back to article Julian Assange to UK court: Put an end to my unwarranted Ecuadorean couch-surf

WikiLeaker-in-chief Julian Assange has asked a British court to withdraw an arrest warrant against him, hoping that this would finally allow him to stop his unending Ecuadorean couch-surf. His defence counsel, extradition law specialist Mark Summers QC, told Westminster Magistrates' Court today that the British bail arrest …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Any other bail dodger would, of course, rightfully expect arrest but he's sooo special.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      I read that as badger. I think I need some sleep.

    2. Robert Heffernan

      The guy is a wanker...

      ... But this is a bit different in that as soon as the UK police grab him, he is off to some dark hole in some 3rd world country where the law is just a suggestion where the CIA will work on him then vanish him.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: The guy is a wanker...

        Bzzt.

        Assange is a friggin drama queen.

        Publishing the leak is somewhat protected. There's a SCOTUS case that offers some protection.

        That's not what's worrying him.

        He jumped bail and he's going to end up either being tossed out or have to go to a hospital and then get arrested and sent back to Australia.

        The truth... many countries will close their boarders to him over his antics.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The guy is a wanker...

          Boarder? Such as a boarding school student?

  2. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Oh do fuck off.

    You broke the law. In the UK. Now pay for it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh do fuck off.

      As much as I dislike arseange I disagree with him getting arrested and shipped off to land of the free.

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Oh do fuck off.

        He's not being arrested and shipped off to the land of the free. That that might happen while he's in jail for bail dodging is another animal altogether. But then again, he can do the whole song and dance then anyway. Or his besties in the Ecuadorian embassy can petition the UK for his release given he'll be an Ecuadorian citizen...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh do fuck off.

          Don't be so f*cking naive.

        2. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: Oh do fuck off.

          "He's not being arrested and shipped off to the land of the free."

          He will get arrested, and will go to court for jumping bail. He might get shipped off to the USA although that might be unlikely, but I'm not quite sure what this "land of the free" is that you are talking about.

          And Sweden is of course free at any time, while he is held in the UK for jumping bail, to ask for him to be extradited to Sweden to face rape charges. And I'm not sure of statutes of limitation apply when you know about the charges and avoided prosecution by jumping bail.

          1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

            Re: Oh do fuck off.

            "...but I'm not quite sure what this "land of the free" is that you are talking about."

            Irony, perhaps? Or maybe just sarcasm.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: Oh do fuck off.

              Irony, perhaps?

              Irony? Isn't that just a cheaper form of Steely?

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Oh do fuck off.

            "And I'm not sure of statutes of limitation apply when you know about the charges and avoided prosecution by jumping bail."

            IIRC the reason they withdrew the EAW and suspended enquiries is precisely because of the time limits. They can be reactivated quite quickly once it looks like there's a realistic chance of getting their hands on him.

          3. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Oh do fuck off.

            "He will get arrested, and will go to court for jumping bail. "

            Where he will get a fine and told not to do it again. (first offence, original charges dropped, etc)

            Anything else would amount to a (rightfully) appealable breach of the guidelines which tie down what a judge can impose despite the politics of a case.

            Of course it's likely that immigration will be waiting at the courthouse door, waiting to deport him as an undesireable person, and put him on the next flight to Sydney via LAX.

            1. Michael Thibault

              Re: Oh do fuck off.

              "Sydney via LAX"

              He'd probably prefer a flight with a stop-over in NY, so he can go couch-shopping in New England. LA is just too hot.

        3. PNGuinn Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Oh do fuck off.

          Or his Ecuadorian friends could apply for his extradition to his new homeland for not paying his hotel bill ...

          Or the UK could deport him to his new homeland after he's served any sentence handed out to him for skipping bail ...

          I wonder - has the UK got any arrangement with said country to allow him to serve his sentence there? Or even with Oz?

          I mean, however desirable, a stay in on of Her Majesty's luxury hotels does cost us.

        4. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Oh do fuck off.

          Assanage?

          Here's his future...

          He's going to be leaving the Embassy one way or another. We know its getting close because his lawyer is crying about the jumping bail charge. He already has an Ecuadorian passport and the thing is that he'll argue that he shouldn't be sent back to Australia but to Ecuador.

          The UK will most likely deal with him and send him back to Australia because that was the passport he used while entering the country. That's what scares Assange the most. He's still an Aussie citizen. If the US wants him... that's where he's most vulnerable if the US wants him.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Oh do fuck off.

        "As much as I dislike arseange I disagree with him getting arrested and shipped off to land of the free."

        At the time he skipped bail the US didn't appear to be thinking of extraditing him and if they'd put in a request they'd have been queued up behind Sweden. The US might well have thought that ignoring him would have hurt his ego so much as to have been the more effective punishment. Now, possibly with Assagne's help, the current POTUS lacks that degree of subtlety.

        AFAICS Assagne's situation is entirely of his own making. Or, to put it another way, he's made his bed sofa and now he must lie sit on it.

        1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

          Re: Oh do fuck off.

          Given that Wikileaks splashed a lot of Clinton's emails, the POTUS probably thinks that Wikileaks is a grand operation. Now, his ability to think the same thought for any length of time is limited, and the fellows in the three-letter agencies probably don't care for Assange, so I don't entirely blame Assange for being jumpy about this.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: Oh do fuck off.

            his ability to think the same thought for any length of time is limited, and the fellows in the three-letter agencies probably don't care for Assange

            All that someone from a TLA would have to do is photoshop a long beard and a turban on a picture of Assange and Trump would be yelling, "Lock him up! Take his ass to Gitmo!"

        2. Uffish

          Re: entirely of his own making.

          I think having very good reason to be scared of the big bad eagle had something to do with it.

      3. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Oh do fuck off.

        As much as I dislike arseange I disagree with him getting arrested and shipped off to land of the free.

        Ok, why?

        Do you disagree because you don't think he fled Sweden to avoid arrest?

        Do you disagree because you don't think he broke UK law by jumping bail?

        Do you disagree because you don't think he broke the law in the USA?

        Or is it just that you disagree because you don't like the USA?

        There's no actual evidence the USA will ship him anywhere, even to jail, because they've not even made a request for him at this stage.

        That he broke the law in Sweden is debatable. The appropriate place for that debate is not here, it is in their courts.

        That he broke the law in the UK is not debateable, the offence of bail jumping is complete.

        That he broke the law in the USA is again debateable and again the appropriate place for that debate is in their courts.

        I'm struggling to find any greater reason in your post than "I don't like Aermica", which frankly, is hardly the point.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Oh do fuck off.

          "There's no actual evidence the USA will ship him anywhere, even to jail, because they've not even made a request for him at this stage."

          No-one forces a diplomatic jet to land and be searched just to get their hands on a bail-jumper avoiding minor crimes.

          He's got every right to be fearful of being 'disappeared'.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Oh do fuck off.

            I'm an idiot, my memory has done me a dis-service and I mixed up my absconders. Of course it as Snowden who prompted the jet incident.

        2. Uffish

          Re: any greater reason.

          Tell that to the people flown around the world free of charge by that nice Uncle Sam to wherever they could be most effectively tortured.

          Just because Americans can be rightly proud of the USA doesn't mean that they don't have some things to be ashamed of, and POI to be scared of.

    2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: Oh do fuck off.

      What law did he break in the U.K.?

      He may have broken the law in Sweden, hence the extradition request.

      He has dodged an extradition request from Sweden and he may very well be officially wanted by Big Brother, but he hasn't actually broken any U.K. laws, to the best of my knowledge.

      I still think that he should stand trial under a Swedish court and that both the Swedish and Ecuadorian governments should come to an agreement about holding a valid Swedish trial inside the Ecuadorian embassy.

      The problem actors in this scenario are the Five Eyes. If they didn't want Assange so much, he could've been extradited to Sweden years' ago. It is the Five Eyes that are obstructing justice.

      1. Raphael

        Re: Oh do fuck off.

        he broke the Law by skipping out on his bail. Regardless of whether or not he is innocent of the crime he was originally being charged with, skipping on bail is illegal.

        1. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

          Re: Oh do fuck off.

          Killing civilians in dubious false flag induced wars is also illegal, just sayin

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: skipping bail

          plenty of Aussies skipped bail and went to Europe. Alan Bond, Christopher Skase, and no doubt hundreds of successful English have done the same over the years. Most have returned at some point, barely a few disgraced or otherwise.

          In this case however, it is not about investor funds, companies going bust, Directors going to Court... it is about politics, a journalist, a website, and a #%^ load of powerful interests, not to mention every TLA you can think of.

          So if anyone should be let off for lack of a real, sustainable purpose of extradition, (and a totally inappropriately handled affair), it is the one, lone journalist (paranoid or otherwise), who has spent his whole life defending the freedom and democracy our forefathers and mothers created. The same freedoms in which we all recline comfortably whilst waiting for the doomsday clock to save us from Earth's obliteration (or the multiple global tyrannies descending in a way that upsets our happiness, and which we (not just the TLAs) can't be arsed defending ourselves against.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh do fuck off.

        >The problem actors in this scenario are the Five Eyes

        I didn't know Assange had five eyes! Even more mutated than expected.

      3. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Re: Oh do fuck off.

        True. He did skip bail and that is illegal.

        Well, I'm glad that the U.K. government treats breaches of these sort with the appropriate severity.

        It is a heinous crime.

    3. david 12 Bronze badge

      Re: Oh do fuck off.

      >You broke the law. In the UK. Now pay for it.<

      Yes. Let's confiscate the bail money.

      Now that's done, since the penalty is paid, the original warrent can be canceled.

  3. Not also known as SC Silver badge
    WTF?

    Expensive

    It does seem strange though that British tax payers have had to pay (according to the Guardian) over £11m by October 2015 for police to guard the embassy to prevent Assange from escaping. How many other alleged rapists have this amount of money spent on them to bring them to justice, especially when the original charges have been dropped? How many other bail jumpers would this amount of money be spent on trying to bring them to court? Why is this man so special?

    (I'm not commenting on Assange, his personality, political beliefs or alleged and actual crimes - just the fact that the UK government seem to be spending a disproportionate amount of money on this)

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Expensive

      All very valid points. But not really the issue.

      The bottom line is Assange jumped bail, and risks making UK law look even more asinine that it is.

      That simply cannot happen. Otherwise every foreign criminal will simply jump bail in the UK.

      Furthermore, Assange is manifestly the author of his own downfall.

      If I were in the UK foreign office, I'd have a quiet word with whoever has sight of UK->Ecuador trade, and see if I could recover the millions from them. Because the bottom line is Assange is a squalid alleged rapist, not some freedom fighting hero. Shame on Ecuador for falling for the Assange hype-machine, along with any similarly hoodwinked El Reggers who (still) prattle on about some fanciful US snatch squad just waiting to whisk the Blond one off to Waterboardsville.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Expensive

        I disagree.

        Very prominent criminals are not followed with this diligence.

        And for example these fine gentlemen have not received the same treatment:

        https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/uks-most-wanted-criminals-faces-14044080

        or these more serious ones:

        https://inews.co.uk/news/world/russian-crime-london-mcmafia/

        So it should be obvious that this is not about justice.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Expensive

          "So it should be obvious that this is not about justice."

          Do you not think that if they let up on him for one miniscule little second, he won't be out the back door and out of the country before anybody can clap two hands together?

          That won't be justice.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Expensive

            He’ll be out of the country before anybody can clap hands, and given his track record, he’ll do a press conference to tell the world about it - telling anyone who feels like it that if there’s a warrant, wander into the nearest embassy & roll the dice ...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Expensive

        @JimmyPage

        re: "Otherwise every foreign criminal will simply jump bail in the UK."

        Isn't that exactly what diplomats who commit an offence do?

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Expensive

          "Isn't that exactly what diplomats who commit an offence do?"

          No, they are protected by the Vienna Convention from charges in the first place, should the other country not waive it. Assange isn't a diplomat, despite Ecuadorian efforts to do so.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Expensive

        No - the bottom line is that the handling of Assange is very disproportionate compared to how other bail skippers have been handled.

        The bail skipping claim appears to be only an excuse for something else, or else they would have focused those resources on something rather more important instead.

      4. Uffish

        Re: Expensive

        My humble opinion is that the police were there because the UK was pissed off with Ecuador, that and to stop the Americans making an even bigger mess of things.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Expensive

      Why is this man so special?

      Very simple, because he upsets the political establishments by showing them up as the lying idiots they are.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Expensive

        Or because justice has to not only be done, but be seen to be done. He's a very public figure, and everybody knew his exact whereabouts. Justice would not appear to have been done if he was allowed to abscond from his bail conditions, and then the country, despite his whereabouts being known.

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: showing them up as the lying idiots

        We don't need Assange for that. Given half an excuse our politicians go on television and do that all by themselves.

    3. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Expensive

      Why is this man so special?

      Because he considered himself to be above the law, and took delight in flaunting it.

      How many other bail jumpers would this amount of money be spent on trying to bring them to court?

      Not many. But how many other bail jumpers have claimed political asylum in a London Embassy and then held regular press-conferences so we don't forget him?

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Expensive

        But how many other bail jumpers have claimed political asylum in a London Embassy and then held regular press-conferences so we don't forget him?

        Often they weren't press conferences. So there'd be some hype for some new announcement, but the press conference turned out to be St. Julian promoting his latest book. Wonder if proceeds of crime could be applied?

        I also wonder if other nations are looking at the issue, and dreading getting more bail jumping guests if Assange is not prosecuted. Once Assange has answered that charge, then he'd be free to leave the UK. Quickly.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Expensive

        Because he considered himself to be above the law, and took delight in flaunting it.

        And when he finally does get released after processing for jumping bail, he's going to be sooooo pissed if nobody else wants to arrest or extradite him. You're yesterday's man Julian, get used to ti.

    4. Not also known as SC Silver badge

      Re: Expensive

      All very good points. Just annoyed that my tax is being used for this when there are so many other things which the money could be spent on. Liked the comment about trying to get the money back from Ecuadoreans.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Expensive

        "Just annoyed that my tax is being used for this"

        Maybe, just maybe it wouldn't be your tax if everyone else paid tax.

    5. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Expensive

      "It does seem strange though that British tax payers have had to pay (according to the Guardian) over £11m by October 2015 for police to guard the embassy to prevent Assange from escaping. How many other alleged rapists have this amount of money spent on them to bring them to justice, especially when the original charges have been dropped? How many other bail jumpers would this amount of money be spent on trying to bring them to court? Why is this man so special?"

      The money was spent before the charges were dropped. And how much money should be spent trying to arrest rapists? At what point do we say "sorry, love, I know you got raped, but it's, like, really hard to find him, so we won't bother. Much easier to go after speeding motorists instead".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Expensive

        @DavCrav

        re: "really hard to find him, "

        Are you kidding?!?

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      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Alleged

        "And how much money should be spent trying to arrest rapists? At what point do we say "sorry, love, I know you got raped, but it's, like, really hard to find him, so we won't bother. Much easier to go after speeding motorists instead"."

        Since the allegations have yet to be disproven/proven, I think what you mean to say is "And how much money should be spent trying to arrest 'alleged' rapists'.

        And also "sorry, love, I know you allege you got raped...".

        Everybody is still innocent.

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Expensive

      "Why is this man so special?"

      I'm sure if you were to ask him he'd tell you at length.

      "(I'm not commenting on Assange, his personality ... just the fact that the UK government seem to be spending a disproportionate amount of money on this)"

      His personality is the key; he's a self-publicist. Letting up on him would be very public and would send the message that bail jumping isn't actually something you can get banged up for. He really has brought this on himself.

      Maybe his option would be to come out, get arrested and get a shrink to persuade the court he's unfit to plead. His past behaviour might be called in evidence to support it but I don't suppose it would sit well with his ego.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Expensive

      £11m is too much for sure, but you don't know it is going to be £11m when he first skipped bail. I don't think anyone expected him to still be in the embassy after this length of time, so it was a waiting game with neither side wishing to blink. The police can't say we will spend £x on it on day one because the subject would just wait knowing that money will be spent soon.

      There will always be a lot more money, time and resources put in when there is a lot of publicity surrounding a case. There will be pressure from high up in the Police, the media and politicians all eager to get one over on the other.

      Look at the Madeleine McCann case which has probably seen a similar amount of UK taxpayers money spent and yet people go missing all the time with much less investigating. However they didn't have the publicity surrounding it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Expensive

        "Look at the Madeleine McCann case which has probably seen a similar amount of UK taxpayers money spent and yet people go missing all the time with much less investigating. However they didn't have the publicity surrounding it"

        And the parents pilloried in the media for leaving a young child alone for that long

        Amazing how a publicist can spin parental negligence into a sob story

    8. Velv Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Expensive

      Very few bail jumpers would be granted political asylum by a foreign embassy. They’d be shown the door almost immediately, probably with a call to the local Police.

    9. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

      Re: Expensive

      "How many other alleged rapists have this amount of money spent on them to bring them to justice, especially when the original charges have been dropped? How many other bail jumpers would this amount of money be spent on trying to bring them to court? Why is this man so special?"

      To my mind, the man himself has made it completely impossible to stop pursuing him. If he has allowed the media to quietly forget him, he would have been forgotten. The difference is he comes to the window once a month and shouts "Look, look! I'm being repressed! See the violence inherent in the system!" or words to that effect. Gov.uk cant drop it because he wont. If they stop pursuing him, he will shout about it and every other criminal would expect similar treatment. He won't quietly vanish in to infamy, he has to keep shouting and keep himself in the news and in peoples conciousness. All the time he is doing that, Gov.uk simply can't quietly drop the process and let him quietly escape.

      At every step, he has done this to himself, despite loud protestations to the contrary, and now he is nearing, or potentially even passed the point of no return. It is a shame really, Wikileaks did something huge and the effects will be long felt, however I have no time for anyone who insists they are too important to follow due process, and loudly shout to all how the rules shouldn't apply to them. Like I said, has he just STFU how ever many years ago, he would have been out long ago.

  4. ratfox Silver badge

    The "funny" part is that he's far more likely to get extradited from the UK to the US than if he had gone to Sweden. Maybe it's karma?

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Stop

      Arghhhhhh - facts !

      Stop it. Any discussion about Assange - like Brexit - only gets vexed if you introduce reality.

    2. albaleo

      "he's far more likely to get extradited from the UK to the US than if he had gone to Sweden"

      Do you have any good reason to suppose that? I think both the UK and Sweden have handled this badly. The UK for not requiring assurances from Sweden that he wouldn't be extradited to the USA. Sweden for not providing such assurances.

      When they come for the tossers, maybe we should all speak out.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Anyone extradited on a EAW cannot be further extradited without the permission of the original country. So had he gone to Sweden, Sweden and the UK would have had to grant permission.

        Source: well, it was a while back but it was someone with an actual legal background who was commenting authoritatively on the case, rather than some random internet bloke. Like myself, in fact.

        1. Andrew Norton

          Right, and more importantly, Sweden does not extradite to the US for political-based offenses. In the 90s they refused to extradite the one and only CIA officer to defect to the USSR; they were the second most popular destination for Vietnam draft dodgers too. Assange knows this, he made a point to highlight it when he had the press release about him applying for residency there, along with something about the courts being very impartial and fair...

          He also didn't go to the embassy until 2 days after the Supreme court's final ruling, which gave him 3 weeks until extradition, apararantly, then (and only then) did he realise that there was such a thing as a US extradition, despite him having been in the UK for 600+ days at that point, and that with the SCOTUK final verdict, any US extradition request would have been put to the back of the queue until the Swedish situation was dealt with.

          Of course, anyone fearing US extradition wouldn't come to the UK anyway, not with the express extradition treaty. There's only one reason he'd have come to the UK, and thats after his lawyer was informed he would be arrested the next day at questioning, he needed to get out of the country for a period. Other Schengen countries wouldn't do, too much cooperation and he had less than a month of time left.Australia was too late, he'd missed any flights that day, and he'd be vulnerable in the air on the aircraft for a long time. Most other countries would require a visa, which left the UK as the only close, easy to access country with no visa requirements and the ability to stay over a month (as an Australian citizen he can enter without a visa and stay for 180 days, long enough he thought for this to blow over)

          And there's still no indictment, and never has been from the US, and everyone else investigated in that grand jury (the people that did the work while he wrote press releases) have visited the US without a problem since at least 2013 (which was when I was invited to have dinner with one of them in NYC)

          As for the breakdown, could it have been this - http://ktetch.co.uk/2017/01/assange-painted-into-corner-with-manning-boasting/ I'm not a lawyer, but I have done a LOT of research into this over the years, and I've had a lot of favourable feedback from those who have covered this extensively and who have worked with Assange in the past.

        2. albaleo

          "Anyone extradited on a EAW cannot be further extradited without the permission of the original country."

          Well that's nice to know. But I don't remember that bit of info being brought up when I asked a similar question when this fiasco started. Forgive me if I have doubts about the accuracy of your statement. Can you point me to the relevant law?

          Assange may be a tosser, but he seems to get more flippant coverage here than other tossers. Why do I get the impression Assange has shagged one of the El Reg staff's girlfriends?

          1. Vincent Ballard

            http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:2002F0584:20090328:EN:PDF

            Article 28, paragraph 4: Notwithstanding paragraph 1, a person who has been surrendered pursuant to a European arrest warrant shall not be extradited to a third State without the consent of the competent authority of the Member State which surrendered the person. Such consent shall be given in accordance with the Conventions by which that Member State is bound, as well as with its domestic law.

            1. albaleo

              @Vincent Ballard, thanks.

      2. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Oh FFS

        The UK for not requiring assurances from Sweden that he wouldn't be extradited to the USA.

        The UK didn't need any assurances. The UK HAS A VETO.

        I really hope there aren't any morons here who are going to start blabbering that "The UK should have done this" or "Sweden should have done that". Fuck that.

        The UK and Sweden treated Assange like anyone else suspected of a criminal act. He doesn't get to call the shots.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Oh FFS

          "The UK didn't need any assurances. The UK HAS A VETO."

          Also, why would be UK care if he gets extradited to the US? Why should they give any assurances at all? He's not a UK citizen, he's just a petty criminal, so not really the UK government's responsibility, more the Australian (and now the Ecuadorian) government's job.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Oh FFS

            Plus Assange keeps hinting that the US would just resort to Extraordinary Rendition to ensure he has an "unfortunate accident" the moment he leaves plain sight.

      3. gnasher729 Silver badge

        "I think both the UK and Sweden have handled this badly. The UK for not requiring assurances from Sweden that he wouldn't be extradited to the USA. Sweden for not providing such assurances."

        Why would they give such assurances? Since both countries have no idea what extradition request might come from the USA, they can't give any assurances. If the USA sends an extradition request, with the right documentation, then of course he will be and should be extradited. You can of course claim that he hasn't done anything that would allow such a request to be successful. In which case he won't be extradited.

      4. Mike Richards Silver badge

        Sweden couldn’t possibly say they would never extradite Assange because they have no idea what evidence the Americans have against him. If the Americans produced incontrovertible evidence Assange had hurt their interests it would be a denial of justice for Sweden not to consider extradition.

        1. gnasher729 Silver badge

          "If the Americans produced incontrovertible evidence Assange had hurt their interests..."

          No, hurting the interests of the USA is perfectly legal in most countries. Correct would be "If the Americans produce incontrovertible evidence that Assange committed something that is a crime and would be prosecuted by the USA according to US law, and that also would be a crime and prosecuted according to Swedish law... "

          And the don't need incontrovertible evidence. They need enough evidence that Sweden would prosecute if they had the same evidence.

      5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        The UK for not requiring assurances from Sweden that he wouldn't be extradited to the USA

        That isn't up to the UK to do. We would scream blue murder is someone was interfering with our courts in that fashion and, quite rightly, the Swedes would too.

        Sweden for not providing such assurances

        Sweden can't. They have to weigh each extradition request on it's merits and can't pre-judge a case. A similar analogy was Tony Blairs government giving assurances to IRA men that they wouldn't be prosecuted from murders or assaults done in the past. Something which the Govenrment has no legal ability or right to do and something which blew up(!) in their faces.

    3. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      "Because he considered himself to be above the law, and took delight in flaunting it."

      No, he didn't. He didn't say that he shouldn't face Swedish charges : just that he suspects the vested interests he criticises (who DO think they're above the law) will use it as an excuse to silence him, and that what he had to say was too important to hide behind his personal issues.

      Unfortunately, the astroturfers here love to try anyway.

    4. gnasher729 Silver badge

      The "funny" part is that had he stayed in Sweden, even in the worst case he would have been a free man today, and most likely would have lived more comfortably.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If he gets his way...

    Then does he become an Ecuadorean citizen in the UK without a valid Visa, which is also something he can be arrested for, languish in a Border Force facilty and then be deported. No doubt there will be a unscheduled stop or welcoming party but no longer a UK problem.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Re: If he gets his way...

      He might currently have dual nationality, if so, then until we leave the EU, he doesn't need a Visa

      1. Lysenko Silver badge

        Re: If he gets his way...

        He might currently have dual nationality, if so, then until we leave the EU, he doesn't need a Visa

        As far as I know, he's an Australian/Ecuadorean dual national so he does need a visa to be here as a private citizen. The Ecuadoreans could try issuing him a diplomatic passport over the objections of HMG and force a confrontation over the Vienna Convention, but I'm not sure how much support they'd get for that from other signatories. Shipping him back to Ecuador in a crate under diplomatic seal might be doable though.

        1. Scorchio!!

          Re: If he gets his way...

          The Ecuadoreans could try issuing him a diplomatic passport over the objections of HMG and force a confrontation over the Vienna Convention, but I'm not sure how much support they'd get for that from other signatories.

          Can't be done without the approval of the Court of St James, so other signatories do not come into it; all diplomats must first pass scrutiny and be approved by and in the host nation. Given Assange's convictions, in or around 1991 for 25 counts, it is very unlikely that even Jesus would gain approval. These convictions include: 1) stealing passwords from US Air force 7th Command Group in the Pentagon; 2) for hacking computers at two universities; 3) hacking computers at two telecommunications companies; 4) hacking computers to monitor the Australian Federal Police investigation into *his* criminal activities.

          As the US is also a NATO country there's little chance of him becoming recognised as a diplomat, anywhere in NATO.

          As far as crating him up is concerned, this was tried by an African nation and failed. Moreover, you can guarantee that the security and policing services would find it easy to hold the traffic up for so long that St Julie would be so ill that he'd have to get out of his crate. I'd pay for a ring side seat and bring all of my optical and audio gear with me.

          1. Lysenko Silver badge

            Re: If he gets his way...

            Can't be done without the approval of the Court of St James, so other signatories do not come into it; all diplomats must first pass scrutiny and be approved by and in the host nation. ....

            Moreover, you can guarantee that the security and policing services would find it easy to hold the traffic up for so long that St Julie would be so ill that he'd have to get out of his crate.

            I was being slightly facetious. What I really meant by "crate" is they could send Assange with a diplomatic bag as a courier. Unlike actual diplomats, couriers can be appointed on an ad hoc basis without specific approval from transit countries (which is what the UK is in this case) and under Article 27 of the Vienna Convention a courier cannot be detained or arrested under any circumstances.

            Trying to get him conventional diplomatic immunity was probably Ecuador's way of giving HMG a way out. If they go the courier route and the police intervene (as the HO would insist and the FO would try to veto) it would create a diplomatic incident and, more importantly, set a precedent that at least two members of the Security Council (Russia and China) would never endorse.

            The wording of Article 27 is quite clear. It makes no difference who a diplomatic courier is or what he is carrying. You can know for an absolute fact that he is transporting contraband and you still can't interfere while he is in transit between an Embassy and his home country.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: If he gets his way...

              "The wording of Article 27 is quite clear. It makes no difference who a diplomatic courier is or what he is carrying. You can know for an absolute fact that he is transporting contraband and you still can't interfere while he is in transit between an Embassy and his home country."

              I recall there's a different article in the same document that says you have to going on official diplomatic business with no side business involved (as one user put it, "taking the mick"). Otherwise, it's an abuse of immunity, revoking the immunity and rendering them open season. I also believe it's an earlier article and therefore takes precedence over Article 27 in the event of a conflict.

              Which means as long as the UK can demonstrate Ecuador was abusing diplomatic immunity by revealing Assange in a search, the fault would lie in Ecuador, and if Russia and China pipe up, the UK would just counter, "You're a fine one to talk." given their histories.

              1. Lysenko Silver badge

                Re: If he gets his way...

                I recall there's a different article in the same document that says you have to going on official diplomatic business with no side business involved (as one user put it, "taking the mick").

                Citation? The only thing I can think of is Article 37, and that applies to diplomatic agents, not couriers. The relevant provisions for couriers are:

                5.The diplomatic courier, who shall be provided with an official document indicating his status

                and the number of packages constituting the diplomatic bag, shall be protected by the receiving State in the performance of his functions. He shall enjoy person inviolability and shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention.

                6.The sending State or the mission may designate diplomatic couriers ad hoc. In such cases the

                provisions of paragraph 5 of this article shall also apply, except that the immunities therein mentioned

                shall cease to apply when such a courier has delivered to the consignee the diplomatic bag in his charge.

                Immunity is absolute and continues until the courier reaches his destination (Ecuador, in this case).

                The article isn't written that way by accident. The whole point of it is to make clear that even though/if the courier is a wanted criminal according to local law, that cannot be used as an excuse to detain him. This prevents regimes with questionable ethics manufacturing criminal proceedings to interfere with diplomatic traffic. Arguments like "but we're the good guys" and "he's taking the piss" don't hold water.

                I'm not defending Assange. Just noting what the treaty provisions are. There is no way around the fact that arresting Assange while acting as an Ecuadorian diplomatic courier would be a lawless act and that is a precedent the FO would ferociously oppose due to the dangers it would pose to future British diplomatic staff.

                If you're going to bend the rules because you think someone is "taking the piss" then one day you might find one of your own people being seized for a crime (locally) far more serious than bail jumping - like blasphemy - or being gay.

                1. Danny 14 Silver badge

                  Re: If he gets his way...

                  he is under asylumn conditions. he wouldnt be arrested for a lack of visa (that is if he didnt have an arrest warrant hanging over his head), he would be deported. Ecuador could also apply for EU humanitarian refugee visas for transit. This is what switzerland does (well, could do they havent used them yet)

              2. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: If he gets his way...

                Ah, found it. The relevant part IS an earlier article: Article 9, which does take precedence because it covers more fundamental issues, including the issue of personae non gratae. Last I checked, Assange IS persona non grata in the UK, meaning if Ecuador tried to make him a diplomatic courier (which they can do unilaterally now that Assange is an Equadorian national, before it would've required UK approval), the UK can still cry foul. After all, the Vienna Convention is not actually UK law. Not entirely. The parts that apply are contained in the Diplomatic Privileges Act, 1964. One important consideration of this Act is that it gives the UK the power to withdraw immunity within its territory, subject to procedure. IOW, the UK possesses an override, and since the embassy is in UK territory, there's SFA Equador can do about it.

                1. Lysenko Silver badge

                  Re: If he gets his way...

                  Article 9, which does take precedence because it covers more fundamental issues, including the issue of personae non gratae.

                  Article 9 just gives the UK the power to demand that Ecuador remove him from the country, which is the outcome they (Ecuador and Assange) are looking for anyway.

                  You're right that the Convention isn't UK law (few treaties explicitly are), but invoking that loophole puts you on exactly the same thin to non-existent ice as detaining a courier - it's a flagrant breach of international law.

                  That's an awkward position to be in since you're explicitly asserting that local statutes trump the Convention which means that you're agreeing that Afghan blasphemy law (for example) overrides the immunities of our people in Kabul. You won't get the FO to sign up for that in a month of Sundays. That's why we let the staff of the Libyan Embassy go, even though one of them had demonstrably just murdered a policewoman.

                  1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                    Re: If he gets his way...

                    "You're right that the Convention isn't UK law (few treaties explicitly are), but invoking that loophole puts you on exactly the same thin to non-existent ice as detaining a courier - it's a flagrant breach of international law."

                    Not in this case because the UK is not explicitly signatory to the Vienna Convention. The Diplomatic Privileges Act is not the Vienna Convention and has various local alterations as noted. The local override is one of them. Plus there's also the matter of abusing immunity (talking the mick, as another put it). You mention the Yvonne Fletcher incident but neglect to mention they couldn't pin the culpability to a single individual due to (1) there being more than one shooter and (2) secrecy concerns. Plus it should be noted the UK got theirs back. They severed diplomatic relations with Libya and allowed the US to bomb Libya from bases in the UK in retaliation. Plus Libya eventually paid compensation for the incident, probably because they had no friends on northern Africa.

                    This time, we know exactly who the culprit is, he hasn't made any move to conceal his crimes, so as the saying goes it's open-and-shut. Any attempt to use diplomatic immunity to try to get him out can and would get called out as abuse of immunity. About the only reason the UK doesn't sever diplomatic relations with Ecuador is that Ecuador DOES have friends in South America which can result in reprisals. And while there is little the UK needs that comes from Ecuador, other South American countries may have products of value (like say Venezuela with its petroleum).

                    "That's an awkward position to be in since you're explicitly asserting that local statutes trump the Convention which means that you're agreeing that Afghan blasphemy law (for example) overrides the immunities of our people in Kabul."

                    That depends on the laws specifically set down in Afghanistan. If blasphemy laws explicitly take precedence over anything the Vienna Convention defines, then you're up the proverbial creek. I strongly suspect this was very much the case when the Taliban had full authority there, thus the lack of diplomatic relations there at the time.

                    1. Lysenko Silver badge

                      Re: If he gets his way...

                      Not in this case because the UK is not explicitly signatory to the Vienna Convention.

                      Yes it is and has been since 1964 source.

                      Since the rest of your points rest on that faulty premise, there isn't really anything else to address besides the fact that it wouldn't be the first time the UK breached international law. In the end, whether a condemnatory statement from the UN SC passes would be a matter for the French.

                      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                        Re: If he gets his way...

                        It's your source that is incorrect. The date in question refers to the passage of The Diplomatic Privileges Act, 1964, which adopt MOST the Vienna Convention to UK law but not ALL of it, AND there are local additions like the override clause I previously mentioned, which is Section 3. You can feel free to read the text for yourself in that link. It's all there, including a PDF copy of the original printing. BTW, MY source is considered authoritative since it comes directly from the UK government itself.

                  2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

                    Re: If he gets his way...

                    Lysenko,

                    There's a lot of law here, and as usual, you can get legal opinions either way. I read an interesting argument a few years ago between a UK ex-ambassador and one of the Foreign Office's legal officers.

                    The ambassador argued the full Vienna Convention thing. The lawyer said, that's all fine, but you also have to count custom and practise. So for example when Mossad helped Nigeria kidnap a dissident in London, and smuggled him out in the diplomatic bag - the police broke the seals on said diplomatic luggage and rescued him. Then told the Nigerians off. The FCO and police got off scott-free for doing that. I believe there's another article in the Vienna Conventions stating that diplomatic bags must be for diplomatic papers and stuff for the embassy's use only. What you've got there is two competing laws, which means you need to lawyer up, and fight it out in court.

                    Interstingly there's actually a quirk in the conventions. We can refuse an ambassador before they're appointed. Thus denying them diplomatic immunity. However we can't refuse lower members of embassy staff diplomatic immunity/status until after they've been appointed. And the Conventions specifically state that we can declare them "Persona Non Grata", but have to then give them a reasonable time to leave the country, unmolested, immunity intact.

                    So as Ecuador apparently made that request a few weeks ago, the FCO are technically in breach of the Vienna Conventions. I've read those, though not the UK law that brings them into force here, so don't know what that has to say on the matter.

                    The FCO's response was to be ambiguous, but firm. Their note to Ecuador, that got leaked last week, said that we don't recognise him as holding diplomatic status, and so he does not have immunity.

                    This is clearly a challenge to Ecuador to see you in court. Don't ask me who'd win... Though this is such an obvious pisstake and there are various get-out-clauses (like diplomatic immunity not counting for non-diplomatic personal activities), that a willing judge could find something. In general UK law does not allow retrospective changes, so I don't see how he can be made magically immune from stuff that happened before his diplomatic immunity would be granted - but that would be down to a judge if Ecuador wanted to try their luck.

                    My favourite source on this is another ex-UK ambassador: He's got 4 blog posts on the subject - this has the leaked FCO note - others have links to the legal discussion

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Jon 37

          Re: If he gets his way...

          They have issued him a diplomatic passport already. Under the Vienna Convention, a diplomatic passport itself doesn't provide any protection. A diplomatic passport *that has been accepted by the host country* provides total protection, but when Ecuador asked the UK to accept him we told them to get lost.

          And you're not allowed to ship people in a diplomatic bag, if the UK police figure out that you're doing that then it stops being a diplomatic bag and they can search it, drag him out and arrest him.

        3. Thesheep

          Re: If he gets his way...

          I've got a feeling that any visa he had for the UK has either expired, or he's breached its conditions. So once he's spent some time in jail for jumping bail we can deport him somewhere. Anywhere.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love It

    He can stay in there until he's 70 as far as I'm concerned.

    His quality of life must be about the same as anyone in Prison. I guess the food's better, but not being able to leave must be driving him crazy.

    1. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Love It

      His quality of life must be about the same as anyone in Prison. I guess the food's better, but not being able to leave must be driving him crazy.

      In prison you either have an approximate release date or you have been told you'll never get out. Assange has neither, because time spent evading the courts does not count as time served for any offence he may be later jailed for in one country or another. His situation is arguably worse than prison.

      He chose this life the day he moved in and he chooses it for himself and his family over again with each passing sunrise. Understandlably he may be feeling more desperate about the situation, but the authorities are feeling every bit as patient as when he went in, and every bit as determined to see him in the dock for his various offences.

      Whatever troubles Assange would like to believe he was fleeing when he went into hiding, are still waiting for him just beyond the door. And they always will be. The stupidity to not see that after so many years is truly astounding.

  7. MAH

    The problem I have is that the UK arrest warrant no longer has any merit because it was based on changes from another country that no longer exist, therefore the UK warrant shouldn't exist, and therefore anything related to those invalid charges needs to be dropped.

    There is the matter of jumping bail, but since the charges were withdrawn, then I would consider those charges to have been invalid to begin with and therefore anything related to those charges also needs to be excused...

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "There is the matter of jumping bail, but since the charges were withdrawn, then I would consider those charges to have been invalid to begin with and therefore anything related to those charges also needs to be excused..."

      You would consider that to be the case, but the law doesn't. And the charges were withdrawn precisely because he's played fugitive for so long. Talk about a reward for criminality!

    2. Vincent Ballard

      AIUI the charges haven't been withdrawn. Rather the investigation has been put on ice, but can be reactivated at any point until the statute of limitations expires in 4 or 5 years' time.

    3. gnasher729 Silver badge

      "The problem I have is that the UK arrest warrant no longer has any merit because it was based on changes from another country that no longer exist, therefore the UK warrant shouldn't exist, and therefore anything related to those invalid charges needs to be dropped."

      The charges still exist. The international arrest warrant doesn't, but can be renewed any time. But Assange is a wanted criminal in the UK for jumping bail. Whether the reason for bail is gone doesn't matter, he was jumping bail.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Must be taught a lesson.

    I suspect this is also aimed squarely at Ecuador, who - as a country must be feeling really pissed off now. They've had a change of government, but are lumbered with the embarrassment (and millstone) of keeping Assange in what must be very uncomfortable conditions.

    It's a telling illustration about the old adage of timing. In 2012 I bet Ecuador were pretty pleased they could make a show of being for the underdog.

    6 years on, and you have to ask how much it's cost them ... I can't see many US firms being happy to trade with them.

    Who remembers "Whoops Apocalypse" (the TV series, of course) ? Was there a plot device about a diplomat stranded on a cross-channel ferry ?

  9. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I still fail to see how it costs 11 million to put a 24 hour watch on one building? Lets say they dedicate 6 officers to cover always having 2 staking it out at any one time on 8 hour shifts, and then need to cover the costs of another 6 officers to that they lost because of these 6 being on the embassy watch.

    Now they don't exactly need experienced officers to stand outside an embassy so your standard police constable should do and they are on about £23k per year, so times that by 12 and we get £276,000 now lets double that amount to be extra generous to cover administrative costs, overtime etc and we are at over half a million quid a year. Well unless he has been in the embassy for over 20 years its no where near the 11 million they are claiming it costs. Something very suspect about those numbers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I still fail to see how it costs 11 million to put a 24 hour watch on one building?

      You clearly don't know how public money gets spent ....

    2. zappahey

      "Lets say they dedicate 6 officers to cover always having 2 staking it out at any one time on 8 hour shifts,"

      You're looking at 10 people just to cover working hours for two full time posts 24/7/365 on 8 hour shifts and that's before you allow for sickness and training, so probably closer to 12. Though it still doesn't get close to £11M.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "...and then need to cover the costs of another 6 officers to that they lost because of these 6 being on the embassy watch."

      That's double counting and not required (just imagine those 6 are employed straight to the embassy job not as a replacement).

      However a police officer does a 40 hour week has 20~30 days holiday )depending on length of service) + 8 bank holidays. Assuming 25 days holiday, 1 officer works 1816 hours a year.

      8760 hours in a year/1816 = 4.8 officers required for 24 hour cover.

      Rounding up requires 5 officers per year, 2 per entrance = 20 per year. Say £25k salary = £500K

      However they probably don't have 20 spare officers hanging around with nothing to do and no ability to short term recruit an officer for an unknown length of time so they do it using overtime shifts at double rate.

      That is now £1 million per year. Now need to add on all the ancillary resources, the meetings regarding this, intelligence operations, media relations etc. That might add another £500K.

      Then you add the fudge factor of 1.8 and you are approaching the £11million when rounded up (You can't say £10million as that would sound way too arbitrary).

      Yep, it's way too much money.

  10. ukgnome Silver badge

    bail dodger scum

    Turn yourself in - let the UK process you then fuck off.

  11. Steve 114
    FAIL

    In one respect all this is rather sad. Wikileaks was once essential information in a counter-culture kind of way, and many of us felt good about it. Thanks to the antics of this man, their Brand is totally busted.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Simple Folk,

    He is the face of an organisation tasked with releasing documents you are not supposed to see because your respective governments are twats. Therefore any opportunity to disgrace, discredit and get him will be used by those governments. He may be a pretentious prick but you have to ask if what is being said and used is actually valid.

    Regards,

    AC.

    Ps. Do you not think the focus on the head of such an organisation detracts from what that that organisation publishes?

    Oh look a squirrel!

    1. Andrew Norton

      Nope.

      first off, a lot of the more recent 'scoops' have been comeplete 'nothingburgers'. The DNC leaks told very little that anyone who bothered to learn how the system works and is designed to work didn't already know. They whipped it up into a frenzy of 'great revelation' though.

      There have been other times when the content could have been partially redacted to obscure Personally Identifyable info, and still gotten the message across - because he's lost so many people who do the actual work, they don't have time to do that any more, not and keep up a race to dump as much nonsense and spin it as news, because people catch on it's another storm ina teacup.

      And if you think Assange's personal issues were a detraction from the core mission of Wikileaks, you're not alone. He should have stepped back from Wikileaks, and focused on his problems, while letting wikileaks carry on (since he does very little work himself, except for press releases and management). He chose to not do that, DELIBERATELY.

      Why? Well, because his entire defense rests on 'but I'm Wikileaks, and I'm awesome, and they're trying to shut wikileaks down'. Kinda glosses over the fact that now they're not so much a whistleblower, as the document version of a moneylaunderer for people who want documents of dubious public interest published. His entire justification for his embassy run is 'the yanks want me cos wikileaks', he's the one thats taking wikileaks and distracting it with Assange's problematic personal activities. Thats the only way they can distract from them having nothing, and very little credibility left.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Agreed and add to that Chelsea Manning, any search on wikileaks is only going to return crap which was my original point which is getting downvoted by people that don't understand how all this works. Fill the internet with shit and when you search for it all you will get is shit. Are people really that dumb?

  13. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Send in the S.A.S.

    What's Ecuador gonna do -- cut off the shrimp?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Ecuador

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Send in the S.A.S.

      I really doubt it takes the SAS to get into a flat in Knightsbridge. Just politely knocking would do just as well.

      But it's an embassy, so you don't do that sort of thing without good reason. And Assange is not good enough reason to risk one of the fundamental tenets of international law. Embassies are incredibly important, because it's how governments talk to each other. And jaw-jaw is almost always better than war-war.

      So it's inconvenient, but then it's even more inconvenient for Ecuador. Who've been desperate to solve this situation, and get him out of their embassy for years. The problem is, they don't want to lose face by backing down, so the Foreign Office are probably chuckling quite happily about their discomfort.

  14. James O'Shea Silver badge

    Frankly

    I would let him sit there until he comes out and gets plonked into the pokey for jumping bail, or until the heat death of the universe, whichever comes first.

    If he comes out, after he gets plonked, I'd deport him to Ecuador and let them do whatever they liked with him. I'd just call Ecuador and have them send an Official Ecuadorian Government Aircraft to pick him up. And have the OEGA carry a vehicle of some kind which can pick him up at the gate of whichever of HM Prisons he was a guest at, so that it's Ecuadorian all the way... and anything which might or might not happen en route is NOT HM Government's problem.

    If, as is likely, the Ecuadorians decline to send an OEGA, I'd put his ass on a Riff-RAF Airlines C-130 and heave him out over Quito. Who knows, he might actually listen when instructed on how to use a parachute and so survive the trip. Maybe.

    1. Florida1920 Silver badge

      Re: Frankly

      I'm reminded of a "Spooks" ("MI-5" in the States) episode, where a Jaguar and a motorbike enter a tunnel. A few moments later, only the bike exits.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Frankly

      James O'Shea,

      The problem for St Jules is that he's got 4 more years of this. The Swedish Prosecutors Office haven't dropped the investigation, only suspended it for lack of progress. Their courts told them it was disproportionate to continue the chase without any prospect of a solution, him having hidden in an embassy and that embassy not cooperating with the investigation.

      So as soon as he pops out and hopefully gets dragged off to court and a couple of months chokey for bail-jumping - the Swedes just need to get the tippex out, change the date, remove the charges that expired after 5 years, and re-issue the EAW. That's been ruled legal, so then it's off to Sweden for him, chop-chop. Then they can finally do their pre-charge interview and either charge him or release him. Then try him, or deport him.

  15. PhilipN Silver badge

    Unwanted lodger

    Let's put aside all the frippery about warrants and extradition and show solidarity with the junior staff at the embassy. Sheesh they have had him hanging up his socks to dry over their wash basin for years. Having to accept pizza deliveries in the middle of the night .... listen to him practising the banjo .... sluicing his short and curlies from the bath tub ... and don't even ask about the persistent knocking on the back door at all hours followed by the waft of cheap perfume up the stairs.

    I am sure the local (and overseas) staff are the ones who would see him kicked out any time - not tomorrow - NOW!

    [Icon optional]

  16. x 7 Silver badge

    why not sever diplomatic relationships with Ecuador and force closure of the embassy?

    Its not as if it would affect any trade, we just buy a bit of coffee and vanilla from them, they buy fuck all from us, so sod 'em

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Problem is the rest of South America could respond out of solidarity. Now, there may be little of value in Ecuador, but suppose you lose access to Venezuela's petroleum. Or something else valuable that just happens to come from a South American country?

      1. peter_dtm

        The Venezuelan socialists are already working hard to ensure there’s no more oil, they’l probably succeed long before it gets out of the embassy, so the oil is a moot point.

  17. Zero Sum

    Australia is the danger for Assangel

    Assangel presumably entered the UK on an Australian passport, so if they wanted to deport him, that's where he would be headed (please correct me if I am wrong), regardless of his new Ecuadorian citizenship.

    Given Australia's increasingly authoritarian behaviour and its subservient relationship to the USA, it could be Australia that would extradite him to the States, thus saving the UK any further embarrassment and giving Uncle Sam a sweet little present.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rendition time

    You can't publish all the shit he has and then think you have more options than being tortured by the US + Life Without... or self imprisonment in some embassy... seriously, what did he think was going to happen?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But Wikipedia Says It Is Allowed ...

    ... so it must be correct and he must be let free .....

  20. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Kafka lives

    One interesting aspect is that he is being charged with jumping bail - which he did. But as the original warrant and charges that he was on bail for have been withdrawn, he shouldn't have been on bail in the first place, as he had (technically) not done anything wrong.

    1. Dapprman

      Re: Kafka lives

      Doesn't matter whether the original charges were followed through or dropped, or if he was found innocent or guilty, bail jumping is a completely separate criminal offence and unrelated to the reasons behind the arrest. I still can't believe that the bail holders were let off the hook and not charged the bail money they pledged (which they should have been).

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Kafka lives

        Were they "let off"? A cursory Google says they were ordered to pay up within a month of a bail hearing on 8 Oct 2012 and a Russia Today article saying it was paid with an interview with one of the bail backers saying he didn't regret paying up.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Kafka lives

      "But as the original warrant and charges that he was on bail for have been withdrawn,"

      The process has been suspended, not dropped. Big, big difference.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kafka lives

      So what, to use your logic, if he'd killed someone whilst trying to evade arrest, he should be let off that too because the original EAW has been suspended?

      No, he broke the law and is still subject to it if and when he ever sets foot outside the embassy.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Kafka lives

        Can anyone tell me why he hasn't been tried in-absentia for the bail jumping?

    4. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Kafka lives

      But as the original warrant and charges that he was on bail for have been withdrawn, he shouldn't have been on bail in the first place, as he had (technically) not done anything wrong.

      I'm afraid this in wrong on every level.

      Firstly Sweden have never charged him. Their legal system is different to ours and he buggered off to Blighty the night before his interview, where they could charge him.

      Secondly charges haven't been withdrawn. Well obviously they haven't even been pressed yet. But the investigation hasn't been dropped. They've just stopped pursuing it, and withdrawn the International Arrest Warrant. They're free to re-issue the EAW as soon as progress looks more likely - it was only cancelled because they got their wrists slapped by their courts for carrying on with a case that was impossible to resolve.

      But that still doesn't mean he retrospectively shouldn't have been on bail in the first place. That would be ludicrous - as it would basically be saying to criminals that if you can run away for long enough, you can get away with it.

      Actually Sweden do that, with their statute of limitations. Something I think is immoral, even if there are good reasons for it. Like Berlusconi getting away with all those fraud convictions, by running so many appeals, that the final appeal hadn't been heard before the statute of limitations ran out - so he got off even though the previous court had convicted him. Or in fact Assange getting away with hiding for 5 years from the sexual assault allegations, in order to avoid having to face his accusors in court. He's now just 3 1/2 years from running away from his rape case - which doesn't exactly do much justice to the alleged victims.

      Anyway his breach of legitimate bail was a crime when he did it. And just because he's successfully hidden from justice, doesn't seem a good reason to let him off that - given he knew full well what he was doing when he did it. I hope Ecuador kick him out before the time runs out, so those 2 Swedish women get their day in court. Be funny if he was found not guilty, and had wasted 6 years in voluntary hiding... Well maybe not really funny, but I think I'd still laugh.

  21. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    A solution

    A bit of negotiation.

    Assagne surrenders to the warrant.

    Taken straight to the magistrates' court for an immediate hearing.

    Pleads guilty.

    Prosecution points out that bail jumping is a serious matter so imprisonment is fully justified but as the original warrant has been dropped, he's spent the time on bail under what's effectively self-imposed house arrest, has voluntarily surrendered and has agreed to leave the country immediately if set free the Crown believes the imprisonment could be suspended. Say six months for two years you worship?

    Defence confirms intent to leave but counters saying a conditional discharge would be appropriate.

    Court imposes 5 months suspended two years.

    In and out of court in five minutes

    Fast car to Heathrow timed to arrive just in time to catch a flight to Ecuador leaving the US no time to get extradition papers prepared and Swedes no time to reissue the EWA.

    That's if he keeps his mouth shut except to confirm his name and plead guilty. If he tries to make a speech in court he gets 14 days and there'll be an extradition warrant and an EWA waiting when he gets out. Likewise if he tries to hold a press conference after leaving court the car gets held up in traffic and he misses his plane and finds there's no available seat for several days.

    1. stephanh Silver badge

      Another solution

      Ecuadorian embassy personnel throw Assange out of the window, and in return, British diplomats will only *occasionally* remind them of the whole embarrassing affair.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another solution

        Defenestration is the only solution! :)

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Another solution

          Nope, he's only two stories up IIRC. He'd survive the attempt.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A solution

      In all honesty do you think that plane would get anywhere near Ecuador? Look at what they did when after Snowden e.g. President of Bolivia. It's not going to end well for him no matter what he tries. He might as well just accept his fate though I would recommend enjoying the facilities at the Embassy before he does because he's going to be shitting in a bucket for the rest of his life and no I don't think any of this is right or just on both sides.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: A solution

        "In all honesty do you think that plane would get anywhere near Ecuador?"

        His problem. He didn't think that far ahead when jumping bail, would he now? The likelihood is that if he accepted the deal and he'd still not be able to keep his mouth shut.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A solution

          Do I need to repeat myself?

          "I don't think any of this is right or just on both sides."

    3. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

      Re: a solution

      Brilliant. Gets him off your soil, allows the UK to show it is not a lapdog to the US, and maintains that jumping bail is an actionable offense. I especially like the part about forcing Assange to keep his damned yap shut.

    4. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: A solution

      "Fast car to Heathrow"

      LOL. Will need to be a motorbike and the hearing will need to in Uxbridge.

    5. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: A solution

      Doctor Syntax,

      How's about, "fuck him".

      And the horse he rode in on. I've still never quite worked out what that's supposed to mean. Or what the poor horsey did wrong to deserve being included...

      He got a perfectly decent legal due process, in a nice comfortable country house until he broke bail.

      He's the one that made a high profile song-and-dance about it all. So why help him? Come to that, why help Ecuador. There was no justification for them giving him political asylum, given he'd had due process in the UK - and so I rather suspect the FCO are enjoying the embassy's discomfort. Even if it was legal to tell the judges what to do (which it isn't), I don't see that they have the motivation to do so. I'm sure quiet back-channel words can still be had - but why would the government want to spend political capital or risk the criminal offence of trying to pervert the course of justice in this case?

      He made his bed, let him lie in it. They gave him his bed, let them put up with him.

  22. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

    Come again?

    Julian Assange is a political prisoner of the United Kingdom (which is a vassal of the US), no matter how much machiavellianism you smother it in.

    Vote up, Vote down, truth is truth

    Whatever wrongs Julian Assange has done, they pale into complete insignificance when you consider the crimes and corruption he has helped to reveal.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Come again?

      Vote down, because bollocks is bollocks.

      He's accused of rape. He should stand trial for rape. All that the UK system has done is to try to get him to Sweden, where he fled those accusations. If our system was less fair-minded, we'd have fucking locked him up while he was on bail, and avoided all these problems. Those women would have had their day in court, and he'd have either been found not-guilty, or probably been released by now if he was guitly.

  23. Asterix the Gaul

    The Ecuadorean government should accredit Julian ASSANGE with diplomatic status in another friendly country,for which he could then claim diplomatic immunity in the UK, job done, F'CK the USA & the UK gov't.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      ANY diplomatic immunity in the UK can ONLY be accorded BY the UK. That's why the UK also has the power to declare someone persona non grata in the UK.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Asterix the Gual,

      Ecuador did make him a diplomat a couple of weeks ago.

      The UK Foreign Office refused to accept his status - which is apparently a legal grey area. They didn't declare him persona non grata, because that would technically accept that he had the status, and therefore had the legal right to leave the country. Instead they challenged Ecuador to lawyer-up and try their luck in court.

      That's a case that would got all the way to the Supreme Court, and maybe off to Europe (ECJ or ECHR?) or even the ICC in the Hague. So Assange could probaby sit out the rest of the statute of limitations on his case for alleged rape. Of course Ecuador would have to put up with him in their embassy all that time... Not to mention all that cash funnelled towards m'learned friends.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "which is apparently a legal grey area." do you have a reference for this as what I've read seems to suggest it's pretty black and white, a visiting country can request diplomatic status for any of their citizens but the host country is under no obligation to grant it.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          I posted a link above to my reference. Which isn't so easy to do on this phone.

          The short version is that the Vienna Conventions allow the receiving state to refuse to accept an ambassador totally. But all other mission staff cannot be refused before they take up their post, and thus our only recourse is to declare him persona non grata and he gets to leave the country.

          However there are a few other clauses that can be used to maybe argue against this. Plus the barrack-room lawyers arguing from the text of the convention ignore the UK legislation that brings it into force in our law. And also ignore any legal precedents, which is the reason you have to pay proper lawyers in cases like this.

          The FCO challenged Ecuador to lawyer-up. What's telling, I think, is that they haven't. Also Assange is trying some crap about retrospectively letting him off bail, and isn't claiming diplomatic immunity.

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
  24. Killing Time

    Send in a dentist and a sun lamp

    While our judiciary consider his application at their leisure......

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: Send in a dentist and a sun lamp

      Is it safe? Is it safe?

      1. Killing Time

        Re: Send in a dentist and a sun lamp

        Probably, but given St Jules widely reported personal hygiene habits, an NBC suit and a cattle prod are recommended PPE requirements.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    His defence counsel, extradition law specialist Mark Summers QC, told Westminster Magistrates' Court today that the British bail arrest warrant "had lost its purpose and its function".

    Summers' argument references the fact that the original European Arrest Warrant issued by Swedish authorities against Assange, for questioning regarding two allegations of sexual assault made in 2010, was removed in May 2017.

    The lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service then said in court that since Assange had "failed to surrender to custody in answer to bail, [therefore] the warrant still stood," adding that "rewarding" the defendant with “effective immunity” for having dodged proceedings was not appropriate.

    In addition, rewarding St Jules for his ability to abuse the asylum process to wait for the expiry of the Swedish charges to expire should also not be rewarded IMHO.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for a new couch?

    The old one is very LUMPY.

    Get 6 guys to carry it out to an awaiting van....

    Hint Hint

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Time for a new couch?

      Van is not immune. ANYTHING potentially large enough to conceal a person is subject to search as part of the ongoing investigation. Scotland Yard ain't stupid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Time for a new couch?

        'Scotland Yard ain't stupid.'

        Just corrupt?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Time for a new couch?

        "Scotland Yard ain't stupid."

        Now you're just being silly!

  27. Charlie Boy
    Headmaster

    What will really happen

    1/ The limitations act 1980 does not apply in criminal cases, the UK has no statute of limitations for crimes.

    2/ Failure to Surrender to Bail is a crime in itself , and the tariff is not affected by what happens to the original charges. so the fact that the Swedes have dropped the charges will have no baring.

    3/ When he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy, assuming no deals, he would normally be arrested, held in police custody until he can be held on remand in a London prison, until the Failure to Surrender to Bail case can be heard in a UK court. This may take some time, given current funding for UK courts.

    4/ Under current guidelines, and given he is guilty, he would probably only be fined, given a suspended sentence, along with probable deportation.

    5/ Whilst he is on remand Sweden or the Land of the 'Free' may choose to restart their cases against him and put in a new extradition request.

    6/ Given his bail jumping history it is extremely unlikely he will ever be given bail again in the UK, and so will be held on remand at all stages until he leaves the country, either by deportation or extradition.

    For those who are interested, below are the current sentencing guidelines for failure to surrender to bail.

    https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/publications/item/failure-to-surrender-to-bail-definitive-guideline/

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: What will really happen

      Neglecting Assange's concern that he will be "Extraordinarily Rendered" or simply have an "unfortunate accident" between any two points of your plan.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What will really happen

        'The lady doth protest too much methinks',

        Julian has a highly elevated sense of his own importance to the US or anyone else in the world.

      2. Andrew Norton

        Re: What will really happen

        "Neglecting Assange's concern that he will be "Extraordinarily Rendered" or simply have an "unfortunate accident" between any two points of your plan."

        Yeah, only downside is that he voluntarily ran to the Uk. No-one who ever fears extradition to the US would ever go to the UK, certainly not a non-UK citizen, because of the 'express extradition treaty'. It ONLY makes sense if you look at it as an Australian looking to leave Sweden immediately (that night) for a country he can stay in for more than 30 days.

        He then sat in the UK for 600+ days (618 I think) in a known spot most of the time, with a well publicized daily walk down a predictable path to a rural police station at the same time every day. If you're afraid of 'rendition' or 'accidents', you don't do this.

        His decision to run came just 2 days after a final ruling about the Swedish EAW was handed down. At that point US extradition was impossible, he knew that (in fact when he went to Sweden, he made a public note that they have a honest judiciary, a free press, and a ban on extraditing to the US for political crimes with history to back it up (in 1992 they refused to extradite the *ONLY* CIA officer to ever defect to the USSR - Edward Hoawrd defected via finland 5 years earlier, escaping arrest in the US - letting him go freely. That was a US citizen indicted on espionage charges, with a President who'd not only been vice president when the defection happened, but was a former head of the CIA)

        The whole 'US wants him' story is a fantasy, with nothing to substantiate it except Assange's own claims, and lots to destroy the narrative, including Assange's own actions and statements.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What will really happen

          Thing was, Edward Howard was covered by the Russians, so the US couldn't "accident" him because the Russians would immediately cry foul, and (a) they have nukes and (b) this was at the tag end or just after the Cold War, so let's just say hostile sentiment was still there.

          What assurances does Assange have that he won't get an "unfortunate accident"? What kind of repercussions could the US face that the US won't just blow off or challenge, "PROVE it wasn't an accident"?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ASSANGE

    My advice to the Ecuadorians is to agree with a 'friendly' country to make ASSANGE a diplomat to their country.

    Once appointed, with his credentials presented, he would then be able to use his status as a diplomat to leave the UK embassy, where, if arrested, he could then claim the immunity denied to him by this country.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ASSANGE

      Nope.

      Doesn't work like that, the Ecuadorian's tried this move but presenting credentials to the UK doesn't mean they have to be accepted by the UK so no immunity.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: ASSANGE

        I love it when ACs disagree with each other.

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