A must read analysis of the Assange extradition case

David Allen Green, legal correspondent of the New Statesman, has in an excellent post, “Legal myths about the Assange extradition”, analyzed the Assange case. It is a must read for anybody that is interested in the case.

Whenever the Julian Assange extradition comes up in the news, many of his supporters make various confident assertions about legal aspects of the case.

Some Assange supporters will maintain these contentions regardless of the law and the evidence – they are like “zombie facts” which stagger on even when shot down; but for anyone genuinely interested in getting at the truth, this quick post sets out five common misconceptions and some links to the relevant commentary and material.

Assange has been afforded more opportunities to challenge the warrant for his arrest than almost any other defendant in English legal history. This is hardly “persecution” or a “witch-hunt”.

A very short summary.

  • The allegation of rape is rape under English law.
  • The best opportunity for the United States for Assange to be extradited is whilst he is in the United Kingdom. It is more difficult to have Assange extradited from Sweden.
  • It is not be legally possible for Swedish government to give any guarantee about a future extradition. By asking for this ‘guarantee’, Assange is asking the impossible, as he probably knows.
  • Whatever the reason for Ecuador granting political asylum to Assange, there is no basis for seeing it as based on any sincere concern for media freedom either in Ecuador or elsewhere.
  • It is difficult to see a sensible and well-based reason why Assange should not now go to Sweden.


11 thoughts on “A must read analysis of the Assange extradition case

  1. Interesting argument, Göran.

    But how about the example of Gary Mckinnon, who is still in British custody, and looks like he will remain there?

  2. ???????????Que? 😉

    You’ve written that it is easier for Assange to be extradited to the USA whilst he is in the United Kingdom, and I was just wondering how you explain the case of Gary McKinnon.

    Gary McKinnon was supposed to have been extradicted some years back, and as far as I am aware, he is still in British custody.

  3. *Further to my question, I’d like to point out that McKinnon was indicted by a federal grand jury in the November 2002, and yet the British Home Sectretary is still reviewing his case. 

    • I don’t know that much about the McKinnon case. I just know that the case is still going on. I think Gary McKinnon is free on bail with restrictions, curfew and has to report to a local police station. The case proves that it isn’t easy to have somebody extradited to the US from the UK.

      It is even more difficult to have Assange extradited from Sweden. The reason is that he would have the protection of Swedish courts and the Swedish government and protection of UK courts and the British government.

  4. *Göran

    In fairness to you, I feel I ought to acknowledge that a Right-leaning British taboid newpaper has been campaigning against MacKinnon’s extradition ever since he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, whereas Assange is being portrayed simply as a fugitive from justice.

    I have to say, though, that learning about this case is a bit like cramming for one’s Foundation Course exams using only Wikipedia and a lot of dodgy web logs as course material. It’s all very confusing!

    Nice to talk to you! 🙂

    • The case is very simple. But it takes a lot of hard work to come to that conclusion.

      I’ve been involved in this case almost from the day it started. I got involved because I do not think our sex laws are as protective as laws based on consent like in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc. I have never had so much insight into a case as this one. I am very surprised to see how so many people have misunderstood the case. Or to put it properly, having allowed their own prejudices influence their thinking.

  5. Since u have been involved in this case almost from day one I wonder how u feel about your initial statements that no crime has been committed now that UK courts confirmed that the allegations would amount to the same crimes in the UK?

    • Susi2,

      I don’t know if you know. I am not the Stockholms Tingsrätt, Svea Hovrätt, the Swedish Supreme Court, the Swedish Police or the Prosecutors’ Office. My views are my views and they have no bearing on the legal case. I still don’t think that Assange will go to court since I still think it is a weak case. I don’t have all the facts so I could be wrong. Julian is “häktad på sannolika skäl” and an EAW is issued and three courts have found that there is probable cause and three courts in the UK have decided that Julian should be extradited to Sweden. It does not matter what I think or what you think. It is a legal case. My views and some of the facts I’ve found could be helpful to the defence when Julian is in Sweden.

      The allegations would amount to the same crimes in the UK. That does not in any way mean that Julian would be found guilty if he was tried in the UK. Or in Sweden for that matter. I think it was a mistake for the defence to try convince the world that the allegations were not crimes in the UK.

      I also think that Julian Assange has done almost everything wrong from day one. I he did not behave like a fool he would not have to spend his days in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

  6. Hello? I never accused u of being a court or the prosecutor. What an absurd idea! Nevertheless u read the SAME accusations/police interviews and came to the opposite conclusion. To still believe that there won`t be a trial after an 18 months extradition process and Ny`s appearant stubborness and determination is more than a bit naive.

  7. *I agree that the case against Julian is weak, but where is the glory in being extradicted and having the case dismissed?

    Much better to whole oneself up in a small London Embassy and remain in the media spotlight.

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