and not a judge. The stated argument for his final appeal is if this apparent inequity of law violates Assange's rights. If this is truly the basis for the appeal, then Assange will lose. The countries who honor the EAW have recognized that there are differences between the legal systems of the participating countries and have taken steps to identify and account for them. Hence the 30 odd crimes for which there is no reciprocal checks. If the Swedish legal system say that te EAW issued is valid, then the UK must agree to honnor the EAW unless the accused can show that on the surface the EAW is invalid. As an example, the person is accused of committing a crime in a different country while there is ample evidence to show that he wasn't in that country when the crime took place.

Assange has spent a lot of money to fight this and he has been afforded the full protection of the law as is right. But what about the rights of his alleged victims? IMHO, his bid will fail and they will get their rights in seeing justice served. And by justice I mean that Assange gets his day in court.

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Anonymous Coward

Ship the lad

The legal games should not prevent Assange from being sent back to Sweden to face trial.

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And if this appeal fails the next step will be the European Court of Human Rights and/or the ECJ.

Interesting isn't it that Assange has only paid a fraction of the amount he promised to Manning's defence and yet his own appeals against this EAW must have already cost much more than that. And should this and subsequent appeals fail and he is finally handed over to the Swedish authorities his defence will cost even more.

To my mind Assange and his organisation should be paying every penny of Manning's defence costs.

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Boffin

@Grease Monkey

How do you separate Assange from Wikileaks? For all practical purposes, Assanage is Wikileaks.

I would think that this is the last stop for Assange.

His appeal will fail based on the stated grounds of an inequity etween the due process of the two countries.

So he goes to Sweden.

IMHO this is all to game the system by delaying the trial that is based solely on eye wittiness testimony. Or to wait until the political heat dies down, or they can generate enough heat by claiming these charges were politically motivated. Take your pick. It's still a game.

With respect to Manning...

The current defense claim is that Manning suffers from Gender Identity.

What probably scares Assange the most is that he doesn't know what Manning has shared with either his own legal team or the US investigators. IMHO, Manning probably dumped the dirt to his lawyers. His own legal strategy would suggest this.

If the Aricle 32 goes against Manning, and again IMHO, it is then that Manning's defense team will try and then cut a deal. 20 years beats life and there is time off for good behavior and time served.

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You're missing the point (as usual, and therefore probably deliberately). Assange promised that Wikileaks would pay a certain sum to Manning's defence fund and then, way before the current defence was made, reneged on that promise. Assange did claim that Wikileaks could not donate that much money because they hadn't managed to raise it. If I have to explain it very carefully to you so that you won't misunderstand again:

How come Assange/Wikileaks doesn't have the money to defend Manning, but does have the money to contest an EAW. Fummy that.

And you are (as usual) massively oversimplifying Manning's defence.

Note to self. Stop feeding the troll.

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Holmes

drones

It's all very well moaning about Assange, but without Wikileaks (which, like it or not, would be of very little consequence without him) we'd still be believing the utter crap the US and other governments fed us. I could almost imagine some of you still do.

I have serious doubts about the Swedish prosecuter's honesty, but regardless of that, we're a lot better off with Wikileaks than without it.

Forget Assange and whether you think he's a nice man. Chase the people in positions of trust who continue to abuse their position by covering up their crimes - murdering civilians, fiddling banking systems et al.

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Anonymous Coward

Convict all criminals

That includes Assange.

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Holmes

wait, what?

"the Supreme Court is about to get its first very high-profile test of its decision-making capabilities"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Court_of_the_United_Kingdom

"The Supreme Court was established by Part 3 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and started work on 1 October 2009."

Well I'll be a... flabbergasted something or other. If we have a Supreme Court here in Canada, and we always have as far as I was ever concerned, then I just assumed that you there in the Mother Country would have had one for centuries longer. There, I learned something for the day, good night then!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Court_of_Canada

"The creation of the Court was provided for by the British North America Act, 1867, renamed in 1982 the Constitution Act, 1867. The first bills for the creation of a federal supreme court, introduced in the Parliament of Canada in 1869 and in 1870, were withdrawn. It was not until 8 April 1875, that a bill was finally passed providing for the creation of a Supreme Court of Canada."

"Prior to 1949, however, the Supreme Court did not constitute the court of last resort; litigants could appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London."

We "finally" got ours in 1875, hehe.

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Re: wait, what?

Before the last government created a body called the 'supreme court' ours was the house of Lords, which was often referred to as the highest legal body in the land.

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cd

Why

Help me here, clueless American. Why can't the Swedish cops go there and interview him with local cops? If they decide to arrest him, then the EAW has teeth and might be honored if other legal considerations can be worked out. I'm just curious as a point of law.

Right now there are too many other factors blended in to allow clarity.

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@ cd

>>>Help me here, clueless American. Why can't the Swedish cops go there and interview him with local cops?

This all forms part of our glorious ever closer European Union, that's all working out so well at the moment... The EAW is an alternative to the laborious process of extradition, which requires the prosecution to convince the UK courts that there's sufficient evidence for a trial, and that the trial will be fair. Then the Home Secretary has to sign off on it, so politics can get involved too. This can take a long time.

Therefore the EU came up with the European Arrest Warrant. Police follow their normal national procedures (which can be quite different), and issue an arrest warrant, which with just a bit of extra paperwork can then be served by the police of another EU country. There are safeguards, such as a limited list of crimes that are covered. Also to extradite Assange to a third party, both Sweden and the UK would have to approve, I don't know if this would apply to a second EAW as well.

Assange doesn't technically have legal grounds to appeal in the way he has been. He can obviously challenge the legality of the arrest warrant system as enacted in the UK (making this a test-case). But he doesn't technically have grounds to fight the Swedish EAW through our courts, so long as they've done the right paperwork. So this isn't extradition, in the traditional sense. The Swedes haven't even charged him, and may never do so.

I'm not a particular fan of the EAW. But there is logic behind it. One of the founding principles of the EEC was free movement of goods, capital and peoples. It improves the economy if people are able to freely move between member states, and there need to be mechanisms to deal with that.

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