Assange loses appeal against extradition
Posted on November 2, 2011
As you’ve probably heard by now, Julian Assange lost his appeal against extradition to Sweden in the High Court this morning. Click here to read the full judgement – Assange-judgment pdf
I’m just going to highlight some key points included in the judgement, specifically those concerning the allegations of rape, sexual molestation, and unlawful coercion. These are images by the way, so if you click on them the text will be easier to read:
Now once again I reiterate that I don’t know whether Assange is guilty or innocent of the sex crimes he’s alleged to have committed, and neither does the High Court. What is clear from this morning’s judgement though, is that all those nonsensical arguments put about by Assange’s fan boys that Swedish law is ridiculous, and that in any other country what Assange is alleged to have done would not have constituted rape or sexual molestation or indeed even been considered a crime at all are exactly that – bloody nonsensical. If Assange had behaved like this in this or any other country he would still be facing the same charges.
Because sexual intercourse without consent is rape.
For my previous posts on Assange see:
Why it’s wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange
The Rape Crisis National Freephone Helpline is open from 12-2.30pm & 7-9.30pm every day of the year: you can call them on 0808 802 9999
What beautifully written English language is in that extract from the judgement! You never read anything like that in North America. Makes North Americans sound like howling monkeys. Thanks for that treat.
I did a *happy dance* as soon as I heard the news of his extradition going through. He still has one avenue of appeal though, if there is a wider issue of “public importance”. I don’t think his own self-important opinion of himself really counts, but sure, I think he will try to appeal again.
Perhaps so, but Geoffrey Robertson, legal advisor to Julian Assange, does not think Assange would get a fair trial in Sweden because their rape trials are held in secret without a jury, presumably to ensure conviction. Assange is an Australian national, and Robertson suggests that the Australian government should intervene if he faces trial in Sweden.
There is also the issue of subsequent extradition to the US, where he would face a far longer sentence if convicted. Bradley Manning, who passed information to Assange, is still awaiting the first hearing of a court martial after 18 months in jail.
It’s not a huge surprise, since his defence, from what was originally reported, and from the ruling, was definitely highly speculative and desperate. Still, I’m glad that they came to the right decision.
I’m not happy with the precedent set by para 87 of the ruling, though. It makes no difference for extradition purposes, but ruling that “whether or not a condom is used” isn’t a sufficient difference in the s.76 “nature … of the act” for deception on it to automatically prove a lack of consent (and therefore that issue is up to the jury under s.74) seems to me to be an unpleasantly conservative/patriarchal ruling.
Of course, I agree he is innocent until proven guilty. Initially I even had some sympathy with the Naomi Woolf argument regarding the apparently disproportionate way in which the rape allegations against him have been pursued compared to other alleged rapists. However, I started to have serious doubts when I read his comments on Sweden as the Saudi Arabia of feminism. And then I saw, at very close hand, his behaviour in hijacking the Occupy the London Stock Exchange people’s assembly. I saw a man who is interested in his own ego, getting what he wants when he wants and not collective and paritcipative action as part of a broader conversation about structural inequality.
It was at the crucial initial stages of the camp and the crowd had just agreed by 100% consensus that there would be no speeches until the logistics of the were agreed (who sorts toilets, who talks to the cathedral, who talks to the polce, how decisions would be made, etc). People were collaborating and I saw a lot of cheerful, patient conversations between folk with very different backgrounds, politics, ages, languages etc. There was too much glare from the autumn sun for me to see the screen of my mobile so I had to go right up to the cathedral door to get into the shade. I noticed a bunch of guys in V Masks who were just standing around at the very top of the steps behind the pilars.
The young woman holding the microphone and facilitating the discussion clearly had no idea what was happening when a rumpus started on the corner of the square. Then Assange arrived flanked by two minders and a media scrum. I was on the steps of St Pauls and right behind him at that point but I was only there because I had been trying to look for my friend who was on the other side of the police lines. I strongly suspect that Assange’s supporters had strategically placed themselves on the steps already so as soon as he arrived they could fake a groundswell of “spontaneous support”. The guys in V masks appeared from behind the pillars, cheering and stood behind him when he was speaking. And, as soon as I started trying to challenge Assange’s right to speak, a woman in a Wikileaks t-shirt started screaming in my face that there was no DNA evidence that he had had sex with either woman. And I quicly found myself flanked by people, including some very nasty men. With poor aucoustics the crowd the square were largely reliant on the folk at the front to feed back what was going on. Shortly after he had spoken I saw a couple of women wearing V masks and I asked them where they had got the masks from. They told me that the guys who had been on the steps had just handed them to them and left with Assange. So I am pretty certain that Assange chose not to prewarn the people who were making the thing happen that he was planning to come even though some of his people could easily have done so.
There were lots of other articulate and confident people in the square who could have demanded the right to stand up and rally the crowd. Standing near the front around that time I clocked economist, Ann Pettifor; newsnight economics editor, Paul Mason and Peter Tatchell for example. I don’t necessarily agree with everything that these individuals say but I respect that they were listening rather than lecturing.
I have to say I felt a lot less safe after he spoke but reassured that he was not given the wide acclaim that some of the media coverage implied. There was an alleged rape in the Glasgow occupation while I was in Scotland last week.
As for Assange, I still think he deserves a fair trial but personally cannot help wondering about the mindset of a man whose idea of being invited to speak to a crowd involves the limited and manufactured consent I witnessed,
This from today’s Guardian:
“As he left court he was cheered by supporters, including a group of Occupy London protesters. “Occupy London support you,” shouted one through a megaphone. Assange, who had been blank-faced all morning, smiled and waved his legal papers. He seemed to recognise a kindred spirit, something he has struggled to find so far in the courts of London.”
“Geoffrey Robertson, legal advisor to Julian Assange, does not think Assange would get a fair trial in Sweden because their rape trials are held in secret without a jury, ”
Well yes, but he would say that wouldn’t he, what with being Assange’s legal advisor. Despite being, as Bridget Jones would say, a top human rights lawyer Mr Robertson has been surprisingly silent on the iniquities of the Swedish legal system heretofore as far as I know.
Reminds me of when my mate asked her mum (a barrister) how she could represent assorted lowlifes. “Darling” she said “perverts pay better”.
In the UK and many other countries it is axiomatic that the judiciary be independent of the legislature. That is clearly not the case in Sweden, which also has what might be politely described as a government with radical feminist yearnings.
Rape trials are held in secret before a judge, who is appointed by the government. The judge is accompanied by two politicians, one from each of the two major parties, one of which will therefore be in government. See the Geoffrey Robertson interview, 3:10 – 3:52. So the judge and one of the politicians will always reflect the view of the government-with-radical-feminist-yearnings. Even if the politician representing the opposition disagrees with the verdict, he or she will always be outvoted by two to one. Such a system obviously could not function as intended if there were a jury, ergo, no jury. How nice and simple.
So a fair trial each and every time? Oh, pur-leease!!
Gulfstream: “So a fair trial each and every time (for women)? Oh, pur-leease (we can’t be having with that)!!”
Well I popped in to see evidence of you being howled down with unmentionable threats and (less seriously) allegations that you look cute when you are angry or something.( For such was reported on Liberal Conspiracy)
Seems ok here ?
Yep, everything’s fine here at the moment thanks Paul. Nice and calm, just how I like it.
Although obviously it helps that I have control over the delete button. Mwahahahahaha…….
Just read about the Assange news here first!!
And I think he’s guilty as sin! Good thing I’m not the Swedish judge.
What with Herman Cain, I just can’t keep up with male perving excesses all over the place night and day, decade after decade! Male crimes against humanity… rape… males raping women, males raping other males… Rape and sexual harassment are male crimes against humanity.
“In the UK and many other countries it is axiomatic that the judiciary be independent of the legislature”
In the UK, the most senior members of the judiciary (the law lords) are part of the legislature (the house of lords). Also we have an attorney general. Who is also part of the government. (currently Dominic Grieve MP). Judges are appointed by the judicial appointments commission. Who are a quango.As someone who works for a quango, I can tell you everyone runs round like headless chickens when we get a letter from an MP.
You need to be establishment and know the right people to be a judge. And I know because my mates dad is a judge.
….also the interview says there are two political appointees to the bench, not that two politicians sit in rape trials.