Swedish Court upholds warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange

ANDY RAIN

A file picture dated 20 December 2012 shows WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appearing from a balcony of the Ecuadorean embassy in London, Britain. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on 04 February 2016 said he would hand himself in to British police on 05 February in the event of an unfavourable decision from a UN investigation. A UN working group is set to publish a determination on whether Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, is in effect illegally detained there. Swedish authorities have requested his extradition in connection with several sexual assault charges. Assange has said he fears further extradition from Sweden on to the United States, where he faces other charges.

Swedish Court upholds warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange


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A Swedish arrest warrant against Julian Assange stands, the Swedish Svea Court of Appeal ruled on Friday.

The accusation stands

“Julian Assange is still suspected on probable cause of rape,” the court said.

Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, said Assange will appeal the decision.

The 45-year old Australian founder of WikiLeaks is accused of sexual assault and rape against a Swedish woman in 2010. In 2012, Assange lost an appeal in London against his extradition to Sweden. Since then, he is in effect confined in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he sought asylum in 2012. Should he exit the embassy, he will be arrested, extradited and send to Sweden to stand trial.

Speaking to AP, Samuelson said “they {the court} ignore the risk that he will be extradited to the United States.” For the moment, the Swedish warrant stands.

Interrogation by proxy

However, the Swedish prosecutors announced last Wednesday they were willing to question Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on October 17.

If Assange was ever to be arrested, tried, and convicted the time he spends in the Embassy will not count as jail time. But, the investigation proceeds.

The Swedish team will interview Assange via an Ecuadorian prosecutor. But, the Swedish prosecutor Ingrid Isgren, will be present and will be able to address questions.

Assange sustains that Sweden wants to lure him out to hand him over to the United States, where he is wanted on spying allegations.

Sweden vs. the UN

In February, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a statement communicated to the governments of Britain and Sweden.

The UN body accused the Swedish prosecutor of “lack of due diligence” and the U.K was instructed “to ensure his {Assange’s} safety and personal integrity.”

The UN body also claimed Sweden had to compensate Assange for his effective “arbitrary detention.”

On Friday, the Swedish court reiterated that the UN panel’s conclusions were not binding on Swedish courts and that Assange “is not to be regarded as an unlawful deprivation of liberty.”

(AFP, BBC, Reuters, DW)

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