back to article Second time lucky: Sweden drops Julian Assange rape investigation

A rape investigation involving everyone's favourite cupboard-dwelling WikiLeaker, Julian Assange, has been dropped, Swedish prosecutors told the world's press today. Deputy director of public prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson told journalists that the case against Assange had been discontinued, around seven years after …

  1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Paedophilia seems like a particularly extreme (and tasteless) reaction to the situation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I don't think that was what was meant. I believe what was meant was a suspicious death before the truly guilty are revealed, Epstein simply being the most recent case of that.

        And how convenient that all this goes down just as Assange warned - everyone does whatever to facilitate the US deep state's desires.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sad

            The whole rape thing was a stunt

            With all due respect, it was nothing of the sorts. I have said repeatedly that the loudness of Assange supporters has denied the other parties in this to have their say - if anything, the one-sidedness has been from the Assange side and a full and proper investigation at the time would have provided actual factrs.

            If you really want to draw conclusions on insufficient data, the balance of evidence suggests that Assange did indeed rape the girls as per a definition that was confirmed in consecutive court sessions, and that he got away with it by abusing the asylum framework long enough for the evidence to expire. That does not make him innocent by any means, and there is no way you can spin the available data to somehow claim that dropping the prosecution equates exoneration.

            Personally, I have a feeling this delay tactic was also done on legal advice.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sad

              I got as far as 'girls' and gave up. You don't even know what the accusation said.

              Hint: If you're in Sweden and someone tells you to get an STD test, just do it. It's easier than picking through whether they're entitled to compel you by law.

          2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: Sad

            @Dave 15

            Prosecutors in the U.S. still has to prove to a jury that Julian Assange did in fact conspire to aid in breaking into a computer system as is alledged. Not just that he offered to publish data that another person got by breaking into a computer. If the case goes to trial, Assange cannot be compelled to testify in his own trial, and if he refuses to do that, it cannot be viewed by the jury as an admission of guilt or that he has something to hide. That is a higher bar of due process than he would face in most developed world judicial systems.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Coat

      @Blockchain commentard...

      First, the US can legally get him.

      There is nothing that can stop the extradition warrant against him.

      Look at it this way... w no Swedish extradition, he walks out the embassy, he goes to jail.

      The US has their request in the queue. He does his time as a bail jumper... then off to the US if they win in court. If not... off to Australia.

      If the US doesn't get him in the UK (and the smart money is on them getting him...) Assange gets sent back to Australia. The US can then again make the request.

      In prison, Assange will end up becoming someone's bee- sorry ... 'girlfriend'. Unless Hillary wants him ...

      then he'll end up like Rich or Epstein. What the latest meme? Epstein didn't kill himself?

      1. RunawayLoop

        Re: @Blockchain commentard...

        "There is nothing that can stop the extradition warrant against him"

        Except for (possibly) European Law.

        Freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment is protected under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

        Although how vigorously the law will be upheld in the UK is anyone's guess.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Blockchain commentard...

          Remind me how many people have been extradited to the UK from the US for killing someone on UK soil...lets go with the laat 12 months....0.

          If we can't try their people why can they try ours.

          1. Huw D Silver badge

            Re: @Blockchain commentard...

            Assange isn't ours.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Blockchain commentard...

        Yet again, snickering over the abuse that prisoners can be subject too.

        This is what we are.

  2. BillG
    WTF?

    Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

    "US Dept of Justice books one-way plane ticket in his name"

    I didn't see that anywhere in the article.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

      I'd find it hilarious if the US didn't bother, all that time in self imposed "prison" for nothing other than his own ego and fear of facing up to the consequences of his actions (whether you agree with them or not - they were illegal).

      1. shovelDriver

        Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

        Trying the charges separately . . .

        Many things are illegal, but the question is: Are they lawful?

        What Assange did (IMO) was to expose the criminal activities [unconstitutional, thus unlawful (but not illegal, according to the gov'ts interpretation)] of government. Naturally government says what he did is a crime.

        No matter what the demonstrably corrupt U.S. Supreme Court says, the only valid test for a law is if it meets the written (not interpreted) words of the U.S. "Law Of the Land". There are many "laws", the vast majority of which exceed the authority granted our government under the Constitution. Of course the Court and law enforcement say otherwise; would you talk yourself out of a very well paid job?

        Remember, the United States' Constitution places limits on government, not on the people. It specifically delegates and authorizes certain activities (only those activities). It is not a blank check as the Court, over the years, has made it out to be.

        There used to be a time where they taught this in school. Now, schools teach little or nothing. Instead, they indoctrinate. Revive the old Soviet Union, anyone?

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

          As a publisher I'm not sure that anything Assange did was illegal. The US is really trying to nail him on a technicality, the idea that he 'conspired with someone to unlawfully crack a password' or some such. Its about a bogus a charge as that rape claim.

          As for dragging the Soviet Union into this I don't know of any situation where the old USSR -- or even modern Russia -- claimed extraterritorial judicial rights over foreign citizens. The Federal judicial system in the US is very dicey to get involved with, unless you're well resourced you're basically screwed if it sets its sights on you. (Most criminal cases you hear about are in State court.) As for the criminal justice system being non-existent in the USSR, that's not true, its just that Russia, like most of Europe (and even Scotland) uses a different judicial model to the adversarial one used in the US and England. In this "Napoleonic" system guilt or innocence is generally determined before the trial which leads to the trial proper being more of a formality and so easily painted as some kind of kangaroo court. (In truth this is pretty much how the system works in the US for most cases -- culpability is decided by negotiation between a DA and the accused's attorney for the most part with the charges being adjusted to incentivize a plea bargain. Justice? Its all a matter of opinion....)

          1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

            The US is really trying to nail him on a technicality, the idea that he 'conspired with someone to unlawfully crack a password' or some such

            It seems to me that all laws are is a collection of technicalities in much the way that protons, electrons and neutrons make up atoms. There my be smaller legal particles waiting to be discovered, but construction on the Large Jurisprudential Collider is offline pending upgrades to the tort reactors and civil inducers.

            Mine has a copy of Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Law in the pocket.

          2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

            Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

            That's because the old Soviet Union, as well as the current Russian government, doesn't really bother with judicial process when it decides to murder someone. Or are those polonium bottles just fake news?

            Seriously, every imperial power has attempted to assert itself to the ends of its range. I do not defend the US in this regard. But, to this date, we have a formal process of law in which failures are still noteworthy.

            As for the case at hand, the publishing of the data by Assange led directly to the death of agents in Iran (and possibly elsewhere.) The First Amendment was never intended to protect some supposed right to endanger ongoing intelligence operations, and invoking it in this case is despicable. Yes, severe (in our system, mind you, NOT by the standards of the governments of Russia, China, NKorea, Iran, ...) abuse by the government was revealed. But there was no requirement to bundle both pieces of information and release them together.

            1. imanidiot Silver badge
              Black Helicopters

              Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

              " the publishing of the data by Assange led directly to the death of agents in Iran (and possibly elsewhere.)"

              So sayeth the TLAs that have most to lose if someone decides to actually limit or put in check their mass spying and most to gain by setting a harsh and thorough example for anyone who might care to investigate their gross misconduct and abuse of power worldwide.

              {Citation needed} as they say.

              1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

                Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

                {Citation needed} as they say

                The sound of crickets is deafening.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

            As a publisher I'm not sure that anything Assange did was illegal. The US is really trying to nail him on a technicality, the idea that he 'conspired with someone to unlawfully crack a password' or some such. Its about a bogus a charge as that rape claim.

            Dealing with the latter first, the rape claim was far from bogus, and him succeeding in dragging it out until time and process expired is by no means evidence that it was a hoax. Based on the data I have seen, I'd say it was as genuine and serious as they come, but the girls didn't have hero worship in their corner.

            Secondly, Assange actively convinced someone to commit a crime (and then didn't offer the promised legal support when the consequences arrived, but that's just a side note revealing his character, not germane to the case). That makes him part of the "conspiracy", which is where the charges originate.

            There may, however, also be older offences added as Assange only set up Wikileaks as a belated justification for earlier hacking activities.

            I personally think Assange has to get his backside in gear and get over to the US as soon as possible. As soon as Trump is either impeached or booted out, St Jules™ chances of getting a pardon become very slim indeed..

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

              "As soon as Trump is either impeached or booted out, St Jules™ chances of getting a pardon become very slim indeed."

              AFAICS until Trump the US govt had made no great efforts to extradite him. He imprisoned himself. The most effective and subtle punishment would have been to ignore him as insignificant. Trump, however, is not subtle.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

                Trump, however, is not subtle

                And here, ladies and gentlemen, do we see English understatement in its purest form..

                :)

        2. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

          "What Assange did (IMO)"

          No, you're missing the thing he most certainly did do, and was convicted of: he jumped bail.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

      it wasn't there, but I'm sure arrangements have been arranged. It is very... convenient that the Swedes got for dropping the charges. And that our new(ish) post-May secretary has already paved the way for that plane to take off WHEN. I wonder if developments would have been any different if Assange was less of an ego-maniac, and all that? I fear not.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

        " It is very... convenient that the Swedes got for dropping the charges. "

        Got what? Did Trump promise to gift them Iceland or something?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Did Trump promise to gift them Iceland or something?

          we'll never know what they were offered (Greenland perhaps? ;) but I'm pretty sure there are deals behind the scenes made all the time. Even a little discount off a multi-billion arms deal saves a pretty penny, and in this particular case, they didn't even have to pull out any fingernails Swedish, just a chain of friendly phone calls passed down to the right people in the legal system to wait and let the law - and time - take its course. Nothing even REMOTELY illegal in that, surely!?

          We, the public (aka plebs) get to see just a show of friendly smiles and warm embraces of course, no change here. Only very, very occasionally a pesky nobody sneaks in, grabs and shares that confidential information with the outside world and then we gasp in shock (real or fake) that friendly top world leaders tap each others' phones and "ask" other leaders for little quid pro quo. Those that reveal the secrets are made an example of, not only to deter other potential whistleblowers, but to show our own supporters, our "foreign partners" (and our "ex-partners", currently status undecided) that we're strong and don't fuck with us (so much for extolling the value of genuine whistleblowing).

          And don't think that the latest impeachment in the US proves me wrong, if it were democrats' president in cross-hairs, they'd be defending their president with the very same excuses we hear now from Trump's backers now, and republicans would be trying to rip a democrats' president apart (while the liberal and conservative polarized media and establishment would equally follow their allegiance), nothing to do with getting real justice done.

        2. The Nazz Silver badge

          Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

          More likely he gifted them Stockholm.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

      Presumably, a 737 MAX? I'll get my coat.

      1. Nifty

        Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

        Nah, that'd be a flight risk.

    4. Sloppy Crapmonster

      Re: Assange® Leavin' On A Jet Plane?

      On the one hand, our cheeto-in-chief loves wikileaks, so clearly he won't be extraordinarily renditioned.

      On the other hand, the deep state gonna deep, so clearly he will be extraordinarily renditioned.

      The never-never-Trumpers get to have it both ways, whichever way it goes.

  3. Twanky Bronze badge

    Stating the obvious

    Naomi Colvin, an Assange campaigner currently with the Bridges for Media Freedom campaign group, tweeted: "Without wanting to state the obvious, if the investigation had ever been conducted properly, this [today's dropping of the investigation] would have happened many years ago."

    Wanting to state the obvious: If Naomi Colvin is correct and Mr Assange had remained in Sweden to face the charges at the time they were made he would be a free man now somewhere where they (perhaps) do not have an extradition treaty with the US.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Stating the obvious

      Except that if the slippery little bugger hadn't holed up in the embassy, there's every chance that the evidence wouldn't have weakened and the case may have made it to court. Now we'll simply never know.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Stating the obvious

        Yep, I wonder if he's regretting that now. Even if he'd stayed in Sweden to face the charges and been found guilty, he would probably have been released by now.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Stating the obvious

          "Even if he'd stayed in Sweden to face the charges and been found guilty, he would probably have been released by now"

          Not to mention that Swedish prison might have been more comfortable than the Ecuadorean embassy

        2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds

          Re: Stating the obvious

          Nonsense. He was facing multiple long terms of imprisonment. And that's just the two victims who came forward - given the nature of what he did, it's unimaginable there aren't many more victims who haven't complained because of the intimidation of the two victims who did, and who would have come forward after he was safely convicted.

          1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

            Re: Stating the obvious

            'given the nature of what he did'

            Except no adult outside of a trolly astroturfer would say that now a swedish court have decided that there is far too little reliable evidence to be sure of any such thing. Because it would be libel.

            1. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: Stating the obvious

              The swedish court has decided that, since 7 years have passed, far too little reliable evidence [b]now remains[/b] to be sure of anything. They didn't decide there was [b]never[/b] any reliable evidence to convince. Assange seems like just the kind of guy to do exactly what he was accused of doing. He simply managed to stall things long enough to get out of those charges. Not exactly justice for anyone there.

              1. imanidiot Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: Stating the obvious

                Dangit Idiot, HTML tags, this is not a phpBB board...

                --> I'll see myself out, hanging my head in shame.

        3. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: Stating the obvious

          he would probably have been released by now

          No, he would have been "released" immediately after the court decision. Sex by Surprise is punishable by a (reasonably hefty) fine, not by any gaol time.

          If he'd pleaded guilty regardless, the fine would have been a lot less than his wealthy friends lost when he skipped bail, meaning he wouldn't have had to spend all those years sleeping on an uncomfortable sofa at the embassy.

          Of course, pleading guilty would have left a terrible stain on his otherwise unimpeachable character ...

          oh wait ...

          1. Vometia Munro

            Re: Stating the obvious

            Upvote for the proper spelling of gaol. Well, and the other bits too, but I'm trying to stay out of all that.

          2. Brangdon

            Re: Sex by Surprise

            It wasn't "sex by surprise". It was rape, if it happened as claimed.

            1. NonSSL-Login

              Re: Sex by Surprise

              Wake-up sex with a consensual sex partner is enjoyed by many around the world.

      2. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Stating the obvious

        Now we'll simply never know.

        ^^^ This. If you don't show up to court you can't clear your name.

        This will taint anything and everything he or his group do for the rest of his life.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stating the obvious

          Some of the mainstream media won't mention it, they see him as the messiah.

          but he's really..

          Just a very naughty boy!

          (sorry couldn't resist)

      3. Dave314159ggggdffsdds

        Re: Stating the obvious

        Of course we know it was rape, since Assange admitted it - his defence was a point of law; he claimed he'd found a loophole in the rape legislation. He fled to the embassy after multiple English courts told him his defence was ridiculous.was

        It beggars belief that his supporters have clouded the issue to this extent. He has stayed under oath that he held down and raped a victim who was physically resisting and pleading with him to stop.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Stating the obvious

          He has stayed under oath that he held down and raped a victim who was physically resisting and pleading with him to stop.

          Citation please. It's not that I don't believe you, I just want to check for myself.

        2. Schultz
          Stop

          Citation Please!

          "Assange admitted it [...]. He has stayed under oath that he held down and raped a victim who was physically resisting [...]"

          -- I second the call for a citation for the above comment. I have never heard this assertion in years of media coverage and have a hard time believing that this is anything but hearsay (i.e., a vile smear).

          From what I heard, the characterization "Sex by Surprise", as given by DiViDeD, better describes the situation.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stating the obvious

          Everything I have read about this case is that the women involved consented to have sex with his blondeness but did not consent to have it without a condom. I have read a lot about this case but never have I read that there was sex without consent. I demand a citation.

    2. mhenriday
      Boffin

      Re: Stating the obvious

      I fear, Twanky, that you are seriously misinformed: Like the good ally vassal (although not formally a NATO member) it is, Sweden has indeed had an extradition treaty with the US in effect ever since 24 October 1961. The EU as a whole also has an extradition treaty with the US....

      Further, the investigation against Mr Assange was indeed dropped while he was still in the country ; it was later started again after the venue was moved from Stockholm (where the offenses were alleged to have taken place) to Göteborg, which had nothing to do with the case, but did have a prosecutor specialised in cases of this type....

      Henri

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Stating the obvious

        I believe the point here is that Sweden's extradition treaty with the US is more equitable than ours, and requires evidence to be put forward, rather than simply allegations.

        IANAL, but my understanding is that it is considerably easier for the US to extradite someone from the UK than it is from Sweden.

      2. Twanky Bronze badge

        Re: Stating the obvious

        Erm. No. If Ms Colvin is correct and a proper investigation by Sweden would have cleared Mr Assange 'years ago' then if he had not blocked their investigation by absconding he would have been cleared and free to leave the UK (or Sweden if he had returned) and go somewhere (anywhere) else with a lower risk of extradition to the USA.

        You suggest that Sweden is a vassal state of the USA. That is irrelevant to this argument but a great conspiracy theory 'sound'bite. It is bollocks to suggest that he would go to the UK from Sweden to lower his risk of extradition to the USA, If he did, then he's the one who was seriously misinformed.

        I'm stating that blocking the Swedish investigation made it likely he would be detained on behalf of Sweden in the UK or elsewhere in the EU. Which in turn gives time for the USA to start extradition proceedings.

      3. Stork Silver badge

        Re: Stating the obvious

        I happen to remember that most extradition agreements have exceptions for offences of political nature, and the Sweden-US one does.

        It should not be impossible to argue that "I didn't do it, but if I did, it was political" I would imagine.

        Also, _if_ the US gets him on the PW cracking charge they cannot try him for spying. Also part of the treaties.

    3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Stating the obvious

      Without wanting to state the obvious...

      It tends to be more difficult to obtain evidence 7 years after the fact. If the investigation hadn't been hampered at the time by Mr A skipping across the North Sea to Blighty, it would quite conceivably have meant that the investigators at the time would have been able to interview him, and then if this indicated further avenues of enquiry to follow them, and possibly obtain corroborating evidence (or otherwise; no assumption of guilt or otherwise is made).

      1. the hatter

        Re: Stating the obvious

        Mr A repeatedly, openly offered to be interviewed by the swedish authorities, it was quite the puzzle (unless you considered the US extradition issue) as to why they felt they could only conduct them in sweden. They were only over alleged crimes, not like it was regarding details on an offence that had already been prosecuted.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: Stating the obvious

          The accused does not get to state the venue, method, style or scope of his own interrogation.

          Note "accused".

          For a start, they would have no way to control his recording of the interview to play to the press shortly after, which though you could say "they would record it anyway and it should all be public" is likely to prejudice any trial and be taken out of context.

          Generally speaking, interviewees do not get to say "come to my house and do it", rather than being asked to appear at a police station at a given date and time for questioning.

          It's the height of arrogance to assume that a criminal on the run from court charges somehow gets to choose how they are questioned by authorities.

        2. Stork Silver badge

          Re: Stating the obvious

          It was no surprise. The Swedish laws apparently stated it had to be done in Sweden.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Stating the obvious

            I suppose he could have argued that Sweden could set up a Swedish embassy to the London Ecuadorian embassy and interviewed him there.

        3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Stating the obvious

          Yeah, that whole, "I'll comply with the laws of the country I'm in, but only when I've left the coutnry, and at my convenience, at their cost" defence. Why should the Swedish prosecutors have to leave the country and travel to a place of Assange's choosing to do their job?

          To use an analogy, imagine buying an item from an online tat bazaar (let's call it iBuy) where the seller states that the item is collection only, and is based in, lets say, Leeds.

          After negotiating the sale, you then refuse to pay until the seller comes and personally delivers the item to you, at your new address, in the south of France. You refuse to return to Leeds to collect the item, and complain that the seller is being unreasonable. Now, I don't know what the wholly fictitious iBuy's terms of service would say about this, but I doubt they would smile favourably upon you.

    4. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Stating the obvious

      Wanting to state the obvious: if he had stayed in Sweden, that would just mean his Appointment in Samarra would have been that much quicker, and whether --- as punishment for WikiLeaks ---- he was now in a grave or lost in the bowels of the USA's truly terrifying penal system, everyone would now have forgotten him and he would be in or on American soil forever.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stating the obvious

      Wanting to state the obvious: If Naomi Colvin is correct and Mr Assange had remained in Sweden to face the charges at the time they were made he would be a free man now somewhere where they (perhaps) do not have an extradition treaty with the US.

      Maybe, but then he would also have become a convicted rapist which would have taken a bit of the edge of his halo. In my personal opinion that's exactly what he is and what he deserves, but Trump has already demonstrated that hero worship is blind to logic.

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Stating the obvious

      AFAICS every single step he's taken has been misjudged. He wasn't going to escape extradition to Sweden from the UK if the Swedes presented a prima facie case and, if he feared extradition to the US it was more likely from the UK than from Sweden. I can't see why he'd skip from Sweden to the UK unless he felt there was a strong prospect of conviction in Sweden.

      And then holing up in the embassy would achieve nothing unless he was prepared to spend the rest of his life there or thought, on no good basis, that somehow he'd get a diplomatically protected free passage out. If everything he feared about extradition to the US was the case (and there were no visible signs of it at the time) then it simply gave the US time to set things up while he was there.

      His entire conduct seems to be predicated on extremely short-term thinking.

      1. JoeySter

        Re: Stating the obvious

        The Swedish extradition case was a test case. If he couldn't win that then he wouldn't win a case to not be extradited to the USA. People would be shocked if they realised how the courts operate. I've read some of the court documents and there are instances in it, written in the judged own hand, explaining that he rule against Assange's legal defence based on a guess.

        It wasn't a test case in the verdict but the process. It was a test case of can Assange face a fair trial and the answer to that is no. Reading the court documents, if the USA had an invalid extradition case against me and I was innocent, I could not say that it's a certain thing I would not be extradited and convicted anyway.

        Reading the court documents, records of events and evidence in the Assange case I would not walk away from those trials with the belief that either the British or Swedish justice systems could be relied upon. I'd get out of dodge.

        There were various irregularities in the proceedings against Assange that undermine trust and faith in the legal system. You don't have to take this from Assange. If you read that material yourself then you'll notice a number of instances where justice was not properly conducted and what appears to be an effort to get a guilty verdict no matter what.

        The embassy situation was not expected. You would expect once Ecuador gave Assange asylum status that he would be allowed to travel to Ecuador. He was effectively held prisoner by British authorities.

        The ruling in this article has some anomalies as well because the allegations made against Assange aren't meaningfully more credible. It's very subjective but if you read the testimonies and evidence yourself very carefully then I doubt you would come to the conclusion that they are greatly more credible. When it comes down to it, it's a coin flip case.

  4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Coat

    Quick lets deport the idiot to Australia and let them deal with the self centered prat

    I'll even give him a coat

    1. Saruman the White Bronze badge

      Tempting, particularly if you add "cancel his UK visa and put a permanent no-entry to the UK ban on him".

      Since Australia has a extradition treaty with the USA and tends to do anything that Big Brother says, I suspect that Julian would be seeing the inside of a US jail even faster than he is currently facing.

    2. FozzyBear Silver badge

      Bugger Off!

      Assange, fosters beer. We export the crap we can't stand.

      I'd happily overload a couple of 747 with politicians, but apparently I've been told it is morally depraved to put the flight crew thorugh such an ordeal.

  5. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Regardless of whether Assange is guilty of the charges that have been dropped in Sweden: holding him in largely single isolation in a high security prison is not an acceptable situation for someone who has skipped bail. He has really embarrassed some politicians and wannabe dictatorship regimes therefore the only justification that I can think of for this is that it could possibly be for his own health - he's not exactly a remorsless and likely to repeat murderer.

    1. LucreLout Silver badge

      holding him in largely single isolation in a high security prison is not an acceptable situation for someone who has skipped bail

      And yet I find it entirely acceptable. He has a history of absconding and thumbing his nose at the nation, so frankly he ain't getting an open prison.

      he's not exactly a remorsless and likely to repeat murderer

      Well, he is remorseless. Literally, he still thinks his actions are just peachy. As to the latter part, well, did anyone die due to his actions, and was that predictable ahead of time?

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Facepalm

      "holding him in largely single isolation"

      Didn't he do that to himself for the last n years? Presumably he likes his own company.

      1. Imhotep

        "Presumably he likes his own company."

        Well, the Ecuadorians certainly didn't. The guest from hell who wouldn't leave.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      He's a high profile flight risk would be the reasoning. He's being held there because of the sentence and not because of the extradition.

    4. Lee D Silver badge

      He's a convicted criminal who was charged with skipping UK court bail.

      Quite what entitles him in that to not be in a prison without hope of parole or release, I can't fathom.

      He's also made a celebrity of himself, and claimed that he's under threat of kidnap, torture or even murder. Hence he's under strict security.

      You can't have it both ways!

      His "isolation" is rather self-imposed but not an unusual measure with difficult prisoners.

      The guy's been voluntarily living in a box for 7 years... that he's acting a bit odd by now is pretty much to be expected.

      1. keb

        Skipping out on bail is normally punishable by a fine, but jail is understandable. However solitary confinement and isolation is not justified at all.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "holding him in largely single isolation in a high security prison is not an acceptable situation for someone who has skipped bail."

      So do you think he should be given bail? Assuming he could get anybody to put up the money this time round.

      1. keb

        Obviously not.

    6. JoeySter

      The current ruling elite absolutely hates him and believes him to be a master villain.

      That was made clear with the home secretary's openly angry and hot headed statements condemning Assange.

      These people believe he's a rapist in the worst possible meaning of the word and don't want to believe anything else and that's not the worst thing they believe about him by far.

      Anything is possible and I suspect his prison treatment may very well be based on nothing more than the belief that he is an arch villain. In their minds he might as well be Osama Bin Laden.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Job done and no need now as he's in clink awaiting extradition where soon he'll be wearing an orange jump suit for the next 30 years.

    Do you hear that Mr Assange, that's the sound of inevitability.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      > ...orange jump suit for the next 30 years.

      And you think that would be a good thing? FFS!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >And you think that would be a good thing? FFS!

        Did you not watch the Matrix, FFS ?

        Perhaps it's too subtle for you ?

    2. LeahroyNake Silver badge

      Umm maybe, I'm guessing the US will kill him legally once they have him. The UK cannot authorise his extradition if the death penalty is on the table. I guess that charge will wait until he is there.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        No that is incorrect. They have already waive the no death penalty restriction.

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          once - I believe.

        2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          For you doenvoters - heres the precedent - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/23/is-the-uk-governments-stance-on-the-death-penalty-shifting

  7. TimR

    But he is a likely to repeat bail absconder...

  8. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Whatever your views of Assange (which will generally be coloured by whatever media you frequent), it was reported widely at the time that his main concern was unjustified extradition to Sweden 'to face unfounded charges'. These charges would be summarily dropped and this would open the doors immediately for removal/extradition to the USA which is what the USA government has been looking for all the time.

    Until today, he was still potentially facing extradition to Sweden as the UK political lobby had called for the severity of the Swedish charge to take precedence over the US case. However, by dropping their case, Sweden have left the door open for the US ...

    Assange's assertion that removal to the USA was the main aim, is now coming to fruition ... whether as a result of a correct legal system or as a result of political shenanigans in the background. What he now has to do is claim he has Asperger's or similar as otherwise he hasn't got a hope.

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds

      That conspiracy theory is insane. No one would flee to the UK from anywhere in the world of they were worried about extradition to the US. If the US was interested in Assange, they could have got him simply by asking, when he was on police bail.

      The fact is that Assange fled Sweden after he was asked to surrender to police so he could be prosecuted. He has admitted doing things which are crimes. The rest is just an attempt by his cult-followers to cast doubt where none exists.

    2. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

      Considering that the current US administration can't go to the potty without multiple leakers standing on street corners yelling "Extra! Extra!", I seriously doubt there is an ongoing conspiracy. Otherwise, it would be part of the circus going on in Congress this week.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Assange's assertion that removal to the USA was the main aim, is now coming to fruition"

      Whether or not it was originally the main aim in anybody else's head than his own, it's now coming to fruition entirely as a result of his successive missteps: fleeing to a country with a stronger extradition arrangement than where he started, fleeing again into an embassy he couldn't get out of without being arrested on a charge of bail-skipping and staying there long enough for a more vindictive US govt to get into office.

  9. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  10. mhenriday
    Boffin

    Help no longer needed

    "The reason for this decision is that the evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question," said the Swedish Prosecution Authority in a public statement.
    The reason for this decision is rather that the Brits have him and help from Sweden in delivering him to the tender mercies of the US (in)justice system has become superfluous. No longer need for an investigation which would simply interfere with the process (and which, moreover, would have freed Mr Assange)....

    Henri

  11. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Weakening Evidence?

    I doubt the excuse given is true. From what I have seen about criminal cases, either you have a pretty solid forensic case or you don't. If you have solids forensic case it does not suddenly weaken with time unless you are incompetent such as you lost all traces of the test results or your lab 'dry labbed' the results (aka faked them). Now if they had a weak forensic case they were relying on a confession to get a conviction. However, if the interview is done incorrectly the 'confession' can be challenged as being forced under duress. The movie 'Boomerang' was based on 1920's murder case were there was a forced confession and other shaky evidence. The DA in this case took 90 minutes in court to outline why he refused to prosecute the defendant, indicating the defendant was innocent.

    1. Vincent Ballard

      Re: Weakening Evidence?

      Surely witness evidence inherently weakens over time because it becomes less credible that your memory is accurate?

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: Weakening Evidence?

        Evidently not when prosecuting alleged Holocaust guards 70 years on...

        1. Grikath

          Re: Weakening Evidence?

          Or a host of allegations that crop up decades after the alleged fact whenever there's an election/politics/money is involved in the US....

          It's almost as good as Office Bullshit Bingo.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Weakening Evidence?

      An essential aspect of a rape case is consent. It becomes a matter of claim and counter claim unless there's contemporary evidence of violence. The scientific* evidence will stand the lapse of time. Witness evidence, including complainants' and accuseds' becomes less reliable over time and, critically, it becomes difficult to give the accused a fair chance of putting on his own case. That's why courts don't like allegations made long after the alleged events and very probably why the prosecutors are dropping this case. The long delay has helped him there but not exactly to his advantage.

      * Scientific evidence. The ford "forensic" simply means to do with the courts. All evidence in court is forensic. Some if it is scientific. <Sigh>

  12. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    re: Weakening evidence?

    "I doubt the excuse given is true. "

    Well, I remember hearing at the time, claims that the US was pushing for this prosecution, that the women were not interested in charges, that he was rough and inconsiderate in bed but not forcing, and about there being this controversy within Sweden at the time because they have specific laws barring political influence of the police or judicial processes (pro-Assange types said major influence, others agreed "influence" but that it was US and Swede politicians leaning in on whether Assange should be extradited to the US). I also recall hearing claims that of course the charges were true, and replys that the claims that it was all true were some smear campaign, both to smear his name and hoping if he didn't get arrested for the rest he'd be arrested for this.

    Other than the Swedes worrying over political influence on the judicial process (which was not really disputed), I also recall my "BS detector" at the time going off for both scenarios; not enough concrete info to conclude even which was more likely, and very few neutral parties (people either thought Assange was some hero or downright villanous, so you did not find objective hashing over what little info there was.)

    1. Ian 55

      Re: re: Weakening evidence?

      That's not what the complainants were accusing him of doing.

  13. Norman123

    Intimidate journalists

    It seems that Assange, Manning and Snowden are made examples to intimiidate journalists to never reveal abuses of power (state secretes) or else.....

    1. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Intimidate journalists

      I must say it seems off to list Assange with the two others.

  14. Norman123

    Intimidating journalists

    Assange, Manning, Snowden are the sacrificial lambs to intimidate journalists to never reveal abuses of power (state secretes) or else....

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Team Trump

    It's only fair he get dressed in a Team Trump orange jumpsuit.

    If he's really lucky he could even meet his hero in the communal area.

  16. steviebuk Silver badge

    That won't happen

    "It is the US that must now be persuaded to drop its unfair and dangerous pursuit of Assange."

    They'll never give up because they have to pretend they are all powerful and never learn from past mistakes. Took them.years to admit defeat in Vietnam. Years to realise they shouldn't of been in the Korean war and despite past history showing you can't control Afghan, they tried to do so and again got shown why you can't.

    Seem to always win in the movies though.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not sure why you need to point out that Assange was featured on Russia Today

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "An allegation alone, however compelling, appears not to meet the legal threshold."

    I bloody hope so, if Sweden is to be a country I'll ever put my foot on !

    Whenever a simple allegation puts someone in jail, then you'll have abuse all over the place.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Threshold for prosecution, not for conviction. Try reading for comprehension next time.

  19. chaynoly

    Remembering what Radsoft had to say about it at the time....worth a look if it's still there, Money allocated to those 2 women to tell a story.etc..

  20. Homeboy

    I see the Swedish prosecutors are (again) having to cover their ar$e$ after not being able to come up with a case against Assange. He's been in only place for 7 years, they knew exactly where he was. So they've had years and years to get every possible piece of information and evidence prepared for the day hecame out but have totally failed..

    Just as well Assange managed to avoid whatever faked case they would have put up against him, as once they had him in jail he'd never have been given any chance of having any form of retrial. Once the original charge was dropped and then reopened by a prosecutor with an axe to grind the whole thing has been politically motivated.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "He's been in only place for 7 years, they knew exactly where he was."

      Yes. Out of reach in a foreign embassy.

      "So they've had years and years to get every possible piece of information and evidence prepared for the day hecame out but have totally failed.."

      Except rape cases depend critically on witness statements. It becomes very difficult to put on a fair trial at that lapse of time. It's not that they didn't have the evidence needed at the time, it's more that the passage of time erodes the value of it.

  21. Aldieb

    Conspiracy theories and Swedish juridical system

    First the normal disclaimers, Im not a lawyer or anything close to it, I just have some general knowledge about the Swedish juridical system, some of which may be misunderstandings (I do however live in Sweden). I just post a little information on how things work in Sweden here to try to clear away some misunderstandings that people might have (you have to have some knowledge to build a good conspiracy theory).

    Politicians trying to influence a juridical process is a big no here (it is against the law) and attempts to do so generally result in the press attacking the politician in question like starved wolves. Swedish politicians are in general very careful to even comment on an ongoing juridical process, even more so to put any kind of pressure on courts and prosecutors.

    A prosecutor must by law investigate and follow up on leads that might be to the advantage of the suspect. There have of course been cases where prosecutors have ignored this.

    A prosecutor should not bring a case before a court unless he/she thinks the court will find the suspect guilty, based on the evidence presented.

    Swedish courts are pretty free to choose what counts as evidence, there is no law that forbids the court to accept evidence that was illegally obtained (the person obtaining evidence in an illegal manner risks being sentenced for any crime committed obtaining the evidence.). In general Swedish court want pretty solid evidence, especially in the higher courts (the first court (tingsrätten) can sometimes have very strange rulings).

    Search warrants are issued by the prosecutor, courts are not involved. Police doesn't have to show an actual warrant the prosecutor just have to have made the decision that a property should be searched (there are of course law on when a prosecutor may do so).

    While a court decides if someone should be kept locked up while investigations are ongoing the requirements for doing so are low and the prosecutor generally gets their way. While such decision have a time limit it can be extended pretty much infinite, there have been cases where people have been locked up more then a year without the prosecutor deciding if the person should be charged before the court. (Human rights organizations as well as lawyers in Sweden have been complaining about this).

    There is no bail in Sweden, you get locked up or you don't, is you are suspect of a serious crime you usually get locked up (it has to have a possible prison sentence of at least one year I think).

    Its not uncommon with hefty restrictions if you do get locked up waiting for the investigation to proceed, including not being allowed to read news, restrictions on communications etc. (including family etc).

    Even if you get a not guilty sentence in court you can be charged again for the same crime if new evidence turns up.

    In this case the prosecutor didn't think she would get Assange convicted on the evidence at hand and did see no reasonable means of gaining enough evidence to get Assange convicted and decided to close the case, as is expected by a Swedish prosecutor (note that if new evidence turns up a case can be reopened).

    One should not that the Swedish law on rape changed between the time Assange presumably committed the action that made him suspected of rape and now. He would be tried against the old law if the case went to court. It is possible that if the new law been in action back then things would look different, or evidence might still not have been enough. (The new law basically states that unless there is a clear active consent then it is rape, the old law basically stated there had to be force or the victim had to be in a state where he/she couldn't say no (drugged, unconscious, drunk etc) in order for it to be rape).

    Some of the fear Assange may or may not have had might be because you can get locked up without bail for a long time while the investigation is ongoing, if you are the slightest bit of paranoid this might be quite scary especially if you think there is a conspiracy to get you. Regardless if USA would ask Sweden to extradite Assange to the US he would probably been faced with being locked up/stay locked up until those proceedings where done.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Conspiracy theories and Swedish juridical system

      Thanks for the info/perspective. Much of what you say I did not know.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Conspiracy theories and Swedish juridical system

      "The new law basically states that unless there is a clear active consent then it is rape, the old law basically stated there had to be force or the victim had to be in a state where he/she couldn't say no (drugged, unconscious, drunk etc) in order for it to be rape"

      So, it means written consent by the new law ? As for being drunk, does it mean any lady can just have a drink, then have sex, then sue the dude for rape ? So easy ! I should be sued dozen times under swedish law !

      No question the US has been accused to set Assange up for rape in Sweden, then. Just 10k USD for 2 low morale ladies to set this up, is nothing for the CIA ...

      As someone who had to testify, years ago, in favor of a male friend, accused of the most atrocious pedophile crimes there could be, I really have no sympathy with so vague laws.

      There is a whole business of dudes/ladies falsely claiming rape in such countries.

      As for my friend, things could have gone real bad but it ended up OK: the mom of his 2 kids, who abusively accused him, was banned to see them un-monitored for years, he was allocated the exclusive rights to his 2 kids, and more than that, so many years after, both are beautiful persons !

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Conspiracy theories and Swedish juridical system

      Very interesting. Some aspects are similar to the UK but other aspects are rather less liberal.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a lucky rapist

    Fuck him, what a nasty person, it's a shame he gets away with it.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mad world

    "It appears that in Sweden there must be independent evidence that backs up an allegation before a prosecution can go ahead. An allegation alone, however compelling, appears not to meet the legal threshold."

    What kind of backwards country requires evidence of a crime?

  24. Roger Mew

    Yet again this is a waste of time and money. Why, just because the US of A is pissed off that he disclosed a password, really, and now the UK is paying £2000 to £3000 a week to keep him in nick. Hopefully the UK are sending the bill to the US to keep him in prison. Why should the UK pay for that when the US refuses to send people who kill back to the UK. Its about time the UK told the US that the same rules apply both ways.

  25. CJ Hinke

    Collusion & conspiracy

    It's not much of a stretch to think that Sweden may well have colluded with the US to drop the (consensual) 'rape' allegation. JA was never wanted by Sweden for rape, only for questioning. They refused to come to question him in the UK and he felt the allegations were a pretext to extradite him to he US. Hence, the Ecuadorian Embassy. JA's eviction proves (again) exactly how dirty are the whims of politicians anywhere.

    One would think the earlier extradition request by Sweden would hold legal precedence. Now that Sweden has dropped its investigation, the US has open season to grab him.

    Will the UK stand in the way of Yankee bullies. Highly doubtful. Show trial & 30 years in an American gulag.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019