back to article Assange™ to SQUAT in Ecuadorian broom closet for ANOTHER FIVE YEARS (maybe)

Julian Assange can set his alarm clock to wake him up in roughly five years' time, when he will be able to walk out of the Ecuadorian Embassy a free man – well, once he settles the matter of breaching his bail conditions with Scotland Yard, that is. The reason? As spotted by lawyer David Allen Green, Swedish law of limitation …

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  1. NoneSuch

    "he will be able to walk out of the Ecuadorian Embassy a free man – well, once he settles the matter of breaching his bail conditions with Scotland Yard, that is."

    There is the rub. He can't walk out scot-free. Well Scotland Yard free anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not a chance

      He's stuck, and it's a situation of his own making. Failing to answer bail might get him 12 months in the slammer. If they consider him to be in contempt of court, that might be 2 years. Either way he's practically guaranteed a custodial sentence, and every day that's passed since has made that even more certain.

      If there's one thing a British judge really, really hates it is a defendent taking the piss, especially to this extent.

      I wonder if there's a certain amount of pride in play here. If he leaves the embassy and ends up in either a UK (highly likely) or Swedish (arguably less probable) jail and the US fails to show any interest whatsoever in seeking his extradition (practically guaranteed), he is going to look a bit silly...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not a chance

        US fails to show interest? Yes, maybe you mean apart from the Grand Jury in Virginia which has been investigating Wikileaks under treason statutes for several years?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not a chance

          US fails to show interest? Yes, maybe you mean apart from the Grand Jury in Virginia which has been investigating Wikileaks under treason statutes for several years?

          1 - Wikileaks <> Assange

          2 - as yet no arrest warrant, also because of (1).

          3 - wasn't that dropped? If not, see (2)

          1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
            Boffin

            @AC Re: Not a chance

            The GJ met and I think they delivered a sealed decision which to the best of my knowledge has never been opened.

            As to potential charges?

            Sure. But with 2016 coming up... do you think that the US will act?

            Then you have another consideration. The US can wait him out.

            The potential charges he could face... would be much longer that he'd care to spend in the Embassy and even if the US plans to do nothing... would Assange call their bluff?

            In truth... there is a reason for Assange to be scared. If the data alleged in Manning's Article 32 hearing... that he assisted in the theft... is true, then he's toast. Note that Manning plead guilty to those charges so this evidence was never questioned during his court martial. (There may be a good reason why Boise, his lawyer plead guilty and avoided this evidence coming up...)

            So we will have to wait to see.

            Remember that Assange is scared S_it less of the US so there has to be something behind his paranoia. Or you can believe that he's totally twigged out and there is no reason for the US to want Assange. (Remember the printing of the docs has some legal coverage... at least enough to not make it worth the US's while to go after him. )

            With respect to the UK... once the issue for the warrant goes away, and Sweden drops the EAW, Assange then has to face the jumping bail. If the UK just tosses him on a plane to Australia, that should scare Assange more than if they kept him in UK jail for a year or two. ;-)

            1. SolidSquid

              Re: @AC Not a chance

              Or he's not actually worried about the US and he's using it to drum up support for him skipping bail and dodging out of Sweden when he (or his lawyer anyway) knew there were additional charges they wanted to question him over. Ecuador is only protecting him because (publicly at least) they've said the prosecutions in Sweden were political in nature and intended as a way to get him in custody then extradite him. If the US dropped any charges against him then it would be much more difficult to spin the Swedish charges as politically motivated, meaning he might lose their protections.

    2. LucreLout Silver badge

      There is the rub. He can't walk out scot-free. Well Scotland Yard free anyway.

      Having ducked the rape investigation, he'll never be free. Men who have not raped women rarely refuse to talk to the police by hiding in an embassy for a decade. Julian needs to come out and be interviewed, or answer questions through some other means. I'll always regard his failure to do so as a sign of guilt.

      Enjoy the couch Julian, but don't ever get to thinking you'll be free. You'll never be free of this now, and that is very much your own doing.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    In abstentia?

    I wonder why the prosecutors haven't gone the Swedish version of the Supreme Court to get a ruling. This case isn't the norm but it could be a precedent of commit a crime (alleged), seek asylum, and wait for the statute of limitations to run out. We've had cases here in the States where time has run out but the suspect wasn't in an embassy in asylum, either.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      Re: In abstentia?

      From what has been discussed when Assange did a runner from Sweden, their law doesn't allow for someone to be charged in Abstentia.

      Otherwise she would have done it.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge

    Reality sets in

    Sweden's cases against our hero have fallen apart. The accuser can't tell the same story twice (too lazy to provide links). They are embarrassed and would rather the whole issue fade away. It was never their battle? correct?

    1. DavidJB

      Re: Reality sets in

      Correct. The case concerns criminal charges, not a civil suit, so it is for the state prosecutor, not the alleged victims, to decide whether to pursue it. I presume that is what you meant?

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Reality sets in

      If by hero you mean narssastic self agrandising twat - then yes you are correct.

      Still hopefully he'll do stir for bail jumping or one of the dupes who paid his bail will sue him in to bankruptcy.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh, do go and read Green's post...

      The prosecutor has requested to interview Assange within the embassy but the proposed date in June was scuppered by Ecuadorian stalling:

      http://www.thelocal.se/20150618/swedish-prosecutor-cancels-assange-meeting

      and now Ecuador is apparently demanding that the Swedish prosecutor grants Assange asylum status upfront, which is literally something they cannot do (Swedish justice ministry is also unable to get cats down from trees or arrange for the Ecuadorian Embassy's rubbish collection to happen on a different day of the week):

      http://www.thelocal.se/20150807/sweden-hits-out-at-illegal-ecuador-demands

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reality sets in

      Well, if it's so clear that the charges are baseless, the simplest way forward is for him to go to Sweden and stand trial, knowing that the prosecution will fail. After all Sweden is one of the fairest countries on earth.

      It's really weird observing his self-inflicted imprisonment when it would be much faster to just go to trial...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reality sets in

        It's really weird observing his self-inflicted imprisonment when it would be much faster to just go to trial...

        5 minute interview, a small fine and possible negative publicity for sharing STDs via unprotected sex versus years of press coverage? No contest for an egocentric idiot.

      2. Anakin
        Boffin

        Re: Reality sets in

        "Sweden is one of the fairest countries on earth"

        On paper yes.

        In reality?

        No

        Our laws prevent us to deport pepole to countrys where they risk getting torured.

        So what do we do?

        We let CIA land a plane and assist them

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repatriation_of_Ahmed_Agiza_and_Muhammad_al-Zery

        There is more storys like that and even more not confirmed.

        There is a reson why the prosecutors waited so long and and demand things any ebassy would decline.

        The case would fall a part in atoms if Assange would stand trail and USA would extract him the same second he set foot at swedish soil.

        And after the eyptian, no goverment can afford that.

        In this game Sweden is just a hand doll with US of A's arm deep up in the colon

        So they let Assange get to the embassy and wait until the bomb disarm it self

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Reality sets in

          @Aanakin

          The case would fall a part in atoms if Assange would stand trail and USA would extract him the same second he set foot at swedish soil.

          Ok, but can you just please take a moment to explain why that wasn't more of a risk in the UK?

          The way I see it the risks were at best identical, and at worst manifestly more likely to be extradited from the UK to the US.

          1. Anakin

            Re: Reality sets in

            Assange was allready in UK after he got premission to leave Sweden when the case was thrown in the bin the first time it was up.

            And of some very strange reasons the case was up again after he had leaved the country

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reality sets in

      Sweden's cases against our hero

      Kindly speak for yourself. The kind of people that can herald such a low moral standard of behaviour as heroic either work in politics or Wall Street - he's most certainly not my hero.

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. x 7 Silver badge

    that embassy must be getting very smelly by now

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      Yeah, but imagine the stench five years from now.

  5. James 100

    Statute of limitations

    I can understand the logic behind having a limit, for less serious charges - a long delay could make it difficult to mount an effective defence against charges, making it unfair - but I don't think that timer should tick while the suspect's aware of the charges and "on the run", as in this case. It's not as if he's unaware of the charges, or unable to defend himself in court, so why should the limit apply?

    The idea it's all a plot to get him to the US (because of course Sweden is closer to the US than the UK is?!) doesn't hold much water - so why not go to Sweden and beat the charges, if they're so baseless? Going on the run just makes him look guilty.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Statute of limitations

      He's only "on the run" to the extent that a sovereign state has granted him political asylum... And the arguments in favour of a statute of limitations don't diminish based on that. In any case, the Swedes chose to wait and wait against all sensible reason (they have 'questioned' 44 suspects in the UK since Assange took asylum in London), and any sensible criminal defence lawyer would be advising Assange to wait out the statute of limitations for the next week - regardless of guilt or innocence or legitimacy or otherwise of the allegations. If anybody really thinks he has not been politically stitched up, due to his (imho good/public interest) wikileaks, they are naive beyond repair.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Statute of limitations

        "Assange took asylum in London"

        No, he's taken asylum in Ecuador.

        1. JetSetJim Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Statute of limitations

          ""Assange took asylum in London"

          No, he's taken asylum in Ecuador."

          No, the embassy is not in Ecuador, it's in London. Just because the embassy is there, doesn't make it Ecuadoran sovereign territory.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Statute of limitations

            "No, the embassy is not in Ecuador, it's in London. Just because the embassy is there, doesn't make it Ecuadoran sovereign territory."

            No, the embassy is in the sovereign state of Ecuador. Just because it's on UK sovereign territory doesn't make it not part of a different sovereign state.

            The embassy is in the embassy building, is in the sovereign state of Ecuador, in London, on UK sovereign territory.

            I accept your angry rejoinder that "Ecuador" means at least 2 quite different things. A state, and the territory of that state.

            1. x 7 Silver badge

              Re: Statute of limitations

              "No, the embassy is in the sovereign state of Ecuador."

              Incorrect. The Embassy is on UK territory and is subject to UK law. However historic conventions mean that those laws are not applied. Legally there is nothing to stop the UK authorities from entering and arrresting Assange. However that is unlikely to happen for fear of setting a precedent which would be used by others against us. No-one wants the Koreans / Iranians / Saudis / Africans to think they have a legal right of entry at any time to western embassys

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Statute of limitations

                This part of the Sovereign State of Equador is on the Sovereign Territory of the UK. It's a situation protected by historic conventions enshrined in UK law.

                That isn't so hard for most people to understand.

            2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Statute of limitations

              Check your Vienna Conventions. They are quite clear that embassies are not sovereign territory.

              However, the hosting state makes an agreement not to enter diplomatic premises without the prior consent of the ambassador, or their government.

              There are then rules that say that no embassy is allowed to be used for activities incompatible with that diplomatic status, such as spying, criminiality and the like.

              However, there's no enforcement mechanism for either. Or even a proper means of arbitration. Which is a problem with international law generally. So how do resolve disputes? Generally negotiation. So we let the Libyans off with murdering a British police officer - because to do otherwise was too damaging to vital tools of international diplomacy. We did however kick their entire embassy out of the country afterwards. Sending the police in might have led to some poor UK ambassador not being able to face down an attempt to force entry to a British embassy in the future. For the same reason, nothing was done about Assange, even though we don't recognise a right of sanctuary in embassies - something that is common in South America, but not recognised by the international conventions. In South America it means the government can get out alive during military coups, if they can reach an embassy.

              However, it is true that Ferroro Rocher are compulsory at all ambassadorial receptions...

  6. Bleu

    A remarkably stupid article

    including the gratuitous, incorrect, and dishonest use of 'rape'.

    The British press, in recent days, has reported that Swedish authorities recently managed to interview 44 people In the UK.

    The only one they somehow couldn't get around to interviewing was Mr. Assange, although he and his legal people have been asking for just that since before he jumped bail and was granted asylum, and seem to have spent considerable time trying to arrange it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A remarkably stupid article

      The only one they somehow couldn't get around to interviewing was Mr. Assange,

      Well, lets be honest, this has become really embarrassing for Sweden, the UK, and Ecuador. None of these countries want this pantomime to continue.

      But as far as I can tell, the case against Assange had nothing to do with crime or these countries, and everything to do with Assange's association with Wikileaks, and the fact that he is thus "guilty" of embarrassing a fading colonial power. Fading certainly, but still able to get the UK and Sweden to jump at their command. So it will go on until either Assange is dead, or the miserable bureaucrats of the US give up. In my experience of miserable bureaucracies, they'll outlast Julian, because their lifeblood is the inexhaustible well of taxpayer funded unicorn blood.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A remarkably stupid article

        But as far as I can tell, the case against Assange had nothing to do with crime

        Yes it has. Two, actually. Rape and jumping bail. Both charges were confirmed by the UK legal system, one by taking it through all courts to ensure the UK definition matched the Swedish one, and the other is quite simply a clear fact.

        So it will go on until either Assange is dead, or the miserable bureaucrats of the US give up

        The former may come about if he ODs on Ferrero Rocher, the latter involvement is a persistent ego-stroking myth that has as yet failed to be confirmed by any evidence whatsoever.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A remarkably stupid article

        Including the gratuitous, incorrect, and dishonest use of 'rape'.

        You're right. That was only proven to be an acceptable equivalent under English law by the highest court in the country, so it's evidently (if you pardon the pun) a poor choice of words.

        Would "generously sharing some possible STDs without consent" work better for you?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Ilmarinen
    Unhappy

    Yes, he's a bit of a knob..

    ...but so are you in writing a prat-ish article like this. And so is whoever did the sub-headline (count the fingers in the pic).

    And let's not forget that, knob or no, he's exposed some rather unsavory doings by Uncle Sam and others, for which they will be rather upset and not adverse to all kind of dirty tricks...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes, he's a bit of a knob..

      Yes, I agree with this. My all time least favourite thing about El Reg is its totally unneceesarily hostile attitude to Assange. Yes, he's a bit odd, and a bit excentric (paranoid? no!), but he does deserve some respect for his public interest leaks, not this cheap pro-establisment tabloid slander that he gets here. He has disclosed some amazing things, showing how truly corrupt our 'leaders' are (David Miliband actively plotting to mislead parliament about USA storage of cluster bombs on UK soil!, among many many others), so he deserves people's support not establishment lackeys spouting crap.

      Then again, with disclosures by Snowden about GCHQ 'psy-ops' in domestic media/online, maybe it really is just lackeys here spouting that shit... at taxpayers' expense. At least the article writers should try to be more objective.

      1. Ilmarinen
        IT Angle

        "just lackeys" ?

        Thinking aloud - could robot lackeys pass the Turing Test?

        Anyone?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "just lackeys" ?

          I think if you re-purposed Siri/Cortana/Google Now, to deal with a narrower range of topics, and knowing how daft online comments can be at the best of times, probably yes. I think it's quite easy spotting pro-Israel and pro-Russia 'lackeys' on some UK media article comments.

          Alternatively, GCHQ, MI5, MI6 and SO15 apparently employ over 50,000 people between them, I'm sure some of those humans could 'influence' online nelow the line media discourse easily enough, which is quite creepy really....

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "just lackeys" ?

          Thinking aloud - could robot lackeys pass the Turing Test?

          Anyone?

          I can.

          1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

            News flash Imarinen & AC's Asshat <> Wikileaks.

            Just because wikileaks has occasionally done a few public services doesn't mean that an alledgedly Daley sleaze bag shouldn't face justice.

            Perhaps then wikileaks could actually get back to supporting whistleblowers rather than being one man's PR company.

            Whilst we're on the subject have they actually given that collection to Chelsea yet?

            1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

              Daley=rapey stupid autocorrect.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes, he's a bit of a knob..

        My all time least favourite thing about El Reg is its totally unneceesarily hostile attitude to Assange

        Well, let's just say that some of us see through all the BS, and thus agree with El Reg's apparent opinion of Mr Assange-is-not-a-trademark.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes, he's a bit of a knob..

        Then again, with disclosures by Snowden about GCHQ 'psy-ops' in domestic media/online, maybe it really is just lackeys here spouting that shit... at taxpayers' expense. At least the article writers should try to be more objective.

        Ah, but that's the problem. If you stick strictly by process and proven facts you do end up with an idiot abusing asylum to hide from due process, and by the look of it he's now even getting away with it. This must be great news for other rapists, but may lead to an expansion of the Ecuadorian embassy.

  8. aberglas

    If you were Assange

    And had the balls to tell the world what was going on, would you risk your life by coming out?

    A US solitary confinement cell for life is worse than death. Nothing like a Swedish or English Jail. He has plenty to be afraid of.

    It has clearly always been the Swedes who have been delaying. Now the UK is putting pressure on them for the cost of policing the embassy. That is what it is about, nothing to do with statutes of limitations.

    The sexual case against Assange is weak at best, with "Victims" having dinner with him the next day. Remember Assange was allowed to leave Sweden. And a few weeks in an English jail over bail issues will not worry him.

    Assange's real danger is that the charges are dropped, bail issues dealt with, and THEN the US applies to extradite him from their friends the UK.

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: If you were Assange

      Suppose you were, and wait out the Swedish statute of limitations. What then? The British charges related to the bail jumping still will be pending, so leaving the Ecuador embassy would be risky. I haven't looked, but suspect there is no statute of limitations for any plausible US charges., so they would not be brought until you are out of the embassy and in UK custody. At that point, pending US charges could be used as a basis to request extradition, and given the relation between the US and UK it might well be granted.

      Has Mr. Assange elected a life term, or perhaps permanent semiretirement, in Ecuador's London embassy?

      On the other hand, five more years on, the US might no longer care enough to press charges (even if they really do now), and you could look more than a bit of a fool for not going back to Sweden and facing the charges there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If you were Assange

        What I'm finding hard to understand is the rape charges not being taken seriously by supporters of Assange, just because of the good work he did with wikileaks.

        No matter what good stuff a person has done, _if_ they commit a crime they need to face the punishment for that crime. And rape is a _serious_ crime.

        1. Oliver Mayes

          Re: If you were Assange

          If the woman regrets sex the morning after, it's not rape.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If you were Assange

          'What I'm finding hard to understand is the rape charges not being taken seriously by supporters of Assange, just because of the good work he did with wikileaks.'

          Yep,

          Jimmy Saville did an enormous amount of good works........

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Saville (Re: If you were Assange)

            Actually, the case against Saville seems to be extremely weak when you do a bit of fact checking.

            Try reading the reports on those recent hospital inquiries for example - you'll find that nothing was discovered apart from allegations, some of them demonstrably false. That and calling anyone who made an accusation, however implausible, a "victim".

            From what I've seen, the worst that happened seems to be a video where he appears to have pinched the bum of some teenager on TOTP. But it's made the lawyers a lot of money, and hysteria always sells news coverage.

            Have a look at Anna Roccoon blog for chapter and verse detail.

            (Annon, because I don't want to be labelled as a witch in this moral panic witch hunt)

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