back to article Julian AssangeTM to meet investigators in London

Couch-surfing sex crimes suspect Julian Assange will soon meet with Swedish authorities. In case you came in late, Assange has spent most of the last four years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He's there because Sweden wants a word over an investigation into possible sex crimes, but Assange fears if he sets foot in Sweden …

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Facepalm

Re: He's on Ecuadorian Soil...

The original offence he committed in the UK was skipping bail by fleeing to a foreign country (Ecuador), are you arguing that this isn't the case?

Also, as far as I know, there's no country in the world that thinks that self imprisonment counts as time served. Not the UK, not Sweden, and not Ecuador either.

The irony is that the maximum punishment for failing to attend court (technically it's not breaking your bail conditions that gets you into trouble, it's missing court) is twelve months in a prison which would almost certainly be nicer than living in one room of an embassy.

Oh, and if you're worried about getting extradited to the US more than rape charges then you should stay in Sweden, not run to the UK.

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FAIL

Re: He's on Ecuadorian Soil...

> Assange is not in the EU or the UK, he's on Ecuadorian Soil,

No, he's on UK soil.

The whole "an embassy is foreign soil" is a Hollywood thing, not a real-world thing.

The Vienna convention prevents us from going in without very good cause, but to do so wouldn't be an invasion of foreign soil. The real risk is that failing to respect someone else's embassy would lead to British embassies suffering the same.

> No one has come off well in this, least of which the UK Government. The original offence (if there ever was one) has long been served, by his self imprisonment.

Except it's self-imprisonment so it doesn't actually count. If you're expecting that you'll be convicted of something you can't just hole yourself up somewhere of your choosing and then claim time served, that's just not how it works.

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Re: He's on Ecuadorian Soil...

"[,,,]Assange is not in the EU or the UK, he's on Ecuadorian Soil,

Not so, and this has been covered many times in Assange related debates.

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Re: He's on Ecuadorian Soil...

"He's on Ecuadorian Soil..."

No he is not. Read up on diplomatic privileges and property. It is not Ecuadorian soil.

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Odd. In every police procedural I've ever seen, the cops are forever bimbling all over the place, talking to suspects wherever they happen to be at the time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Bridge/Broen/Bron

Yes. Interestingly enough, there is a paragraph in the Danish Constitution which specifically and unequivocally prohibits the activity of the police of foreign states on Danish soil. Danish politicians (and the public servants) have zero respect for their Constitution, so ignored this when they signed the Schengen agreement, which specifically allows such activities.

So, how can this happen?

Easy, a High Court which considers the sitting government the "will of the people" and which rarely adjudicates on constitutional matters, and in principle when it does, always sides with the government.

People who think that Scandinavia is some sort of ideal society with "rule of law" ensconced in their societies, have never lived here!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: He's on Ecuadorian Soil...

The original offence (if there ever was one) has long been served, by his self imprisonment.

I love that one. So, basically, if I, for some as yet inexplicable reason, feel the need to rob a bank, I can return home afterwards, call it home imprisonment and happily stay at home in lieu of the place where the term 'love handles" doesn't quite have the same meaning?

Honestly, you couldn't make it up..

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Anonymous Coward

"The reasons should be crystal clear - the suspect in a criminal case should not be allowed to decide where and when questions can be asked. "

Reality being what it was, Assange in the embassy and not inclined to leave, the DA has an obligation to bring the investigation forward (not doing so got them a weak wrist-slap a while ago)

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Re: He's on Ecuadorian Soil...

So rape is now (to quote from above) a "minor offence"? Who decided that? And since when has self imprisonment even been a real world thing -- now hiding in a cupboard (ha ha) is a thing, at least an Assange thing

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Bridge/Broen/Bron

People who think that Scandinavia is some sort of ideal society with "rule of law" ensconced in their societies, have never lived here!

Ah. Now I understand the initial attraction for Assange. Thanks for explaining that.

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Happy

Re: The Bridge/Broen/Bron

But not allowed to run with sharp implements?

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"the suspect in a criminal case should not be allowed to decide where and when questions can be asked."

Perhaps, but he is not even a suspect. The Swedes just want to have a friendly chat with him to find out whether he should be.

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Anonymous Coward

Perhaps, but he is not even a suspect.

Sure. Sweden routinely issues European Arrest Warrants to just have casual chats with people that have suddenly bailed from their lovely country after previous loudly hailing it as the place to be. UK police is positively awash with such requests from Sweden and has asked them to be less chatty as they are legally required to follow up on them.

/sarcasm

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, sorry, the place to be turns out to be another country.

Hey, it's Friday :).

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Holmes

Re: He's on Ecuadorian Soil...

> The Vienna convention prevents us from going in without very good cause

Wrong.

Although the VCDR does not use the word "sovereign", it does forbid the receiving State from entering without permission of the sending State's representative, effectively cedng sovereignty over the embassy by the receiving State to the sending State (as the receiving State does not have what is known as "effective control" over the embassy.)

Article 22

1.The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.

2.The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.

3.The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

http://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/9_1_1961.pdf

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Anonymous Coward

>[...] the suspect in a criminal case should not be allowed to decide where and when questions can be asked.

Sweden aside, in the UK, technically they can.

For example, whilst at a police station, you can decline to be interviewed by the Police. Since they're not allowed to drag you to the interrogation room, they have to bring the room to you. (Translation, they have to go find a tape recorder and batteries.)

If they can't be bothered to do that, they let you go. (They might caution/warn you - which again, you can refuse - though it'll become a CPS matter then.)

Adverse inference doesn't apply in this case since they never bothered to question you to begin with. (R. vs. Hind (2005))

Learning things about law is fun, and knowledge is power.

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Assange, the Anti-Snowden

Self-imposed exile for a sense of grandeur. The only thing worse for Assange than extradition world be not to be extradited.

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From the article...

Assange has long argued that Swedish police should just hop on a plane, endure the horrors of Heathrow and drop in for a congenial chat over a cup of tea. The reasons why that hasn't happened are unclear. But there have been some diplomatic chats between Sweden and Ecuador about the idea.

Perhaps the Swedes wanted to have some industrial - strength air freshener with them just in case, and the Ecuadorians weren't too keen on the idea.

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Re: From the article...

"Perhaps the Swedes wanted to have some industrial - strength air freshener with them just in case, and the Ecuadorians weren't too keen on the idea."

No. Their legislation had to be amended to facilitate this but, in any case, he fled Swedish jurisdiction to a jurisdiction more likely to extradite to the US, having once said he intended to settle in Sweden. Moreover, the alleged offence was in their jurisdiction, he fled on finding out the Swedish CJS was about to follow procedure and 1) interview, 2) charge, 3) arrest him. His counsel claimed he'd not been in touch with him, but then coughed up to it in a British court, whereat his (Assange's counsel's) professional association said they intended to interview him.

This has been discussed so many times in these debates, why don't you search it out.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: From the article...

Perhaps the Swedes wanted to have some industrial - strength air freshener with them just in case, and the Ecuadorians weren't too keen on the idea.

It could just be soap - Assange's aversion to the stuff appears to be well documented. That said, you could be right. Air fresheners could be problematic in that context too.

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Re: From the article...

No. Their legislation had to be amended to facilitate this

I suspect you quoted the wrong part, unless you have found any new legislation covering air fresheners in which case I want a link :-).

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Anonymous Coward

The inevitable "Assange is innocent" and "US conspiracy" thread

I would appreciate it if you would be so kind to put all the "Assange is innocent" and "it's all a US conspiracy" posts here so I can skip them as one thread.

I *know* they will show up sooner or later, so I thought I save everyone a bit of time :)

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Does this count?

Nobody except Julian Assange and the alleged victims know whether he did it or not.

However, there are parts of the whole affair which at least suggest some serious shonkiness/shenanigans on the part of the Swedish authorities in building this case:

It was stated that the second alleged victim only complained after discovering he had sex with the first alleged victim - this of course doesn't mean she's lying, but is something that would gladden the heart of his defence lawyer if it ever gets that far.

The Swedish prosecutor originally decided that the case was not worth pursuing and let him go (resulting in him ending up in the UK) - but was then overruled by a superior. Again, this could be a valid move but it's where I started thinking something stank.

(2 minutes with Google finds all this, I didn't link the news stories because they explicitly name the women involved, which El Reg might not permit in the comments.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does this count?

".... but was then overruled by a superior."

Who herself is an outspoken feminist activist "on the side". Not exactly an impartial copper.

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Re: Does this count?

Actually, you will only have found whatever has been speculated. What seems to have been missed by all and sundry (for, against and neutral) is that the story of the women has not yet been told in a court of law.

The only party that has been relentlessly in the press is Assange, and methinks he doth protests too much for there not to be another, as yet untold angle to this.

There is a reason that Assange seems to be more frightened of his previous beloved Sweden than even the UK legal system, and we all know that the BS about fear of extradition to the US is just that, BS, because that was a LOT easier in the UK.

In all the gigabytes spoken, speculated and argued about this, the actual story from the two women themselves has not been heard. Not because it was drowned, but because it has as yet not been told, at all.

It may pay to keep that in mind.

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Re: Does this count?

"the actual story from the two women themselves has not been heard"

Well, it has, and there are tweets from the about such a lovely and amazing guy he is. They were merely a bit disappointed about the condom thing, but they didn't want to prosecute. That was entirely the decision of the authorities.

Since it doesn't align with the official story it is quite naturally being downplayed, but you will find it with a bit of Google karma.

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Alert

British Soil

What if the Ecuadorians were to temporarily suspended their Embassy in London and moved their operation to a friendly country's consulate, leaving Assange alone in the building which would no longer be Ecuadorian soil? The coast is then clear for the Met to serve that warrant.

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Re: British Soil

This would have the same practical effect as (and would probably be seen as equivalent to) him speedily exiting the embassy's street door with the ambassador's heel print on his buttocks.

It's probably not the image the Ecuadoreans want to go for.

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Headmaster

Re: British Soil

It isn't and never has been Ecuadorian soil - it merely has protected status under diplomatic law, which the UK Govmt is obliged to protect, and under which it is only allowed to enter with permission from the ambassador

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Devil

Re: British Soil

I think we all know that it is British Soil and only diplomatically Ecudorian, but it is a common usage even if not true and so should perhaps be ignored when some person inists on using it. Afterall the effect is similar.

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Re: British Soil

Under the VCDR section 22 subsection 1 the Head of Mission can allow anyone from the Receiving State in anytime he or she pleases.

Or not. The receiving State has no rights under the VCDR. The sending State holds all the cards, unless the receiving State (the UK) breaks diplomatic relations with the sending State (Ecuador.)

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Anonymous Coward

What this is sadly lacking is a new direction and then a 70's style film to document it.

Assange: Escape 2016!

Doctor goes to the embassy and says "We can rebuild your face!" and does so with a striking similarity to Telly Savalas. Assange escapes in a tumultuous bicycle chase through old London and almost gets caught due to strikes on Southern, the Eurotunnel and confusion as to whether his passport is still valid due to Brexit. We next see Assange on a beach in an unknown country but it hasn't ended there, as an epilogue six months later Assange is caught in a Finish brothel with 3 women, 2 men and a donkey, he is then deported to America. The End.

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I'll pay to watch that film! hehe

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Joke

To be fair, the donkey was only there because of confusion over a request for "a piece of ass".

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Trollface

To be fair, the donkey was only there because of confusion over a request for "a piece of ass".

Then wouldn't it be just "part of a donkey" and not the whole thing?

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Devil

Ejection opportunity?

Maybe they've decided the easiest way to deal with Assange(tm) is to have a "chat" with him on the balcony, and throw him off so he's no longer on diplomatic property and the police can then pick him up?

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Imagined conversation

"Oh, wait...you're *Julian* Assange. Sorry, our mistake - we're after *Jimmy* Assange. If only you'd spoken to us sooner we would have realised and stopped trying to bother you...."

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Re: Imagined conversation

I know what you mean - surely this is now a no-win for Assange: either they chat and walk away saying "no case to answer" or they go home and put out another arrest warrant.

If there's no reason to remain in the Embassy, what is he gonna do?

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Re: Imagined conversation

There is still a reason for him to remain in the Embassy I think - as soon as he steps through the door, the UK authorities want to arrest him for bail violation (and I expect that some of his (probably now ex-)friends who put up bail money will be wanting a chat as well)

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Joke

Re: Imagined conversation

Call Ghostbusters!

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I am annoyed

They waited until the betting markets on his method of leaving the embassy were closed.

I was tempted by 250:1 on the Batmobile.

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He's not been charged with anything. They just want to question him.

Is there any good reason they couldn't have simply questioned him on Skype at any time in the last few years if they really wanted to?

Assange is a prize plonker with an ego the size of a small planet - but his present circumstances are just suspiciously convenient.

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Anonymous Coward

the Swedish authorities were required to interview in accordance with Swedish law, not Skype law or whatever jurisdiction Mr Assange thinks should apply. He's skipped bail in the UK, and is wanted for extradition to Sweden - and any "self imposed" time as an Ecuadorian guest is entirely that - self imposed, and irrelevant in terms of any offences he may have committed.

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Apparently, in Sweden, the interview is, or was, the precursor, to the arrest/charge stage.

I've never understood the 'they only want to interview him, so why don't they come over and do it' line of reasoning - if there was to be no subsequent arrest/charge, then he had no reason to flee Sweden in the first place to avoid the interview.

There is nothing suspiciously convenient about the circumstances - they're just the signs of a paranoid egotist.

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"He's not been charged with anything. They just want to question him."

As has been repeatedly said, the Swedish procedure (and this is what the Swedish police had intended to do) is to 1) interview, 2) charge, 3) arrest. Strangely, after they had informed Assange's legal counsel of this he disappeared, whack-a-mole style, and he reappeared in the UK. His lawyer, in a British court resiled from his earlier claim that he'd not been in touch with him, because his mobile phone records showed that he had. This led the legal counsel's professional association to say they wanted to interview him. Shady bunch the lot of them. Anyhow, consistent with his absconding from Sweden, he broke bail and reappeared in the Ecuadorian embassy.

As far as skype is concerned, no; one of the most important things in interviewing a suspect is non verbal behaviour. It informs the interrogators and facilitates pursuit of evidence. There is a lot more than this, apart from the fact that Skype is out of jurisdiction. It sets a legal precedent which no one should do. For obvious reasons that I am sure I do not need to spell out, though I could point out the Ronnie Biggs scenario, and many others too.

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Anonymous Coward

" ... they're just the signs of a paranoid egotist."

You have obviously never lived in Sweden. Paranoia is such matters is a pre-requisite when it comes to accusations of an "offence" against a woman ... unless of course you are an immigrant of a different colour and religion, in which case the most violent rape imaginable is perfectly acceptable and will not result in deportation (go google this if you don't believe it).

Sweden is seriously fucked up. Trust me on this.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Julian AssangeTM to meet investigators in London

To the thumbs downer.

a) I live here

b) https://shariaunveiled.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/sweden-muslim-immigrant-rapes-then-pours-lighter-fluid-over-a-swedish-girl-judge-allows-rapist-to-remain-in-sweden/

Couldn't be arsed to find a better reference, but it's all over the net and the court case was in the public domain.

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"apart from the fact that Skype is out of jurisdiction."

Not to mention that all Skype calls go via the US based MS servers these days, it's not peer to peer any more. The Swedes may not want official police interviews transiting the US "live" and I'm pretty sure Assange doesn't want that either.

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"the Swedish authorities were required to interview in accordance with Swedish law"

Swedish law is silent on where and how such an interview should take place, so that is not a reason for refusing an interview via Skype or other means.

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Anonymous Coward

"As has been repeatedly said, the Swedish procedure (and this is what the Swedish police had intended to do) is to 1) interview, 2) charge, 3) arrest. "

They did (1) while he was in Sweden and found that they didn't had a case and let him go.

Somebody further up didn't like it for political reasons and wanted to do (1) again. Why?

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