back to article Get in line, USA: Sweden reopens Assange rape allegations probe

Sweden's deputy director of public prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson is reopening an investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange regarding allegations of rape. In early April the lawyer for the injured party in Scandanavia asked prosecutors to resume the preliminary investigation. The allegations date from August 2010. …

  1. JetSetJim Silver badge

    It will be interesting to find out which extradition request gets precedence. On the one hand, Sweden originally "filed first", but then dropped the warrant and now the US has "filed first".

    I'd prefer him to go to Sweden, though.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Holmes

      Given the Choice...

      ...between US Justice and rape charges, St. Julian will probably want to go to Sweden as well.

      Sherlock icon, cuz it's elementary...

    2. Joe Harrison

      Han filed first

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >I'd prefer him to go to Sweden, though.

      He'll be going to the US via Sweden, Julian don't put a deposit on a house for the next 30 years.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "It will be interesting to find out which extradition request gets precedence."

      Assagne won't be seen ever again if he steps on Swedish soil: NSA black plane flies him directly to Guantanamo.

      That's what Persson has agreed with US, and that's why she re-opened already expired case, illegally of course.

      1. The Vociferous Time Waster

        Obviously that’s bollocks but do you think you have sources for any of it?

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        Bullsh*t

        The case is not expired. There were several charges of which *some* have expired. Those charges are not (and cannot be) refiled. The charges that are still valid are being refiled as they should be.

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        >NSA black plane flies him directly to Guantanamo.

        Letting your imagination get away with you. This is the UK, you don't need conspriacy when bumbling incompetence will achieve the same result: the UK authorities will put Assagne on a flight to Sweden, only it will be operated by American Airlines or similar...

        1. e^iπ+1=0

          mmm ... I think you mean lasagne

          "put Assagne on a flight to Sweden, only it will be operated by American Airlines or similar..."

          I think you only get lasagne in business class on American Airlines. Maybe they serve "Ass"agne in coach?

  2. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Quite an exciting life.

    Not for me, thank you. I prefer my own, boring life.

  3. mark l 2 Silver badge

    If the UK decided to extradite to the US on some computer hacking charges as opposed to Sweden on what I think 99% of the population would see as a more serious offence. That would show there is something seriously wrong with the UK justice system.

    1. Brangdon

      Agreed. Sweden should get priority for several reasons. Theirs is the more serious crime. They filed first originally, and only suspended because Assange fled to the embassy. Assange has already contested the EAW so if the new one is the same, there should be less scope for delays. And the Swiss statute of limitations runs out in a year or two, so if Assange does get sent to America he'll likely to be there so long that he can never be tried for the alleged rapes.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is an interesting choice

    Personally, I think the Swedes should have priority as it was their charges Mr A was trying to run from originally.

    However, for entertainment value I think that he should be offered both and ask which one he wants to answer.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: It is an interesting choice

      "should have priority as it was their charges Mr A was trying to run from originally."

      I don't know if extradition law works on a first come first served basis, or if it is more dependent on the severity of the alleged crime. But in both cases, Sweden's claim trumps the US one. Unless, of course, there are additional factors in the decision, like 'our 5-eyes chums get precedence just because'

  5. Anomalous Cowshed

    statue

    Oh, they can keep their statue of liberty. We have the statue of limitation. It may start with an L but it's a longer word.

    1. Steve Knox
      Meh

      Re: statue

      So is "statute".

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: statue

        @Steve Knox

        WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!

        The Anomolous Cowherd was commenting on the fact that the article erroneously used statue of limitations, instead of statute of limitations.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now we see whether he was right to run

    If the UK sends him to Sweden, then he should get a fair trial for the serious crime he's accused of. If they send him to the US then it will be the political trial he said would happen and any verdict will reflect how angry the US government is rather than the facts.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Now we see whether he was right to run

      The US may actually prefer him to go to Sweden first in the hope that he is convicted there. They can then ask for an extradition of convicted sex offender. That would play much better in a US court. They love to sway the jury with unrelated issues there.

      (not saying he's guilty of anything here, just looking at a possible US justice system way of thinking)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Now we see whether he was right to run

      "If the UK sends him to Sweden, then he should get a fair trial for the serious crime he's accused of"

      Will never happen. If UK gives him to Swedes he's as good as dead and disposed of, immediately.

      1. Ken 16 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Now we see whether he was right to run

        Because Sweden is known for it's Authoritarian regime and government death squads?

        https://www.thelocal.se/20180626/sweden-best-reputation-world

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The Beeb's report includes a statement from Wikileaks that they hope the Swedish case goes ahead so that he'll have a chance to clear his name. I suppose that explains why he left Sweden for the UK and then jumped bail into the Ecuadoran embassy but I have to admit I find the logic a tad difficult to follow.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Likewise. If only he'd thought to clear his good name sooner. Also curious about who gets priority, and how much longer he'll end up spending in Belmarsh while lawyers argue that one out. Luckily, no Judge Damocles to do any creative habeus corpus dispositions though.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      But obviously the Swedes are so much more closely aligned with US, what with their 'Special Relationship', and shared language and everything, they were much more likely to give in to an extradition request from the US, so fleeing to the neutral UK made much more sense.

      Wait, I think I might have made a mistake somewhere above...

      1. GrapeBunch Silver badge
        Coat

        Sauce optional

        You forgot about the Swedish Chef.

        Mine's the one with meatballs.

      2. Flywheel Silver badge

        Special Relationship

        Wot?! Do Sweden have a Special Relationship as well? I thought the whole idea of that was making sure Britain paid off the WW2 debt incurred when the US gave us a loan?

  8. S4qFBxkFFg

    There may be legal subtleties I have not considered, but this may actually be good news for him - if I ever was unfortunate enough to be facing prison in both Sweden and the USA, I'd definitely hope to end up in the former.

    Can he shorten the process by dropping any opposition to the Swedish request, while still fighting the American one?

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds

      That's partly what makes it so clear he fled from justice. Sweden doesn't have a bend over backwards extradition treaty with the US.

      "Can he shorten the process by dropping any opposition to the Swedish request"

      He can't object to it at all, so it doesn't matter. He tried that route before he fled to the embassy.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Can he shorten the process by dropping any opposition to the Swedish request, while still fighting the American one?

      Dunno. AFAIK, he'd exhausted all appeal options with the previous EAW, hence taking up residence in Ecuador. So not sure if he'd have any new grounds to appeal any new EAW, or if the US would have priority seeing as they asked first. Given we've got the body, it's the UK's challenge to keep him detained until the lawyers figure that out. I guess the US could let the Swedes go first, then have marshalls waiting when he's released to escort him to the States.

      It's a strange case though, so bit of deja vu given Assange is now back to where he was 7 years ago, with the additional interest of the US. Curious who advised him to take this route, or if he just ignored his legal advisors.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      The Swedish Prosecutor says that they can interview him in the UK (this interview is required before they can actually charge him) only if he gives permission. I don't know who was stopping that process happening when he was hiding in the embassy, but it took over a year to fail to negotiate that interview - and I very strongly suspect it was him obstructing it. So I guess he'll publicly say he will, but actually refuse - while claiming it's all a conspiracy as usual.

      However a European Arrest Warrant is supposed to be quick and easy. And it's already been tested in court in his case. I've no idea who decides priority between the Swedes and the US though - but I'm betting the Home Secretary. Although the EAW system is supposed to be automatic and free from political interference. So maybe that's one for the courts. Can Assange managed to delay it with multiple appeals until the clock ticks down? The Berlusconi option...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I don't know who was stopping that process happening when he was hiding in the embassy"

        I think the english word "interview" is slightly misleading as applied here. IIRC Swedish law requires an interview be carried out as part of the procedure to charge someone with a crime, and I think that's what the Swedish authorities were actually trying to do.

        I also seem to remember that the negotiation to interview Assange within the embassy failed because Assange's side were trying to place restrictions on the Swedish investigators - chiefly that they couldn't charge Assange at the end of the interview and take him away for trial. Those restrictions meant that no progress could be made by the Swedish prosecutors, so there was literally no reason for them to go ahead. Of course, Assange and co just claimed that their generous offers to speak to Swedish investigators were refused, and implied that the Swedes were acting in bad faith, rather than just following their own (proper) legal processes.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          I think the Swedish system sounds rather neat, ie the formal interview pre-charging. AFAIK in 'normal' cases, there's a kind of reciprocity, ie Swedish investigators could interview a suspect in a UK custody suite and that satisfies Sweden's formal procedures. And like you say, I think the problem for Sweden is the conditions that were imposed on the interview. As it's a legal process, I doubt there's much flexibility allowed. So it'd be like the UK conducting a non-PACE interview in a basement full of used phone books, and inadmissable.

          Same with attempts to impose other conditions, ie a guarantee that Sweden would not extradite to the US.. Which would presumably violate existing extradition treaties.

  9. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Best outcome for Assange™

    Am I right in thinking that the least harsh realistic outcome for He-who-Wikileaks is a rape conviction in Sweden and the obligation to remain there as a guest of His Majesty?

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds

      Re: Best outcome for Assange™

      Probably multiple Swedish convictions. But the UK isn't done with him yet. He still faces serious charges here; they slapped a year in him in a summary trial so they can hold him while they decide what to do. There are a whole sheaf of perverting the course of justice charges that could be brought, including very serious ones like witness intimidation.

      One solution to the whole mess is for the UK to give him multiple life sentences on those charges, at which point he's never getting out anyway.

      Probably the best Assange can hope for is a successful M'Naghton plea and subsequent treatment for whatever personality disorder led him to claim it was impossible for anyone to refuse consent to St Julian. But I still doubt he'd ever be considered safe to release.

      1. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: Best outcome for Assange™

        "One solution to the whole mess is for the UK to give him multiple life sentences on those charges, at which point he's never getting out anyway."

        It costs £23k per year to keep someone in prison. Why should UK taxpayers pay to keep him locked up?

        Do the world a favour and stick the sad little coward on the next plane to Guantanamo.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Best outcome for Assange™

          I'd rather we invaded Cuba to take control of Guantanamo and shut it down completely. Something the Americans should've done years ago.

          £23k/year is infinitely cheaper than destroying any concept of justice or rule of law.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      by the time he gets out Venezuela will be part of the US anyway.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      *coff* Ecuador *coff*

    3. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Unpaid rent

      That would be Ecuador.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unpaid rent

        Why do people keep quoting "sash" tunes?

  11. Velv Silver badge
    Flame

    If he hadn't jumped bail he'd probably have served any sentence in Sweden and be supping cocktails on Bondi beach by now.

    Alas an overblown ego has brought us seven years and a distinct feeling of déjà vu.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "be supping cocktails on Bondi beach by now"

      Would that be the same Bondi beach where US agents implant victims with skin cancer?

      What? There has to be some conspiracy otherwise no one would care...

    2. jmch Silver badge

      "he'd probably have served any sentence in Sweden and be supping cocktails on Bondi beach by now."

      Not to mention that being confined to a Swedish prison was probably preferable to being confined to the Ecuadorean embassy.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If he hadn't jumped bail he'd probably have served any sentence in Sweden"

      False. The US had an unmarked plane waiting for him in Arlanda airport already, so he'd never been seen again. And Swedes would claim he somehow "escaped". That play was already written.

      No court in Sweden, not anything else than hopefully quick death by CIA. Instead of decades of torture in Guantanamo.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Here is a list of detainees in Gitmo. Look down the names. Anything jump out at you? Anything at all?

        True, there is one name among the 500-plus that's as western as "Julian Assange'. David Hicks was detained there for a bit over five years before being deported to Australia. But he maintained his name was Mohammed Dawood, and he was captured in Afghanistan during the US invasion, so still not quite like Assange.

        1. jmch Silver badge
          Coat

          "Here is a list of detainees in Gitmo"

          That's the ones anyone knows about, at least.

          And of course the list doesn't include the 2 most famous toker escapees :)

        2. Cederic Silver badge

          re: Here is a list of detainees in Gitmo. Look down the names. Anything jump out at you? Anything at all?

          Yes. None of them have received a fair trial, none of them have been treated with anything remotely resembling dignity and none of them should be there.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not paranoia if they're really all out to get you...

    Poor, poor, Julian, he's been crying wolf for years, and now the wolves are circling.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, now for the fun part..

    .. as far as I know, no EU state entertains the idea for prison sentences to run concurrently so he can look forward to a somewhat uncomfortable and limited tour of prisons. UK, Sweden, US, and no Ferrero Rocher in sight this time.

    On the plus side, there's no cat litter box to clean either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah, now for the fun part..

      "On the plus side, there's no cat litter box to clean either."

      ...Unless one administration or another takes an ironic view to his prison toilet facilities!

    2. BobProton

      Re: Ah, now for the fun part..

      "stomach problems" still

  14. Dave314159ggggdffsdds

    "Assange has always denied the accusations."

    No, he has never denied them. He admitted the facts as alleged are true, and claimed they don't constitute a crime: his defence was solely a point of law. Obviously, physically holding down a woman while she begs you to stop is rape everywhere, and when he was told that by the UK courts he fled to the Ecuadorian embassy.

    It's also simply not true that Sweden ever dropped or closed the case against Assange.

    As for extradition priority, Assange has to serve any further jail time the UK gives him before he can be extradited anywhere. If the US request takes priority then Assange has successfully evaded Swedish justice by fleeing UK custody and so faces a life sentence for perverting the course of justice. More to the point, the US doesn't need to extradite him, because he's spending the rest of his life in jail anyway. The nature of his defence is such that there are undoubtedly a whole string of previous offences which haven't become public yet because he wasn't around to be prosecuted. Once he's convicted by Sweden, he'll face charges around the world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "because he's spending the rest of his life in jail anyway"

      -- except, few people who get a life sentence actually spend the rest of their life in jail.

      1. Flywheel Silver badge
        Unhappy

        I suspect that if the US get their way, "the rest of his life" will not be a long time and he'll have an unusual accident in prison.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          or he'll use his charm and interpersonal skills on the other prisoners and have a very usual accident there

    2. Snorlax Silver badge

      @Dave314159..........

      ”More to the point, the US doesn't need to extradite him, because he's spending the rest of his life in jail anyway.”

      Dunno what part of the world you’re from but in Europe “life” means ~20 years, and is usually reserved for murder/manslaughter...

  15. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Assange has always denied the accusations"

    We're talking about Sweden, here. If there is a country in the world where I would be confident to go on trial if I was innocent of an accusation, it would be Sweden. Before my own home country of France, actually.

    So he should go deny the accusations in Swedish court, where he will undoubtedly get a fair trial.

    I can't help but think his first motive is to avoid a fair trial. I wonder what could possibly be the cause of that ?

  16. Nick Kew

    Hot potato

    The Swedish prosecutor is just doing her job. But I bet the Swedish government is less than thrilled at the prospect of having to deal with an extradition request from the US.

    If he goes to Sweden, I wonder how it'll play into the scenario that's been speculated on whereby Uncle Sam, having grabbed him, then presents a much more serious charge than on the extradition order? It is said that the country that handed him over has a veto on that. Blighty vs Sweden: who would exercise such a veto vs nod through whatever the 'merkins might try?

  17. karlkarl Bronze badge

    Isn't the Swedish case just a means to an end for the US?

    So perhaps they will cut the middle man and just try to get him shipped directly to the US. If so I imagine the Swedish rape case will just fade out into the history books.

  18. bussdriver

    It's all a scam

    It's all fitting right into the paranoid descriptions but delayed by 9 years. No charges in the USA was a lie; the political pressure to get him exposed to that is real; the unprecedented treatment of a warrant for questioning... when they Skipe murder suspects. Don't forget they openly let him leave without charges or questioning until a US "friendly" prosecutor was found to bring back the charges. Now we have the elevation of charges to Rape to make the 10 year limit when the previous charges ran out? Not to mention the early charges that were already thrown out by their supreme court which shouldn't have even been listed in the first place... Remember, the UK has prevented people from being sent to the USA because of it's inhumane justice system... something that should be even more apparent TODAY than 9 years ago... kidnapping, Trump encouraging abuse and stating torture is OK again...

    The leaked documents about smearing and seeding trouble within wikileaks have proven true (and Assange has sure helped them to that end but that is the clever kind of stuff that the CIA can do; remember, the Russians are masters of such techniques, so it's not unreaslistic.)

    The problem has never been facing court in Sweden or even jail time if he loses in the he said/she said zero-proof legal case. THE REAL PROBLEM was Sweden has zero confidence in standing up to the USA, the UK did have some hope. Ecuador did until a new president and billions from the world bank that they sorely needed; with such bad timing and their unprofessional character attacks along with them having to put out statements DENYING they were paid and not to look at the man behind the curtain in the back...

    The USA will make an example of anybody messing with them. Expect Assange to continue to be made miserable and ineffective for decades. Many ignorant Americans (synonymous by now, no?) think Assange is some kind of traitor despite not being a citizen! He could be put on trial here for that and the majority wouldn't grasp what is wrong... it's not like the media here is remotely competent.

  19. DrXym Silver badge

    Hiding out in that embassy worked out great

    He's seven years older, serving time for bail jumping and being extradited by two other countries. If he had surrendered himself back in the day he'd probably be a free man right now whether he'd been found guilty of rape or not.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " Persson is reopening the rape investigation"

    I see the US foreign minister has been giving "advice" to her on this thing, just like in the last time where no rape did exist, until Persson personally forced the females involved to succumb her demands and claim rape, several months afterwards.

    No proof whatsoever. Not then, not now.

    100% made-up accusation because of US-Sweden politics. Just like Sweden spying on all internet traffic that crosses the border and selling everything to NSA.

    This Persson is an asshole, first class.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prosecutor is an criminal asshole

    "The allegations date from August 2010."

    Which means they've expired in 2015, 4 years ago.

    But obviously mere legalese is not stopping this Persson-person to try again, as US-Sweden agreements are still valid: If Swedes get him, he's 'escaping', i.e. given to CIA/NSA and will vanish for ever.

    The manuscript to that play was written in 2010 and it hasn't changed an iota.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Prosecutor is an criminal asshole

      Some Anonymous Coward is throwing an awful lot of pro-Assange talking points into this "debate".

      I wouldn't mind, except that every single one of them is clearly and demonstrably complete bollocks. Please, link to something that makes an explicit argument rather than innuendo, or STFU.

      (This "expired' point, for instance - as you very well know - applies to lesser charges but not to "rape", which believe it or not is considered a serious crime, not the sort that expires after five years.)

      1. Casca

        Re: Prosecutor is an criminal asshole

        Yea, it is almost like it is the same person...cowardly person in this case

        1. Swarthy Silver badge

          Re: Prosecutor is an criminal asshole

          Can someone call Belmarsh and have 'em shut down Julian's WiFi? He's starting to annoy.

  22. steelpillow Silver badge

    Brexit - sorry to bring it up, but...

    I know it's not popular to say so here but I still think that Brexit could throw a wildcard into the UK's decision. If we decide that as an EU member the European warrant takes precedence, then that would settle it one way. But if by then we have crashed out via a hard option that has no extradition agreement then we might have to suspend any and all EU extraditions and hand him over to the US instead. Not saying that either is good or bad, just that the issue is there.

    1. Ken 16 Silver badge

      Re: Brexit - sorry to bring it up, but...

      I did wonder if the Ecuadorians had said he could stay until Brexit day then gave up when it receded.

  23. Phil Kingston

    He's back where he started. Or further back as he's now at Her Majesty's Pleasure. Makes him look like a bit of a numpty for choosing to spend years in a shoebox.

  24. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    It's amazing how much drivel the loons can invent:

    - Unmarked planes waiting at Arlanda

    - Sweden providing the NSA copies of all material (whether true or not, the NSA actually has a publicly disclosed station IN THE UK, so hard to see the relevance)

    - Sweden allegedly being willing to extradite than the UK (which is demonstrable bollocks: to be extradited by Sweden the offense needs to be a crime in Sweden _and_ the Swedish statue of limitations must not have expired _and_ the offense cannot be military or political _and_ the accused's fundamental human rights would not be abridged in _Sweden's_ eyes)

    - Sweden working hand in glove with the CIA, despite the fact that Sweden refused to extradite a former CIA officer and US citizen accused of spying for the Soviet Union back to the USA -- a guy called Edward Lee Howard.

    So that takes us to the dual criminality issue; it appears that under Swedish law Assange might be liable for prosecution for having made preparations for a data breach (via Manning). That might satisfy the dual criminality, but the maximum sentence is 2 years, so one suspects rather that, like the lesser sexual assault charges, the statute of limitations will have expired....

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't care either way

    Just lock the annoying drongo up for as long as possible.

    Please!

  26. Schultz

    Let's remember the US charges ...

    "conspiracy to commit computer intrusion".

    He didn't hack any US computer, he was in contact to someone who did and may have egged him on. Apparently he also tried to hack a password hash (unsuccessfully) that he was sent by Manning.

    We all know that the US authorities are mad, but do they have an actual case that would call for extradition? The US behaves like a bully in this case. Somebody was publicly embarrassed and now tries to ruin some lives for payback. I personally cheer for team transparency in this one.

  27. Torchy

    USA to be told no.

    We are going to tell the USA no.

    Julian Assange has diplomatic immunity and on the plus side has not killed anyone by driving on the wrong side of the road in the UK.

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