back to article London flatmate (Julian Assange) sues landlord (government of Ecuador) in human rights spat

Housemate from hell Julian Assange is taking his landlord, the government of Ecuador, to court to stop its officials from, allegedly, running roughshod over his human rights. The WikiLeaks supremo is fed up with being essentially held in near-solitary confinement in an Ecuadorian embassy broom cupboard in London, England. In …

  1. Irongut

    Re: Lets Get Real @SkippyBing Silver badge

    Repeat after me, London is not part of Sweden or the USA.

    So the Embassies being foreign soil or not makes no difference.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Lets Get Real

    How do his circumstances differ from any other person in hiding from the law? Do supporters of his claims believe that all escaped convicts / bail dodgers who are holed up somewhere should be able to count this against their sentences? Or is his extradition paranoia somehow related to this privilege?

  3. Jove Bronze badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    Perhaps the allegations were fabricated, but then is that not the case in many rape claims?

    It is even becoming the norm within higher circles to use such claims to try and damage public figures - the most recent instance being the latest appointment to the USA Supreme Court.

  4. Jove Bronze badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    Possibly, but he will come under UK Law if he leaves the Embassy without Ecuadorian Diplomatic protection.

  5. DavCrav Silver badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    "The UK doesn't have a statute of limitations as such. If a case is started and the defendant pisses off, all proceedings and clocks are stopped until the defendant is apprehended or presents him/herself back at court. No time limits."

    The UK does not have a statute of limitations for most criminal offences, although it does for minor offences like speeding. (This was in the news because I think it was Beckham got off because the letter wasn't delivered within the 14 day period. It was delivered to Aston Martin, where his car was registered, and the company that makes its money from keeping the rich sweet absolutely did not lie through their teeth and say it arrived fifteen days later. It definitely took a week from posting for the letter to arrive, and miraculously just for a rich guy.

  6. DavCrav Silver badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    "Possibly, but he will come under UK Law if he leaves the Embassy without Ecuadorian Diplomatic protection."

    He is still under UK law. The Vienna Convention treats embassies as inviolable, but they are not foreign territory. And he won't get diplomatic protection, as the host country needs to approve the application. Amazingly, the UK Government believes that a fugitive on the run from the UK court system is not of sufficiently good standing to become a diplomat.

  7. anothercynic Silver badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    Skipping bail and a warrant out for the arrest of the perpetrator does not fall under a statute of limitations...

  8. anothercynic Silver badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    This is not about rape allegations anymore. It is about breaching bail conditions.

  9. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    "A lot of fingers will be lifted, to be dampened by the condensation on the glass, then the now half empty pint glass is returned to the table. But nothing more than that. Although maybe a burp."

    A fixing of sorts

  10. Mike 137

    Re: Lets Get Real

    "... 6 months at Her Majesty's Pleasure ..."

    There's actually no such thing. Six months is six months. "At Her Majesty's pleasure" would mean "for an indefinite time, until the Monarch decides to release you" - and it's fortunately not been available as a sentence for ages - the last time it was used it would have been "At His Majesty's pleasure".

  11. JimC Silver badge

    Re: Lets Get Real/Americas Cup

    I doubt it: the noise, space, dust, mess and everything else associated with such work would make St Julian seem like a pleasant house guest. But yes, there have been all sorts of shenanigans in the past about nationality restrictions.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Lets Get Real

    The Saudi embassy in Istanbul might take him in?

  13. wallaby Bronze badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    "The UK does not have a statute of limitations for most criminal offences, although it does for minor offences like speeding."

    Speeding does not constitute a criminal offence in UK law. The non payment of fines resulting from the offence can

  14. SkippyBing Silver badge

    Re: Lets Get Real @SkippyBing Silver badge

    'Repeat after me, London is not part of Sweden or the USA.

    So the Embassies being foreign soil or not makes no difference.'

    The fact he's wanted in the UK for skipping bail definitely comes into it though, and London is definitely part of that.

  15. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    Perhaps the allegations were fabricated, but then is that not the case in many rape claims?

    No.

    Next time, actually bother to find out whether the thing you are typing is true or not before hitting that 'post' button.

    The evidence suggests that the vast majority of rape/serious sexual assault claims by women against men are true. To claim otherwise is basically blaming the victims. The thing is, human beings (en masse) are a nasty lot, and do all sorts of nasty things to each other. Men are far more likely to do more and nastier things than women (that is not to say that women can't be violent criminals, but on balance, most of those are male). Many rapists commit their crimes knowing full well that there will be little evidence to prove that what they did was not consensual, and that it will be hard to prove a case against them. Bear in mind that most rapes are not the violent dragged-off-into-the-bushes kind, but happen when men take advantage of someone they know, often when under the influence of drink or drugs, in a private situation. You (probably) are not a rapist yourself, so wouldn't believe the sheer number of women this happens to. The odds are that several women you know have been raped, and you know nothing about it.

    Anyway, rant over. Short answer:

    No. You are wrong.

  16. DavCrav Silver badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    "Speeding does not constitute a criminal offence in UK law. The non payment of fines resulting from the offence can"

    Speeding is a criminal offence in UK law, unless you take the Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) conditional offer. If you claim not to have received the conditional offer, it all gets a bit murky.

  17. Jove Bronze badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    Under the convention, Embassy officials are granted immunity, and are obliged to observe local laws but there are practical means of enforcing the law on those officials without the consent of the guest nation, other than to make an official unwelcome and to require then to leave.

  18. Jove Bronze badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    Sorry, but you are misinformed; many rape allegations are demonstrated to be false. Furthermore, such allegations are being used to destroy reputations. Engage with reality.

  19. DavCrav Silver badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    "Sorry, but you are misinformed; many rape allegations are demonstrated to be false. Furthermore, such allegations are being used to destroy reputations. Engage with reality."

    OK, there are a number of categories you can put rape allegations into:

    1) Proved true. The definition here is a secured conviction of rape (we'll worry about miscarriages of justice some other time). Very few rape allegations fall into this category due to the burden of proof.

    2) Proved false. The definition here is a secured conviction perverting the course of justice or making a false complaint (we'll worry about miscarriages of justice some other time). Very few rape allegations fall into this category due to the burden of proof.

    3) Not proved true but it sounds likely. This category is subjective and fairly big, actually. For example, most people listening to the Kavanaugh hearing should come away thinking he's lying and she's at least mostly telling the truth. I'd stick the allegations against him in the 'credible but not proved' category.

    4) Not proved false but it sounds likely. All of the accusations by 'Nick' in the UK are in this category until he gets done in court at the end of his trial. The accusations against Cliff Richard fall into this category, I think.

    5) Evidence is vague/not in public domain, and inconclusive. Lots of these, many dropped at investigative stage.

    6) Differing definitions. Rape is a subjective crime. With most crimes there is a much more objective definition of whether a crime has taken place. Quite a few potential cases of rape depend on people's memories and beliefs as to consent, and so it might be that from one person's perspective there is mens rea, from another's there is not. This is different from 5) because here it's not whether there's evidence of a crime, and more that's there's a question as to the incidence of a crime.

    Apart from 1) and 2), hard data is going to be hard to come by for the other categories.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Lets Get Real

    This current meme about "all the false rape accusations" is just cover for Kavanaugh, who may or may not have sexually assaulted women but is a proven liar and shouldn't be on the court for that reason alone.

    Republicans have now decided to counter the "#metoo" movement with "#himtoo", claiming that false rape allegations to destroy reputations are rampant. While they do happen, they are a rounding error in the number of overall rape allegations. Most will never be proven true or false, because unless physical evidence is left behind and is tested, or there are somehow neutral witnesses who don't have reason to go along with the story of one side or the other, there's no way to determine the truth.

  21. Orv Silver badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    Women have little incentive to fabricate allegations, considering that even a legitimate accusation is a good way to have your life ruined while the man walks away without any consequences. I know more than one person who has been raped but decided not to report for that reason. In at least one case the man actually told them he'd ruin their life if they tried, and he was in a position to do so. Men hold all the high cards in most of these situations.

  22. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    Well, the Red Dwarf actor Craig Charles may disagree about the "any consequences", having been locked up in Wandsworth Prison for three months before trial.

    I agree that the default position should be to accept the less-socially-powerful individual's story (if the story is plausible, and note that gender isn't relevant, but power is).

    But there are many reasons to allege an assault, ranging from "buyers remorse" through the complex situation where consent was given by someone too drunk/drugged to be properly able to give consent and in the cold light of day sincerely believe that they hadn't.

    And also, of course, the concept of a malicious allegation is not unheard of. Of the two allegations against Kavanaugh, one was a lot more persuasive than the other. It would not be inconceivable that someone might inflate a real incident into a false allegation for purely political motives. For example, someone might allege that a candidate for office grabbed women's genitalia in order to discredit the candidate... Hmm...!

  23. Jove Bronze badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    Sorry, but no it is not.

    Rape allegations are being used to destroy reputations and career advancement under the guise of protected identity.

    It is months, possibly years before cases are brought to Court or thrown out. In the meantime the alleged offenders are subject to media and public recrimination, will likely loose their jobs and substantial impalement of income. Then when the allegations are brought to Court, if they get that far, a fair number of them are thrown out - all without prosecution of those making the allegations with their identities still protected and free to attack others again.

    Recent numbers have show that only 1 in 56 cases of rape allegations in England and Wales lead to a conviction of the alleged criminal, yet those making the false allegations get off free.

    In the case of Kavanaugh it clear from the start that it was a partisan subversion of the State to smear a SCOTUS candidate. You conveniently fail to mention that those involved in making these smear allegations are under investigation by the DoJ.

  24. Jove Bronze badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    With a success rate of only 1 in 56 successful convictions it is clearly not a rounding error.

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Orv Silver badge

    Re: Lets Get Real

    The DoJ is itself a political organ, so being under investigation by it doesn't mean much except that you displeased the orange guy at the top.

  27. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ
    Black Helicopters

    its a strange one with Assange.

    I do agree to a point with his leaking of documents that expose wrongdoing on a government level, but on a personal level I cant help but think hes a first class prick and is not helping himself.

    its total bullshit that a woman goes to the police to ask advice if she can force someone to have a HIV test and then a few days later the whole thing ends up as a rape charge.

    I have no doubt that the men in suits, dark glasses with an earpiece with matching microphone up the sleeve are out to get him. What does he expect? you poke at a sleeping dog its going to bite you. eventually.

    Now hes having a go at the people who have kindly kept him out of an American spooks prison cell. I would not be surprised if they kicked him out the embassy. If someone was staying in my house for years paying no rent or anything towards the food bill, then started to complain at the internet access then I think he would be out the door, or at least direct him out the back door and off to an airport on a dark and misty night, slipping past the spooks watching the door for him.....

  28. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    "Now hes having a go at the people who have kindly kept him out of an American spooks prison cell. I would not be surprised if they kicked him out the embassy."

    Yes, whatever the feelings about him and his "case", shitting on the people who granted him asylum probably isn't a good move. They can un-grant it just as easily.

  29. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    its total bullshit that a woman goes to the police to ask advice if she can force someone to have a HIV test and then a few days later the whole thing ends up as a rape charge.

    ISTR there were 2 women involved (not in a threesome sense) and so multiple charges. The rest is I think the justice process. If you go to the police for advice, and as part of that discussion, chargeable offences come to light.. the police can't ignore those. Or at least aren't meant to.

    But then the descent into farce. Rather than dealing with the accusations, he fled Sweden. The Swedes were naturally unhappy, so issued the arrest warrant. That lead to skipping bail and popping into Ecuador. The rest has the makings of a comedy show.

    What I don't understand is given Assange has had access to some heavyweight legal support, he didn't just deal with the Swedish charges. Ok, there's the possibility that he might have to deal with the US, but they're probably watching the situation with amusement. Instead there's still the suspicion that he may have been guilty of the sex offences, and is sorely testing the patience of Ecuador. As I understand it, they could decide they've had enough and reject his asylum request, then ask him to leave. Then there's the UK charges for skipping bail, but we could just ignore those and ask him to leave the UK.

    Not sure where he'd then end up. As I understand it, he was granted Ecuadorian citizenship, but don't know if that meant he's renounced his Australian. He's almost certainly outstayed any UK visa though. If it doesn't turn into a comedy show, I guess lawyers get to use the situation as an example of what not to do if you're looking for a simple life.

  30. DougS Silver badge

    I agree that having someone releasing documents to shed some light on dirty dealings is a good thing, but only if it is done when free from an agenda. Maybe Wikileaks was free from agenda at first, but that ship sailed years ago.

  31. Rich 11 Silver badge

    If it doesn't turn into a comedy show, I guess lawyers get to use the situation as an example of what not to do if you're looking for a simple life.

    It's already being used as a teaching point on university law courses. To considerable amusement, I'm told.

  32. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    "Then there's the UK charges for skipping bail, but we could just ignore those and ask him to leave the UK."

    I think that last is unlikely. The judiciary take a very, very dim view of contempt of court. Only an enormous amount of political pressure could even begin to change their minds and I very much doubt any politician(s) care enough to put that pressure on. Especially since a recalcitrant judge might just bump it up to the supreme court who, in law, would almost certainly back the judge.

  33. Jove Bronze badge

    Impact on Diplomatic Role

    I am wondering how is latest actions will affect his current status; I am sure that Ecuador has a Code of Conduct for those it assigns a Diplomatic role - including bringing the nation's reputation into disrepute or similar. This may be all Ecuador need to make him "Persona non grata". The UK rejected his Diplomatic Status so he is more than likely to be arrested once outside the confines of the flat.

  34. Jove Bronze badge

    Where next

    I'm sure Moscow would "welcome" him if no one else would have him.

  35. Mage Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Extradition

    1) The Swedish are LESS likely to send someone to USA than UK are.

    2) The UK could have refused bail. They put him on bail / house arrest.

    3) The USA had ample time to extradite him or rendition before he went to embassy.

    4) No doubt the USA has questions it would like to ask him, however his actions more suggest an unwillingness to face due process in Sweden than fear of USA, or else why was he not in hiding BEFORE the Swedish allegations?

  36. Andrew Norton

    "What I don't understand is given Assange has had access to some heavyweight legal support, he didn't just deal with the Swedish charges."

    He did.

    In late 2010 he had 3 court hearings, at the STockholm district court, the Svea court of appeals and then the Swedish Supreme Court. this was after the arrest warrant was issued, but before he turned himself in to UK police (so october-december 2010).

    He got some of the charges dismissed, and some downgraded at the appeals court, but that was it. There's a lot to this case most people don't get, because they don't read swedish, and too many accept Assange's claims (and the claims on his website) as somewhat truthful. I mean people still talk about 'hillary wanting to dronestrike him', despite it being a complete invention by him, without anything to back it, then her being asked about it and saying I don't remember it, and making a joke of it, which his supporters took as confirmation. I mean you gotta be some kind of incompetent moron to even think of an idea like that, and then completely ignorant of air security in capital cities (which Clinton is not) to even think it's possible.

  37. JetSetJim Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Re: Where next - Moscow?

    I wonder how fit he is after living in a cupboard for 6 years. It's 2 miles to the Russian embassy, so if he can get past the bobby on the door, then perhaps a 20 minute run...

  38. Halfmad

    He wants his asylum to be removed, then it's another victim card for him when he goes to trial by media etc.

    I hope he walks out of there and no government even bothers acknowledging it. That would be the ultimate slap in the face. Let Sweden say they'll pursue him if he ever enters their country, but beyond that.. 8 years of self imposed stupidity by an egomaniac.

  39. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Conspiracy theories

    He did.

    In late 2010 he had 3 court hearings, at the STockholm district court, the Svea court of appeals and then the Swedish Supreme Court. this was after the arrest warrant was issued, but before he turned himself in to UK police (so october-december 2010).

    That's roughly my recollection, although not the details of what happened at those hearings. But after those (or during) was when he decided to leave Sweden and come to the UK. If innocent, he should have remained in Sweden to clear his name. But it's also where knowledge of Swedish criminal procedures might confuse things. So why the need for further police interviews, if charges have already been presented to the Swedish courts and appealed. I'm assuming that's around the difference between having evidence to charge vs evidence to prosecute.

    Like you say, the rest has been a lot of mudslinging and conspiracy theories. There's the US stuff, but also supporters stating that accusations of sex offences are SOP in character assassinations. Which can be true, but also why people in sensitive positions are advised to keep it in their trousers and behave like gentlemen... Which by most standards, Assange didn't. So will remain a suspected sex offender until he faces the music and is found innocent.

  40. Andrew Norton

    Re: Conspiracy theories

    no, he left first, the day before he was to be interviewed (and where his lawyer had been told he'd probably be arrested, hence his flight to the UK, the only country he could enter without a visa and stay in for more than the 24 days left on his schengen visa) which was September 27.

    The first hearing at the stockholm court was 18 november 2010.

    The Svea court of appeal hearing was 24 november 2010

    They appealed to the Swedish Supreme Court, their application was denied (nothing new, novel, unusual, etc)

    the EAW was issued 26 november 2010.

    SOCA certified the EAW on december 6, and on the 7th Assange handed himself in.

    " But it's also where knowledge of Swedish criminal procedures might confuse things. So why the need for further police interviews, if charges have already been presented to the Swedish courts and appealed. I'm assuming that's around the difference between having evidence to charge vs evidence to prosecute."

    The Swedish legal system isn't like the UK/Us one, not exactly.

    What was presented was in some ways similar to what the US would call an indictment, although my understanding is that there is the ability for the defense to have some exculpatory input. However, fleeing the country the night before a scheduled interview, then refusing to return (that's what happened through october 2010) does put the preponderance of evidence squarely in the area of 'feeling guilty and avoiding arrest'. Especially when, in August, he applied for a work/residence permit, and issued a press release saying he was moving there because they have a great and fair justice system, a free and open press, and they don't extradite to the US for political crimes (famously, Sweden refused to extradite the only CIA officer to defect to the USSR, and just to amp the US pressure up a bit, the President at the time was VP when the defection happened, and was a former head of the CIA - it was personal for Bush Snr)

    Anyway, the format of Swedish law and policing is that there has to be a final interview first, and then following that interview is the arrest and charging, with appearing at court soon after. They needed the interview to then do the arrest and charging. By comparison, under the UK system, he'd have been arrested on suspicion of the charge for the first interview, and charged and bailed to appear pending further investigations. This was pointed out to him and his team by the High court Judge who kept trying to conflate the UK and Swedish terms for 'charged', by saying 'but he hasn't been charged' using the Swedish literal to imply failure to reach the UK standard.

    As for it being a false claim, it's unlikely. It fits with what I've heard of him from those who've worked with him. His responses are also not the kind typical of an innocent man, especially with the resources and knowledge he had to hand. his arguments against the charges are also bizarre in their terrible fabrication. Such as claiming the women dropped the charges, when in fact when the original prosecutor dropped it, they hired a lawyer to appeal that. And so on.

    They've even started pointing to the high court stipulations to try and prove their narrative and re-write facts, seems they're oblivious to the fact that barristers will agree to stipulations that have little relevance to the elements of the case even if they're not wholely true, because 'its not worth arguing over that'.

  41. Jove Bronze badge

    Hillary wanting to dronestrike him

    How can you use her as a reference? Even Democrats don't take Hillary at her word

  42. Jove Bronze badge

    Re: Where next - Moscow?

    The Saudis have a neat trick for get individuals out of Embassy premisses - he could go via DHL.

  43. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "The judiciary take a very, very dim view of contempt of court."

    My experience begs to differ (sitting in a courtroom, observing). They may well take a dim view of it but punishment for bail-related offences (including skipping out) tend to amount to a slap on the wrist and "Don't do it again" unless they're _serious_ (as in, people got hurt/major property damage is done) and the offender is a recidivist.

    "Causing police overtime" and having said coppers standing outside 24*7 was a political stunt, not a practical one.

    In all liklihood Jules would get about a week in the cells (maybe a month) and then told not to darken the court's doorstep ever again on any other charges. As for the extradition matter, it's ongoing, he's now proven he's a flight risk and he won't get bail again.

  44. Orv Silver badge

    Re: Hillary wanting to dronestrike him

    You don't have to believe Hillary to think that a drone strike on an embassy in a major city is a ridiculous idea. Besides, if it were true someone else would have leaked it by now, given how badly the current administration wants her to look bad.

  45. Snorlax Silver badge

    Re: Where next - Moscow?

    @Jove:"The Saudis have a neat trick for get individuals out of Embassy premisses"

    Their method requires the person to be chopped into manageable pieces.

    This may or may not be a problem, depending on your view of Assange...

  46. Flashfox

    Suing Ecuador ???? What a joke!

    He is suing Ecuador????? He doesn't like the T&Cs? Then he should just leave the embassy or the Ecuadorans should just kick him out.

    This is simply cowardice as he doesn't want to face justice. Is he afraid that the Americans will make him disappear like the Saudis did with the reporter in Turkey? . Assange knew very well what he was getting into and to expect "eternal freedom" was just plain dumb! As the saying goes "Live by fire and die by fire".

  47. Saruman the White

    Re: Suing Ecuador ???? What a joke!

    I think that what is more to the point is that the UK Human Rights Act does not apply inside the Ecuadorian Embassy (the Embassy is diplomatically considered a part of Ecuador), so Julian's court action will probably be tossed out PDQ. However it is likely to annoy the Ecuadorian government enough that, shortly after the case is tossed out of court, Julian will be tossed out the front door. Probably after giving the plods a heads-up so they can organise a "taxi" for Julian to nearest nick.

  48. katrinab Silver badge

    Re: Suing Ecuador ???? What a joke!

    I thought he was suing in an Equadorian court for breach of Equadorian human rights?

  49. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Re: Suing Ecuador ???? What a joke!

    He doesn't like the T&Cs?

    Cue up someone suing Wikileaks because they don't like the T&C's.

  50. Michael Hoffmann
    Facepalm

    Is the apt saying here...

    ... "don't shit in your bed"?

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