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Swedish Court Rejects Request to Detain Assange Over Rape Case
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=1716"><span class="small">Al Jazeera</span></a>   
Monday, 03 June 2019 13:20

Excerpt: "A Swedish court has rejected a request to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in absentia, dashing prosecutors' hopes of having him swiftly extradited from the United Kingdom over an allegation of rape."

Julian Assange. (photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Julian Assange. (photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Swedish Court Rejects Request to Detain Assange Over Rape Case

By Al Jazeera

03 June 19

Uppsala court's decision means WikiLeaks founder will not be extradited to Sweden for a revived rape investigation.

Swedish court has rejected a request to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in absentia, dashing prosecutors' hopes of having him swiftly extradited from the United Kingdom over an allegation of rape. 

The Uppsala District Court, in a ruling on Monday, said the fact that Assange was currently in prison in Britain meant he did not need to be formally arrested and held under Swedish law to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors.

"As Julian Assange is currently serving a prison sentence, the investigation can proceed with the help of a European investigation order, which does not require Julian Assange's detention [in Sweden]. The court therefore does not find it proportional to detain Julian Assange," it said in a statement. Eva-Marie Persson, Swedish deputy director of public prosecutions, had argued that the 47-year-old had not cooperated with the Swedish investigation previously, fleeing from an extradition order, and therefore needed to be arrested and questioned in Sweden.

Assange denies the allegations, which date back to 2010.

Monday's ruling means the Swedish prosecutor cannot at this stage request Assange's extradition from Britain.

Last month, the 47-year-old was evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he had been holed up with political asylum since 2012.

He was then immediately arrested by British police on April 11 and is currently serving a 50-week sentence in the UK for jumping bail in 2012.

Assange, an Australian national, is also fighting extradition to the United States, which accuses him of publishing secret documents.

Responding to Monday's ruling, Persson said she has not decided whether to appeal. 

"I will also issue a European Investigation Order in order to interview Julian Assange," the prosecutor said, adding that she has not picked a possible date for the questioning in Britain.

Per Samuelson, Assange's lawyer in Sweden, called the Uppsala court's decision a "big victory" for his client, who would "be happy" to learn he won't be extradited to Sweden. 

On Friday, a United Nations human rights expert called for an end to the "collective persecution" of Assange and appealed to the British government not to extradite him to the US. 

"I am seriously, gravely concerned that if this man were to be extradited to the United States, he would be exposed to a politicised show trial and grave violations of his human rights," Nils Melzer told reporters on Friday

The UN rapporteur on torture, who visited Assange in prison, said the WikiLeaks founder showed "obvious" signs of psychological torture due to years of severe abuse ranging from judicial persecution, isolation and surveillance within the Ecuadorian Embassy, as well as public humiliation and repeated calls for his assassination. 

In a statement, Melzer argued that the US, UK, Sweden and Ecuador were "ganging up" on Assange in an attempt to "deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse" him.

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0 # tedrey 2019-06-04 03:51
I wouldn't be surprised if the American administration has asked the Swedish court to drop rape charges so that they could get their hooks into Assange more rapidly.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-06-04 06:26
Well, this is one small piece of good news in an otherwise very terrible story. It appears that the US is having a harder time with its extradition request in England.

I wish Assange's attorneys were more proactive. They should have an appeal already on the docket of the European Court of Human Rights. I don't see the advantage of waiting until the extradition order is approved in the British courts and then appealing it to the Euro Court of Human Rights. Assange's right have already been violated. His expulsion from the Ecuadoran embassy after he had been granted asylum was a huge violation of human rights.

Assange is a journalist. He is without doubt the most important journalist of the last 10 years. He revolutionized journalism. Everything he published in WikiLeaks was true and unedited. He did not "filter" the news as all other journalistic enterprises do. Assange recognized that the web made it possible for people to have full and raw materials and make their own decisions about it.

Mainstream journalism is filtering itself to death. It is now pretty much useless, except for propaganda. People need the kind of journalism Assange practiced. That is why the fascist regimes of the world want to destroy him.
+1 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-06-04 08:10
This also implicates Britain’s charges for bail-jumping on what is now a moot case. & let the USA go hang on this one.