Assange has been under house arrest in Norfolk, Britain, for 486 days.
Any day now Britain’s Supreme Court will issue a ruling on whether or not the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued for WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange is valid, a decision that will determine if Assange is extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault.
The EAW system increases the speed and ease of extradition throughout EU countries.
Assange, 40, had consensual sex with two women in Sweden in August 2010. He is accused of refusing to use a condom in one instance and having intercourse with the other women while she was not fully awake.
Assange denies both claims. He is currently under house arrest outside London.
Based on the “Agreed Statement of Facts and Issues” issued by the UK Supreme Court, the details surrounding both the extradition and sexual allegations deserve a closer look.
A quick recap of the extradition case:
—The EAW was issued for Assange on December 2, 2010. He was arrested in London on December 7, 2010, and has been under house arrest since.
—According to the Agreed Statement of Facts and Issues, Swedish Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny is “requesting the arrest of Assange … to enable implementation of the preliminary investigation.”
—The extradition hearing took place before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in February 2011 and a Senior District Judge ordered Assange’s extradition. Assange appealed to the High Court, which dismissed his appeal on November 2, 2011.
—On December 16, 2011, the Appeal Panel of Supreme Court granted Assange permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
—The UK Supreme Court heard Assange’s case on February 1 and 2 of this year.
Assange’s lawyers have argued that the EAW is invalid for two reasons:
1) Assange has not been charged with a crime. Under EAW procedures a warrant must indicate a formal charge in order to be validated.
2) The “issuing judicial authority” of the EAW was the prosecutor (i.e. Ny), but “judicial authority” usually refers to an impartial magistrate, judge or court (or in Sweden’s case the National Police Board).
Geoffrey Robertson, an adviser to Assange’s legal team, began his written argument to UK Supreme Court with the sentence: “The notion that a prosecutor is a ‘judicial authority’ is a contradiction in terms.”
Furthermore, according to the EAW surrender procedures, “a judicial authority of the Member State where the requested person has been arrested will have to take the decision on his or her surrender.”
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- Leveson Inquiry: Julian Assange likens coverage of him to that of the McCanns (independent.co.uk)
- Wikileaks’ Julian Assange Slams Media for Libelous Coverage (commondreams.org)
- The Dirty War on WikiLeaks Is Now Trial by Media in Sweden (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- Expansion of Indefinite Detention under NDAA Compounds Extradition Fears of WikiLeaks’ Assange (alternet.org)