Let’s not forget Assange
(From a translation of a television interview broadcast in Sweden between Eva Joly and Malou von Sivers; available here.)
Eva Joly, a French-Norwegian prosecutor — famous in France for spending 8 years on a corruption case that ultimately convicted 33 of 36 people involved in a massive petrochemical corruption case — is in Sweden to see if she can break the deadlock over Julian Assange. Her concern is neither to prove his innocence nor prove his guilt; only that the current impasse is broken and that the case is either tried or dropped.
It has to be said that she is being met by a judicial brick wall.
Her position is that there is no need for the current situation — Assange could easily be interviewed in London, and even tried while he remains in London.
I’ve been in precisely this situation: I have a suspect who is in another country and doesn’t want to return to France to be questioned. So then I travel with the assistance of the country he’s in and question him there. This is a very common situation. What I think is uncommon is that the prosecution authority in Sweden refuses to use this opportunity, especially after 2000 when we have very good judicial cooperation in Europe. So to travel and question Julian Assange at Ecuador’s embassy in London is no big deal.
But the Swedish prosecutor refuses to do this — and you have to wonder why.
So? Where is the risk to Assange in going back to Sweden to face trial? After all, the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny has said there is no chance of Assange being extradited to the US.
When Marianne Ny says he won’t be turned over to the US, she is talking about things where she has no competence. She knows nothing about this.
The reality is that since the year 2000 there has not been a single incidence of Sweden refusing to act on a US extradition request. Assange would be a big catch for the US, and Joly has little doubt over what would happen.
Do you remember how Snowden fled to Moscow? And Eva Morales was in Russia and he traveled back to Bolivia. There were rumours that Snowden was on board his airplane. And what happened then? All the countries of Europe closed their airspace. France closed her airspace, and Morales’ airplane was forced down in Austria. The plane was searched to see if Snowden was on board. There you can see what resistance the countries of Europe have against the US. We were the victims of the surveillance Snowden revealed, we know that French politicians were being spied on, Angela Merkel was being spied on, and still and all France, a nuclear power, who can stand up to the US, they lay down flat for the US demand to get Snowden. Now what do you think would happen if that demand were about Assange? I don’t think there’d be much resistance.
So Joly is in Sweden — an experienced European prosecutor seeking to expedite a fair trial for Assange, because she wants “the case to move along because it is a human right to be tried in a reasonable time.” She has the knowledge of European law and the understanding of an experienced European prosecutor to show how this could be achieved — so you would expect the Swedish authorities to be keen to talk. But no.
I asked to meet with the Minister for Justice, she didn’t have time, I asked to meet with the Prosecutor-General, he referred me to Marianne Ny… and she didn’t want to meet with me. So I haven’t had any luck with the justice system. But that’s OK. Those are their decisions. Now I’m going to speak with the leader of the Parliamentary Judicial Committee, the leader of the Swedish Bar Association, because this is truly an issue of human rights, and I think this situation, which the Swedish judicial system is today responsible for, this hurts Sweden’s reputation.
Quite frankly, if Sweden wishes to prosecute Julian Assange and there are ample ways this can be done while recognising his legal right to asylum in Ecuador, and yet Sweden absolutely refuses to do this, then you have to assume that there is more to this than just a simple accusation of rape. There can be no doubt that Julian Assange’s fears are absolutely correct, and that the accusations against him are being manipulated by a Swedish/American conspiracy to get him extradited to the US for trial on espionage charges.