Was Julian Assange free to leave Sweden?

Lately I’ve been asked by many Assangeistas why I was a witness for Julian Assange in February 2011 since now I am critical to Julian Assange. It is very simple. Being a witness is not being a bought megaphone. Being a witness is not about being a supporter. A trial is not a high school popularity contest or a football game. It is about verifiable facts and circumstances. And proper process. Being a witness is about telling the truth about facts you know. On this blog I have been telling the truth since I started in May 2010. I will continue to do so even if it makes Julian Assange and his followers angry. Continue reading

Swedish Prosecutor General confirms Julian Assange is “charged”

Prosecutor General Anders Perklev

I got involved in the Assange case when I by coincidence discovered that one of the accusers deleted tweets. Little did I understand that I two years later I would ask the Prime Minister, The Minister of Justice, the Foreign Minister and some other important people for a comment on the case. When I asked the Swedish Prosecutor General (Riksåklagaren), superior Prosecutor Marianne Ny and prosecutor Erika Lejnefors about the legal status of Julian Assange I got a quick and informative response from the Information Director Karin Rosander at the Prosecution Authority, “Åklagarmyndigheten”.

Hej!

En del av missförstånden i det här ärendet beror på skillnaderna mellan våra olika juridiska system, där man – grovt förenklat – inom brittisk rätt “charges” i ett relativt tidigt stadium av processen och där förundersöknings-åtgärderna därefter tar vid. I Sverige gör vi tvärt om; vi genomför en förundersökning som avslutas med åtal – “indictment”.

Detta förklaras på ett pedagogiskt och grundligt sätt i en uppsats av Christoffer Wong på Lunds universitet:
http://works.bepress.com/christoffer_wong/15/. Se särskilt sidorna 2-3 och 10-12.

Jag hoppas du har nytta av denna.

Med vänlig hälsning

Karin Rosander

Informationsdirektör Åklagarmyndigheten

For those of you that are not really familiar with Swedish here is a translation:

“Hello!
Some of the misunderstandings in this case due to the differences between our legal systems, which – oversimplified – in British law “charges” in a relatively early stage of the process and where the Pre-action then begins. In Sweden we do the opposite, we conduct a preliminary investigation which, when completed ends in “åtal”,  – “indictment”.

This is explained in an educational and thorough manner in a paper by Christopher Wong at Lund University:
http://works.bepress.com/christoffer_wong/15/. See especially pages 2-3 and 10-12.

I hope you will benefit from this.

Kind regards,

Karin Rosander

Director of Information, The Prosecution Authority”

Karin Rosander was very quick in replying and she was very clear. I must admit that the Prosecution Authority’s view on Julian Assange’s legal status is very well explained in Professors Wong’s paper. I would like to point out that I do not agree with Karin Rosander that the misunderstandings in the Assange case is due to the differences between the English and Swedish criminal procedure. It is due to the understanding of these differences. That is why Professor Wong is so important. Continue reading

Amnesty International got it all wrong, like so many others

Amnesty International is an important organization that fights for Human Rights.

Our vision is for every person to enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.

On 27 September Amnesty made a statement regarding the Julian Assange case.

The Swedish authorities should issue assurances to the UK and to Julian Assange that if he leaves Ecuador’s London embassy and agrees to go to Sweden to face sexual assault claims, he will not be extradited to the USA in connection with Wikileaks, Amnesty International said.

When I read the statement I was extremely surprised. How can Amnesty International ask for assurances when they should know that it is against the Swedish constitution to do so? Amnesty International has made a big fat mistake.

Today the Swedish Section of Amnesty openly declares that the International section is in the wrong. Guarantees cannot be offered and the Swedish Section has a different view of the case:

Statement on Julian Assange and the Swedish investigation

Swedish section of Amnesty International does not endorse the way the organization has set itself on the issue of guarantees. Swedish section does not believe that it is neither appropriate nor possible to demand that the Swedish government to provide assurances that Assange to be extradited to the United States. Amnesty International’s primary focus is the Swedish investigation and that Julian Assange, by being on location in Sweden, can help to allegations of crimes can be investigated further. Should the United States in such latter position would ask Julian Assange extradited for crimes linked to WikiLeaks, Amnesty International will turn against extradition because of the danger that he was in the U.S. would be exposed to serious violations of their human rights.

For more information contact Madelaine Seidlitz at email madelaine.seidlitz @ amnesty.se or telephone 0707440877th

Amnesty International is ill-informed as so many other people and organizations in this case. I find it amusing that the Swedish Section openly disagrees with the International Section. When is the International Section going to say, “Sorry, we messed up”?

 

 

Was Assange’s legal team incompetent?

One central issue for Julian Assange’s English legal team has been to show that Julian Assange is not “accused of crimes”. That he is not charged. The English team’s argument has been, simply put, he is not “accused” since the word accused does not appear in the EAW. Since the word accused does not appear in the EAW the English team assumed, incorrectly, that Julian Assange is neither accused or charged. Then they go on arguing, based on poor understanding of the legal system in Sweden, that Julian Assange is just a suspect, thus is only wanted for questioning. A poorly constructed defence.

In order for the defence to get support for the idea that Julian Assange is “not accused” and “not charged” they asked Brita Sundberg-Weitman, a Swedish lawyer and a former judge, for an expert witness statement:

Instead, she [Ms Ny] obtained an EAW that saw Assange imprisoned in London without a charge for nine days in December.
In this case, Ms Ny has stated repeatedly that she has obtained the warrant to question Mr Assange and that no decision has yet been taken to charge him.

From Brita Sundberg-Weitman’s statement one can tell she does not know what “charge” really means. She is of the opinion that “charge” means “to indict”, “åtala”. That this is her opinion is evident from an article on Newsmill from 21 November 2011 when she criticizes the High Court ruling:

In England and Wales, decision on indictment is taken at an early stage, and if Assange had committed what he is accused of in England or Wales criminal proceedings against him would have already begun.

As I showed in my previous post, the decision to indict, formally charge (“åtala”), is taken at a late stage in England just as in Sweden. The expert witness was unaware. Continue reading

Julian Assange is charged, there is no doubt about it

One reason the Julian Assange case is difficult to understand is because of errors in translation. Add to this willful misrepresentations, rumours and flat out lies. There is no doubt in my mind that Julian Assange is charged in the full English understanding of the term. Charges have been brought but he has not yet entered a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty”. The reason: he has fled Sweden to avoid entering a plea.

On numerous occasions we have heard Julian Assange say that he is not charged with any crime. For English speaking people that means Julian Assange will be detained by three Swedish courts without a charge. I can understand why so many English speaking people question Sweden’s legal system since it is unlawful to detain a person without a charge. In fact, this is also true even so in Sweden. The reason Julian Assange can claim that he is not charged with a crime is due to a simple but important error in translation. In this post I will give a proper translation so everybody will understand the legal situation in order to fully understand that Julian Assange is, in fact, charged.

The error in translation in this case started from very early on. Julian Assange’s lawyers looked in a dictionary and noticed that the word charge is translated into “åtala” in Swedish. What has happened since is just more people have looked into more dictionaries and seen the same thing. Groupthink at work. Everybody just looked in the wrong direction. It is correct that Julian Assange is detained but not yet “åtalad” in Sweden. Since he is not “åtalad” people believe he is not charged. I will show this is the error in translation.

If you use a dictionary when you are translating you will only get as good  a translation as the dictionary is. If the dictionary contains errors you get  errors in translation.

In order to properly translate legal terms you have to look at the legal procedure in one country and then compare it to the same (similar) legal procedure in another country. It is only when you know the context that you can make a proper translation. In this case, almost everybody has looked the wrong way, to the dictionary. I will point you in the right direction, to the procedures, and the error in translation will be clearly visible. Continue reading

The Assange case: Naomi Wolf errs on facts and basic geography

Naomi Wolf is a world-renowned public intellectual and influential feminist. She has written extensively about the Assange case. Articles that are filled with misrepresented facts, innuendo, outrageous conspiracy theories, half-truths and the like. In a post, “Checking Naomi Wolf’s 8 big problems in the Assange case and coming up empty”, I’ve tried to verify her claims but have not been able to do so. Of her so called 8 big problems I found 9 very serious factual errors. I’ve come to the conclusion that Naomi Wolf is, at best, ill-informed.

Now Naomi Wolf is upping the ante. She is now fabricating evidence to support her claims. In her latest post from 31 August this year, “Sweden’s Other Rape Suspects”, she wants us to believe that Swedish authorities do not take rape seriously.

“So, for most raped Swedish women, the shelters are full, the hotlines inactive, and the police selectively look the other way – that is, unless they are busy chasing down a globally famous suspect.”

In order for Naomi Wolf to do so she misrepresents facts and fabricates a story that Julian Assange committed the alleged rape in the city of Uppsala. Why Naomi Wolf places the alleged rape in Uppsala and not in another of Sweden’s more than one hundred cities is easy to understand. Continue reading

Naomi Wolf’s “corporate attorney” steps in, updated

Life is wonderful. And it is full of surprises. I posted an article that shows that Naomi Wolf is, at best, ill-informed about the facts in the Assange case. She has posted articles that are filled with misrepresented facts, innuendo, lies and the like. Now I know Naomi Wolf has been at it again. She has just posted a new article. “Sweden’s other rape suspects”, an article that’s been re-published in many newspapers around the world. In my next post I will comment on her article.

In her new article she reveals “new astonishing facts” about the case. According to Naomi Wolf the alleged rape did not occur in the city of  Enköping as stated in all the police documents. Now she wants us to believe the alleged crime took place in the city of Uppsala, some 30 miles north east of Enköping. I hope that Naomi Wolf will contact the police and prosecutors and tell them they have made great mistake.

When I wrote a comment on the blog that posted her article I got a reply from Naomi Wolf’s expensive corporate attorney  Nicklas Sundström. Our conversation is below. Continue reading

Checking Naomi Wolf’s 8 big problems in the Assange case and coming up empty

The Age of Information,
Has turned out to be the Age of Ignorance.
                 Mark Crispin Miller

Professor Mark Crispin Miller has been kind to post my rebuttal of Naomi Wolf’s claims on his blog, News from Underground. RESPECT.

Recently I noticed an article posted on Mark Crispin Miller’s blog, “News from Underground.” The article, written by Naomi Wolf, is called “Something Rotten in the State of Sweden: 8 Big Problems with the ‘Case’ Against Assange.” I have followed the Assange case from the beginning. I’ve made discoveries of deleted tweets, poor police work and other irregularities. Because of my findings I was asked to be a witness for the defense in the extradition hearings on the 7th and 8th of February 2011. There are problems in the Assange case, but none of Naomi Wolf’s claims are actually real problems. In fact, Naomi Wolf’s so-called problems are misconceptions and fictitious conspiracy theories. Continue reading

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.

 

Assange’s lawyers lie about Interpol Red Notices

One of INTERPOL’s most important functions is to help police in its member countries share critical crime-related information using a system of international notices. Police can use Interpol notices to alert law enforcement in other countries of potential threats, or to ask for assistance in solving crimes. The notices are colored depending on their function. Notices can also be used by the United Nations Security Council, the International Criminal Court and international criminal tribunals to warn that certain individuals and entities face UN sanctions.

During my life I have made a number of mistakes. Some sillier than others. A recent mistake has been trusting that Julian Assange’s lawyers were informed and acted in compliance with the code of conduct for lawyers. I have been forced to realize that the lawyers are both ignorant and they lie. And their conduct is not what I would have expected of lawyers. Continue reading