back to article Leak – UN says Assange detention 'unlawful'

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has found in favour of Julian AssangeTM in a complaint alleging he is suffering "arbitrary detention", a report claimed. The BBC has claimed that the UN panel has found in favour of the WikiLeaks founder, although the official word will not be published until Friday. Assange …

The only person detaining Julian Assange is Julian Assange.

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Anonymous Coward

The UN appears to disagree...

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The UN appears to disagree...

The UN was setup with very lofty ideals and ambitions. Sadly it has descended into farce and now is nothing more than an expensive talking shop rammed to the rafters with tinpot dictators.

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We make our own prisons

I can't help but feel being holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy treats Assange with the indignity he deserves.

The fact that he is a fugitive from justice in Sweden, one of Europe's more liberal jurisdictions scrubs any remaining sympathy I might have for him.

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The UNHCR disagrees. A "Human Rights Commission" currently being chaired by Saudi Arabia. It's beyond parody.

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Pirate

Re: We make our own prisons

*"...The fact that he is a fugitive from justice in Sweden, one of Europe's more liberal jurisdictions..."*

I suspect Mr. Assange would be quite happy to submit himself to Sweden's liberal justice system itself.

It was the likelihood of being subsequently extradited from Sweden to a; kidnapping, torturing, detaining-without-trial, human-rights-abusing, war-mongering, civilian-slaughtering, police state, on the other side of the Atlantic, that he was concerned about.

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Re: We make our own prisons

I have done some further reading on this one. There is other news suggesting that Assange has applied to the "UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention" on the basis that the UK authorities have refused to grant Assange "safe passage" to a hospital for the scan on an injured shoulder.

I can sort of see that just maybe the UN folks might decide that this was a bit unfair ... and I can also see how the UK folks might decide that they shouldn't grant a known fugitive any sort of "safe passage".

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Re: We make our own prisons

The fact that he is a fugitive from justice in Sweden, one of Europe's more liberal jurisdictions scrubs any remaining sympathy I might have for him.

As I understand it he's a fugitive for having sex with a consenting adult who later changed her mind. Which counts as rape in Sweden.

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The UN is full of shit.

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Anonymous Coward

well, I'm sure they DO know VERY WELL about human rights in Saudi Arabia, given their continuous record...

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Re: We make our own prisons

He is a fugitive in the UK for "Failing to attend court on time as required". This cannot really be disputed as apart from anything else the people who payed his bail lost their money. This is a criminal offence for which the maximum sentence in a magistrates' court is three months' imprisonment, or twelve months in the Crown Court.

In respect of the allegations from the women in Sweden there is a fairly concise legal summary at:

http://www.newstatesman.com/david-allen-green/2012/08/legal-myths-about-assange-extradition

a summary of which is that either rightly or wrongly what Assange did would be rape in the UK as well. Personally I think this is rightly, but then I unlike you do not consider Assange a saint, and do consider that women should have some legal rights.

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Re: We make our own prisons

As I understand it he's a fugitive for having sex with a consenting adult who later changed her mind. Which counts as rape in Sweden.

er...no. He's a fugitive for going to bed with someone who said she'd only have sex with him if he wore a condom, waiting until she was asleep and then carrying on without one. Sounds a bit rapey...

In one of his many appeals he didn't argue it didn't happen just that it didn't count. The High Court didn't agree:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20131202164909/http://judiciary.gov.uk/media/judgments/2011/assange-judgment-0211201

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Anonymous Coward

Here is some better informed comment..

The site Head of Legal has a pretty good summary of the details and of the weird interpretation that Assange seems to have given to existing events.

If there is one thing I must give Assange is that he is a bullshitter of a class I have not even seen US politicians and NSA management aspire to. If he wasn't such a walking one man disaster zone to boot he could have been of interest to, say, Google - oh, hang on, they were the ones who ratted him out. Duh.

Anyway, glad to hear that this farce will soon be over. I don't care which specific set of prison bars he ends up behind, but it cannot happen soon enough.

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Re: We make our own prisons

I suspect Mr. Assange would be quite happy to submit himself to Sweden's liberal justice system itself.

It was the likelihood of being subsequently extradited from Sweden to a....

Not this old rubbish again, surely?

The UK has a far less restrictive extradition process for sending people to America than Sweden has. He'd be demonstrably safer there than here: just ask the NatWest Three. Usually, if they ask, you go; The only exception I can think of in an ever growing list is Gary McKinnon.

Hiding in the embassy serves one purpose and one purpose only: To avoid trial for rape and contempt of court. It's nothing to do with America.

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Re: We make our own prisons

I'd believe youexcept Britain also has an extradition treaty with the US and has shown itself even more willing to do thir US master's bidding

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Is that the same Saudi Arabia that the UK helped put in the position of chair via a bit of argy-bargy behind closed doors? That the one?

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Re: We make our own prisons

I still do not understand why Sweden hasn't come out and guaranteed (governmentally, to Ecuador) that Assange will not be extradited anywhere outside Sweden and -- if cleared or after punishment served in Sweden -- would be free to travel from Sweden to Ecuador. At that point the Ecuadorian Embassy could ask him to leave, the UK police could send him to Sweden, Swedish law could take its course, and a huge amount of fuss and expense would have been saved. If he was scared that the UK might send him to the USA rather than Sweden, then a similar guarantee could be issued by our government that he would not be extradited anywhere except to Sweden.

In the meantime he has a little of my sympathy. I don't think that the USA should be allowed to lock him up and throw away the key, which is probably what the US government would do if they ever get their hands on him. His actions don't make a lot of sense if all he has to worry about is jail in Sweden. That's probably little more unpleasant than confinement in a small embassy in London.

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Re: We make our own prisons

Because the Swedish government has no power to offer such a guarantee to Ecuador or anyone else. An extradition request (should one be forthcoming, and should JA reach Sweden) would be dealt with by the independent legal system on its merits - the law (rightly) makes no provision for the Executive to meddle in individual cases.

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Joke

The problem with the UN is that it doesn't always agree with (insert any country* here) then again if we could agree we would not need a UN.

* most likely a super power or a previous one or some facist regime.

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"The UNHCR disagrees. A "Human Rights Commission" currently being chaired by Saudi Arabia. It's beyond parody."

Perhaps the Saudi government could suggest an appropriate way to deal with Julie. Perhaps those who live by the sword.....

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Re: We make our own prisons

"It was the likelihood of being subsequently extradited from Sweden to a; kidnapping, torturing, detaining-without-trial, human-rights-abusing, war-mongering, civilian-slaughtering, police state, on the other side of the Atlantic, that he was concerned about.

The EAW permits extradition only to the country requesting it, they only may deal with him, and cannot send him to the US; if they had not requested an EAW then the UK would have been in the position, had the US requested extradition, where they would be duty bound under Blair's bend-over-for-the-US treaty to release Assange to the tender ministrations of a Bubba in the US.

Accordingly your comments do not meet with reality.

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Anonymous Coward

He's quite rightly paranoid about rendition to the US. Secret flights have happened.

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Re: We make our own prisons

"I still do not understand why Sweden hasn't come out and guaranteed (governmentally, to Ecuador) that Assange will not be extradited anywhere outside Sweden"

No government anywhere would make such a commitment in respect of anyone. Treaties are the devices in which general commitments are made, but never for particular individuals.

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Re: We make our own prisons

"The fact that he is a fugitive from justice in Sweden, one of Europe's more liberal jurisdictions scrubs any remaining sympathy I might have for him."

Yeah, right. The same "liberal" Swedish legal jurisdiction that has a record of participating in illegal CIA renditions, torture and in the operation of black sites:

https://www.hrw.org/news/2006/11/09/sweden-violated-torture-ban-cia-rendition

One suspects that most people who've attempted to whitewash the Swedish legal system here are irritated and offended by Assange's exposes of US and British state crimes and, for these perverse political reasons, would be quite delighted to see Assange vanish into one of Sweden's legal black holes.

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And who ensured they got to chair it?:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/sep/29/uk-and-saudi-arabia-in-secret-deal-over-human-rights-council-place

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Re: We make our own prisons

"Because the Swedish government has no power to offer such a guarantee to Ecuador or anyone else. An extradition request (should one be forthcoming, and should JA reach Sweden) would be dealt with by the independent legal system on its merits - the law (rightly) makes no provision for the Executive to meddle in individual cases."

Are you sure about that? In the case of the UK, extradition request from the USA need to be approved by the Secretary of State. So presumably a guarantee not to entertain such a request can be provided. If Sweden is different, then that is perhaps their own problem. I'm no fan of Assange, but surely it's in everyone's interest that you can't be extradited to one country only to be arbitrarily extradited to a third.

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@sisk Re: We make our own prisons

Kinda sorta... its a bit more than that.

Two women.

Going from memory because this happened ~7 years ago...

Assange engaged in consensual sex. In at least one of the cases, the woman agreed to have sex with him if he wore a condom. Later that night, while in bed, he engaged in sex without a condom. Which wasn't consensual there for rape.

There's more to this... there were actually 3 counts where two of the counts are off the table because Assange out lasted their statute of limitations. So he's down to one count.

The women reportedly wanted to make sure he got tested. And it got worse from there.

The biggest irony... had he not done a runner, this wouldn't have been a big issue and he would have been done with it YEARS ago. Now he's wanted for jumping bail and for the stuff in Sweden.

UN or not... he's not leaving the embassy any time soon.

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Boffin

@ Nigel Re: We make our own prisons

You can't guarantee that he won't be extradited when no extradition request has been submitted.

And no, he will not be free to travel from Sweden to Ecuador while he's still wanted in the UK for jumping bail and he's traveling on an Aussie passport.

Now he'll go to Sweden, face the music. Whatever happens, happens. After that, back to the UK for jumping bail. Again, whatever happens, happens. After that...

Because he's traveling on an Aussie passport, he will be put on a plane and sent back to Australia.

Now... here's where the fun will begin.

The Aussie government could decide to revoke his passport. Which means he can't leave Australia unless he gets an Ecuadorian passport. And after his current stint as a 'house guest' who would never leave, they may or may not want to do it.

Second, if he's been found guilty of a crime in Sweden, countries could bar him from entering their countries. (e.g. certain celebrities are banned from countries due to their drug arrests...) So his future travel would be restricted.

Third, if the US wants him, they could extradite him from Australia and it would be a much easier thing to do than from any other country in the world. (Assange has only himself to thank for that quirk.)

To your post... The US hasn't said that they want him for anything. There hasn't been any formal charges or extradition requests made.

And when has anything Assange done make any sense? Raping women?

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Re: We make our own prisons

That statement is sadly completely incorrect, see http://www.government.se/government-of-sweden/ministry-of-justice/international-judicial-co-operation/questions-and-answers-about-extradition-from-sweden/

"Who takes decisions on extradition from Sweden?

The Government takes decisions on extradition from Sweden."

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Anonymous Coward

He's quite rightly paranoid about rendition to the US. Secret flights have happened.

If they were secret you wouldn't know about them...

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Joke

RE: He's quite rightly paranoid about rendition to the US.

<quote>Secret flights have happened.</quote>

THIS is what he fears most:

He gets on what is supposed to be a chartered flight to Sweeden, and suddenly hears this cockpit announcement:

"Good morning ladies and gentlemen and thank you for flying ConAir.

Today's flight's destination is to one of the more remote spots on the planet - a CIA run blacksite.

Buckle up, you are in for a ride FOR your life."

And I would NOT put it past some ladder climbing member of the intelligence community to have the brass balls to attempt it, and give the gubmint plausible deniability.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We make our own prisons

Come on man, do you really believe the trumped up pedo charges they just happen to come up with after he fled the U.S.?

That's so No Such Agency, it's straight out of a movie.

The important thing to remember here is, even though we were integral in the creation of the U.N. as a means to enforce our Will on the rest of the world, the U.S. gives ZERO fucks about what the U.N. says or tries to "regulate" about our business.

He seems like a smart chap though, so I hope he realizes that if the Fed gets it's hands on Mr. Assange that he will most likely have a massive heart attack a very short time later.

I hope he remains safe, wherever he is.

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"A "Human Rights Commission" currently being chaired by Saudi Arabia. It's beyond parody."

Let's be nice and not pick on Saudi Arabia too much; after all, it also includes noted bastions of freedom such as Qatar, Russia, UAE and Kyrgyzstan ......

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"is that the same Saudi Arabia ....."

ssshhhh .. you weren't supposed to notice ....

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Anonymous Coward

"most likely a super power or a previous one or some facist regime"

I'll see your super power / previous one / fascist regime and raise you Putin two ouf of three .....

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Yes, but why do you cross out Putin or mention him, Russia has indeed a strong "post super power" syndrome.

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"The UN appears to disagree...

Reality frequently fails to bother them.

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Re: We make our own prisons

"It was the likelihood of being subsequently extradited from Sweden to a; kidnapping, torturing, detaining-without-trial, human-rights-abusing, war-mongering, civilian-slaughtering, police state, on the other side of the Atlantic, that he was concerned about.

This is the lie he suckers people with. Sweden cannot under EU law allow Assange to go to the US under any pretext whilst detained under the EAW. The UK, however, could have done so before the EAW was issued; their agreement with the USA, with which Julie is very familiar, means the UK bends over when the US roars, and hands over the suspect almost without question. You may thank Blair for this obscenity.

There is great irony in the fact that Russia, where Snowden is hiding out, has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Chechen people, and some 60+ of its own journalists, has murdered Russian and British citizens overseas, and imprisons people who disagree with the kleptocrat, Putin. Perhaps this escapes you and others who would freely leak defence secrets into Russian, Chinese and terrorist hands.

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WTF?

"If they were secret you wouldn't know about them..."

Oh, goody! By that logic, everything Snowden uncovered must have been public domain, so he's free to return home...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: We make our own prisons

"The fact that he is a fugitive from justice in Sweden, one of Europe's more liberal jurisdictions scrubs any remaining sympathy I might have for him."

As a Swede, I wouldn't put that much stock in Sweden's supposedly liberal justice system. I think you confuse the weirdly lenient sentencing of violent criminals with a generally fair and thoroughly transparent justice system. The latter Sweden does not have.

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Re: We make our own prisons

"trumped up pedo charges"

I wasn't aware that there were any charges, trumped up or not, about feet.

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Re: We make our own prisons

"The UK, however, could have done so before the EAW was issued; their agreement with the USA, with which Julie is very familiar, means the UK bends over when the US roars, and hands over the suspect almost without question."

If he was so concerned with being sent to the US you have to wonder why he came here.

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Regarding the current chair of the UNHCR

THe UNHCR is currently chaired by a Danish bloke with a Canadian Vice Chairperson and an Ethiopian women.

http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e450976.html

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Devil

tinpot dictators... like Cameron?

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Meh

Re: We make our own prisons

thats a surprise, our Gov seems to have no problems meddling with the law

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Julian Assange is smart enough to know that the US is a dirty player and will cook up some reason to rendition him to the US to be made short work of by its corrupt and politicized "judicial" system. He has never been charged, do you understand, never been charged? Having never been charged he has been in arbitrary detention for over 5 years. That is not justice at work, that is the vengeance of a despicable so called superpower on its way to perdition!

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Right and the biggest of those tinpot dictators is the US!

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Mushroom

A completely meaningless ruling

Firstly - the UN WGAD has not authority or juristriction over the UK, or indeed any other country. All they can do is to winge and moan.

Secondly - they have a strange definition of what constitues "detention". Assange (TM) is free to walk out the door of the embassy at any time that he likes - how many prisoners can say that?

Oh, I get it - the fact that the UK courts want to chat with him about little issues such as jumping bail and contempt of court and that Assange (TM) is too afraid to face the music is just too unfair on him.

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Re: A completely meaningless ruling

The fact that Eric Snowden releases exposed the far reach of the NSA, such as spying on Merkel for years or smuggling weapons from Benghazi to Syria, gives us pretty clear understanding that Assange wasn't just paranoid. The treatment of Bradley/Courtney Manning, including debasing 24 hour strip confinement & punitive "suicide" watch only strengthens the argument.

A setup over an exploding condom should have been enough Monty Python for Islanders to appreciate. Sadly you blokes seem to trust government much more than you did in the 70's punk era - guess that's how you ended up carrying Bush's luggage on the way into Iraq. Pretty flat learning curve here.

Assange reasonably assumed these bastards were out to get him, setting him up with groupies and bogus charges, which of course is classic takedown - could have set him up with kiddie porn or if Russian put radioactive tabs in his coffee - makes little difference - discredited is defanged, and the US didn't want any more videos of soldiers killing civilians - My Lai & Abu Ghraib got way too much TV time. But at this point, Assange is as forgotten as Michael "Dude, where's my country" Moore - score another 1 for the military complex.

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Re: A completely meaningless ruling

Sorry, but I think the charges against Assange are rather more than A setup over an exploding condom

I have a healthy distrust of Government but a firm respect for the rule of law.

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