29 Jul, 2016

According to the UN International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, Assange’s detention should be ended


Marcello Ferrada de NoliA view of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights (SWEDHR) is that the case versus Mr Assange in Sweden has conveyed an overriding political factor rather than abiding a legal one, being that political factor also prominent in the breaches against Mr Assange’s human rights all along this process.

By Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Chairman, Swedish Doctors for Human Rights – SWEDHR

[1] Instead, the stalling of the Swedish ‘case’ – going now to its fifth year – has mainly given time to the on-going investigation by the U.S. against the organization WikiLeaks, whose founder and principal CEO is Julian Assange. [2] In fact, as it has been recently republished (27 April 2015), “The Department of Justice is conducting an investigation, and it remains ongoing, says a Department of Justice spokesperson by email.” [3]

One main aim stated by our organization is the reporting of “institutional assaults on the human rights of individuals who have denounced war crimes, or exposed serious infringements to the civil liberties of the population”, and the advocacy of their human rights cause. [4] SWDEHR’s has thus also been concerned about breaches against the human rights of Mr Julian Assange – the WikiLeaks founder – enacted by a variety of Swedish authorities and institutions [5] as well by means of a “trial by media”. [6] The specific facts constellating in the SWEDHR criteria for matching the aforementioned aim are listed elsewhere. [7]

We believe that, aside the logical/legal incongruences of the case that have put forward by several experts and journalists specialized in juridical issues, [8] a further delay in resolving the case only fosters damage to the international position of Sweden.

We mean that even a high-standard democratic country as Sweden can in the long run risks a disastrous condemnation upon its government, by the international community as a whole, for the management of the case Assange. For instance, the extreme intervals and deferral in the Swedish managing of the case have ostensibly evolved in infringement of Article 9, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by the United Nations (ICCPR). This international-law pledge, of which Sweden is a signatory, stipulates that all individuals under prosecution investigation – even if they are only “detained” and thus, even if they are not being charged with any crime – as it is the case of Mr Assange – “shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. [9]

Background

The “case” against Mr Assange was earlier dismissed by a chief prosecutor, Ms Eva Finné, for it did not match any legal criteria for being considered criminal offences according to the Swedish law. [10].

However, the case was reopened after a petition to the prosecutor office of Ms Marianne Ny by the law firm Bordström & Borgström. [11] Lawyer Thomas Bodström, in his role of ex Minister of Justice, has been identified by Eva Franchell (press secretary for the late Minister for Foreign Affairs, Anna Lindh) as directly implicated in the collaboration with CIA over the illegal extradition (so called secret extraordinary renditions) of prisoners from Sweden. [12]

Bordström has been reported to the Swedish Parliament ’s constitutional committee over the extraordinary renditions to the CIA in 2001. For this Sweden has already been sanctioned by the United Nations for infringement on the UN Torture Ban. [13]

At that time (10 August 2010), the U.S. government had requested the countries participating in the US-led military occupation of Afghanistan to initiate prosecution of Assange, the WikiLeaks founder. [14]

Based in the Snowden documents exposed by Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher (The Intercept, 18 February 2014), Kevin Gosztola wrote in Disenter:

“The United States on 10 August urged other nations with forces in Afghanistan […] to consider filing criminal charges against Julian Assange, founder of the rogue WikiLeaks Internet website and responsible for the unauthorized publication of over 70,000 classified documents covering the war in Afghanistan.” [15]

Sweden was also that time a “nation with forces in Afghanistan”; More specifically, Sweden one of the few nations, and longest lasting, participating in the U.S. led military occupation of Afghanistan.

The request from the U.S. government to the countries participating in the Afghanistan operations was put forward on the 10 of August 2010. In the document “Affidavit of Julian Paul Assange”, we read that it was around that date when Sweden took decisive steps to consider filing criminal charges against Julian Assange” – as requested by the U.S. government. [16]

2. Case has been stalled by all accounts, during years

Despite the Swedish Court of Appeal direct recommendation to the prosecutor (Court of Appeal’s decision of 12 November 2014) to be more active in finding an ”alternative formula” for completing the interrogation of Mr. Assange – indicating for instance an interrogation at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, [17]

Despite Mr Assange has declared is ready for such interrogation [18] – the prosecutor Marianne Ny still has not performed the interrogation in London.

This, after the U-turn the prosecutor made on her previous decision, which she made to last for years, about refusing to interrogate Mr Assange in London. [19] Just recently (26 April 2015) the Swedish Supreme Court has granted to hear an appeal by Mr Assange in regards to the European Arresting Warrant. [20]

Nevertheless, The ‘case’ is – technically speaking – still at a preliminary stage; no charges were ever made against Mr Assange, while the case is soon concluding its FIFTH YEAR.

We at Swedish Doctors for Human Rights consider that this excessive delay violates the above cited Article 9, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by the United Nations (ICCPR), which demands that a detained person “shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. [9]

3. Asylum issue

The asylum of Mr Assange granted by Ecuador has to be respected, according international conventions and praxis. This asylum was granted after a thorough evaluation of the risk for both a) prison, b) and/or assassination of Mr Assange in the event he is extradited by Sweden to the United States. Such risk of imprisonment relates to indictment pertaining to the on-going Grand Jury sealed investigation against Mr Assange and WikiLeaks in Virginia, linked to the exposing of secret data allegedly harmful to national security. The risk of physical harm relates to several prominent U.S. politicians publicly advocating for the assassination of Mr Assange. [21] The U.S. investigations on WikiLeaks have continued unabated. [22]

4. Guarantees on extradition dismissed anew by the Swedish government

Searching for a solution on the above-described stalemate, we have essayed a proposal to the new Swedish government for issuing guarantees that Mr Assange will not be extradited to the U.S. from Swedish territory. [23] We attempted this solution to meet the basic human rights of Mr Assange, and to facilitate the completion of the preliminary investigation in Sweden.

Unfortunately, the view of the new government – expressed on the occasion of a similar request regarding Mr Edward Snowden – is still that such guarantees cannot be issued ahead, and can only be considered in the instance of an extradition request. Although we regard this tenure to contradict the self-sovereignty principle, we have to accept that is the government’s privilege. That is to say, according to Swedish law, it is ultimately the privilege of the executive power to decide if a court-decided extradition will be processed or not.

It is worth noting that the international human rights organizations Amnesty has advocated – on behalf of Mr Assange’s human rights – for the granting of such guarantees of no extradition from the pat of the Swedish government. [24] However, the Swedish Section of Amnesty has opposed to such petition, [25] and thus taken instead a staunch stance on behalf of the positions expressed by the Swedish Foreign Ministry – at that time headed by Carl Bildt – and of the prosecutor authority. Swedish Doctors for Human Rights have denounced thus stance by the Swedish Section of Amnesty. [4]

The prospective of an extradition to the U.S. from the Swedish authorities is highly likely, in case such request would be presented. As we have warned elsewhere, “data regarding the praxis of extraditions by Sweden to the U.S: reveal that during the last decenniums all of these requested for extradition has been granted by the Swedish government, in cases in which the individual in question has been localized in Swedish territory“. [26] [27]

5. Conclusion

In merit of the facts above, we conclude that the case has been lost in a labyrinth leading nowhere, with no actual feasible resolution. It is therefore, now the responsibility of the Swedish judicial authorities to intervene and drop the case. Against the backdrop of this human-rights infringement, keeping a person detained and without any charges, in a variety of ways during a period of over four years, ranging from solitary cell to house arrest and confinement in an embassy’s room, the question remains, whether Sweden is acting as a “Reich stat”. An assertion that increases internationally every day this case remains unsolved.

By Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Chairman of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights

 

References and Notes

[1] M. Ferrada de Noli, “Analysis – Human rights of Julian Assange continuously infringed by Swedish institutions and media”. NewsVoice, 20 April 2015.

[2] RT interview with Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli. Video ”MSM blacks Assange as US seeks Manning link (Interview with Marcello Ferrada de Noli in RT Channel, on the risks of extradition of Julian from Sweden to the USA”. Aired 27 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2015.

Transcripts of the RT interview in: Ferrada de Noli, Marcello (2013). ”Operation Stalling”. Sweden Versus Assange. Human Rights Issues (PDF). Sweden: Libertarian Books. pp. 99–105. ISBN 978-91-981615-1-9.

[3] Kashmir Hill, “Three days in Beijing with three of the world’s most famous dissidents“. Fusion, 27 April 2015. The quoted text is in the context of Jacob Appelbaum being “subject to a criminal grand jury investigation in the U.S. due to his involvement with the transparency organization WikiLeaks, which has published half a million classified U.S. military documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; 250,000 diplomatic cables from the State Department…”

[4] SWEDHR’s Foundation Manifest

[5] M. Ferrada de Noli, “Open Letter To The Prosecutor-General Of Sweden” of 4 February 2014. Published in Sweden VS Assange – Human Rights Issues. Libertarian Books, Sweden, 2014. Pages 106-108. Excerpts:

“On 11 February 2011, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt stated in the DN and Aftonbladet newspapers, that Julian Assange had been indicted. He then went on to take a position that was biased in favour of the complainants in the case.  Not only was this political interference in an ongoing case, but also it was based on untruths; Julian Assange has not been charged. The statement by the Prime Minister was:

“We have an independent judiciary which also in this case acted according to Swedish law. One has even public-indicted Julian Assange on allegations of rape”. And, “I can only regret that the rights and position of women weigh so lightly when it comes to this type of questions compared to other types of theories brought forward.”

The Swedish Prosecution Authority has also backed the case-prosecutor, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs led by ex minister Carl Bildt, judging from a variety of statements on the case Assange from the office of the Prosecutor General of Sweden, and at the site of the Foreign Office. Apart of the expressions by PM Reinfeldt cite above, some worse expressions ad hominem against Mr Assange have been uttered in the Swedish press by ex minister Göran Haglund, also while in office [See Andrea Gunnarsson, “Hägglund om asyl för Assange: ”Fegis”. Expressen, 15 August 2012].

[6] M. Ferrada de Noli, a) “Swedish government using media to interfere in the legal process against Julian Assange“. The Professors’ Blog, 27 January 2012; b) Does Sweden Inflict Trial by Media against Assange? The Professors’ Blog, 20 February 2011; c) Trial by Media fortsätter. The Professors’ Blog, 4 February 2013; Journalister till tjänst i krigföringen mot Assange, och mot hederlig journalistik”; d) The Professors’ Blog, 17 February 2012; “Om de upprepade anklagelserna mot Assange av svenska journalister”. The Professors’ Blog, 17 February 2012; e) “The ‘Duck Pond’ Theses. Explaining Swedish journalism and the anti-Assange smear campaign”. The Professors’ Blog, 1 December 2011; f) “Rigged documentary on Julian Assange in the Swedish National Television. PART 1: The Political Agenda”. The Professors’ Blog, 15 April 2011; g) Rigged documentary on Julian Assange in the Swedish National Television. Contents & Links to Parts I – V. The Professors’ Blog, 14 April 2011.

[7] In SWEDHR’s article “Analysis – Human rights of Julian Assange continuously infringed by Swedish institutions and media“ (published by NewsVoice, Sweden, 20 April 2015), we wrote:

“We found the case to match the aforementioned inclusion criteria, based on the following:

  1. a) The various exposures on war atrocities that Mr Assange has done through his organization WikiLeaks; [See for instance, “The Iraq War documents leak“, and “The Afghan War documents leak“]
  2. b) The investigation initiated by the U.S. government on WikiLeaks in regards to unveiling of war-outrages events in Iraq and Afghanistan; [See “US investigation of WikiLeaks now entering 5th year“]
  3. c) The breaches on the principle of impartiality towards procedures in the legal system, done by the interferences of members of the Swedish government on the legal case, and in detrimental of Mr Assange’s rights; and
  4. d) The smear campaigns ad-hominem against Mr Assange performed by journalists employed by the two main concerns owning Sweden’s main stream media – situation that has been called ‘Trial by media’– and which have included the State-owned ‘public service’ outlets. [See Reference 6, above]

[8] An example of these juridical experts is the former chief prosecutor Rolf Hillegren’s article “Åklagaren i Assange-fallet bör bytas ut” [“Prosecutor in the Assange-case should be replaced”]. Svd, 17 March 2015. Prominent among analyses by journalist specialized in legal matters is Dick Sundevall’s “Prosecutor’s behaviour in ‘case’ Assange questions Swedish principle of prosecutor-neutrality“, SWEDHR Research & Report. Vol 1., No 12, 3 April 2015.

[9] United Nations, “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”, into force since 23 March 1976:

“PART III, Article 3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgement.”

[10] SvD, “Assange inte längre misstänkt för våldtäkt” , 21 August 2010.

[11] Former Justice Minister of Sweden Thomas Bodström announced 3 of December 2010 in his blog “Bodströmsamhället” (“Society according to Bodström”) that it is his very legal firm who represent the plaintiff against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (“Det är vår advokatbyrå genom Claes Borgström som är målsägandebiträde”). Bodstromsamhallet.com/ Retrieved 8 December 2012.

[12] Tommie Ullman, “New book: Top politicians lied about CIA aircraft ”. Stockholm News. 19 January 2009.

[13] TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson, “Bodström reported over CIA terror deportations”. The Local, 19 January 2015.

Further, on the sanctions issue, see: Human Rights Watch, “Sweden Violated Torture Ban in CIA Rendition“. 10 November 2006.

[14] Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher, “Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters.” The Intercept, 18 February 2014.

[15] Kevin Gosztola, ‘Manhunting Timeline’ Further Suggests US Pressured Countries to Prosecute WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief. The Disenter, 18 February 2014.

[16] WikiLeaks org. “Affidavit of Julian Paul Assange.”

[17] DN, “Hovrätten ger Assange avslag“. 20 November 2014.

[18] Sputnik News, “Julian Assange Agrees to Be Questioned in Ecuadorian Embassy in London”. 16 April 2015.

[19] Christina Boyle, ”Sweden bends in Julian Assange case, asks for interview in London”. Los Angeles Times, 13 March 2015.

[20] Reuters, “Sweden’s Supreme Court says will hear Assange appeal over arrest warrant”, 28 April 2015.

[21] Nima Shirazi, “Bloodthirsty Americans call for Assange’s assassination“. Reportergary.com. 18 December 2010.

[22] Alexa O’Brien, “US investigation of WikiLeaks now entering 5th year“. The Professors’ Blog, 25 February 2014.

[23] M Ferrada de Noli, Leif Elinder and Anders Romelsjö, “En politisk lösning i fallet Assange – regeringsgarantier mot en utlämning.” Västerbotten Kuriren, 31 October 2014. In English: “A political solution to the legal stalemate in the case Assange – Government guarantees against extradition.” The Professorsblogg, 1 November 2014.

[24] Amnesty International, “Sweden should issue assurance it won’t extradite Assange to USA”. 27 September 2012.

[25] Oliver Gee, “Assange ‘guarantees’ spark Amnesty spat“. The Local, 28 September 2012.

[26] M. Ferrada de Noli, “AP journalist report from Sweden misleading on Assange extradition case”. Second-Opinion, 7 February 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2015.

[27] Marcello Ferrada de Noli, “It is up to the Swedish Government, Not to the “Swedish Legal System”, to comply on pressures to extradite Assange. Part II of the series The Seven Pillars of Deception“. The Professors’ Blog, 22 January 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2015.

[24] M. Ferrada de Noli, “Analysis – Human rights of Julian Assange continuously infringed by Swedish institutions and media”. NewsVoice, Sweden, 20 April 2015.

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Comments

  1. Bo Sonnsjö says:

    Fallet Assange är ytterst märkligt!

    Är det Hilda, Ida, och Ruben, vilka sätter agendan här? – Temat i News Voice pågående thrillerserie om myndighetskorruption.

    Svenska domstolar tycks inte annars bry sig särskilt mycket om sexuella trakasserier eller gruppvåldtäkter. Trots att Assange friats från våldtäktsanklagelser av aktuella kvinnor, samt enligt uppgift fortsatt och bo hos en av dem efter händelseförloppet – fortsätter svenska åklagare ”klappjakten” på honom!

    Man kan därför ana sig till att andra skäl än ”våldtäktsanklagelserna” ligger bakom!

    Troligen rör det sig om en hämnd för att Assagne avslöjat hur det ser ut i kulisserna i våra demokratier, där översåtar, dataföretag och andra finansintressen på alla sätt låter övervaka oss alla på en ökande mängd olika sätt!

    Likheten med Orwells ”1984” är påtaglig! Filosofen Lin Yutang förutsåg redan 1962 att i framtiden skulle skillnaden mellan kommunistiska och demokratiska system försvinna alltmer! Vilket skulle ske enligt boken ”Konsten att njuta av livet”. – Mycket läsvärd!

    Med den titeln kan man ställa sig frågan:”Hur mycket kan medborgarna tänkas njuta av det liv, som alltmer liknar George Orwells framtidsbild av våra samhällen – oavsett om det rör sig om de kapitalistiska samhällena eller ej, vilka numera svårligen tycks kunna skiljas från diktaturerna runtom i vår värld”?

    Med tanke på den allmänna övervakning, som tycks ske av medborgarna, när företag och myndigheter vill styra vilka åsikter som skall gälla – oavsett om det gäller vaccinationer, läkemedel eller tolkningen av EU-domstolens domar gällande vår rätt till gränsöverskridande vård eller annan inskränkning av medborgerliga rättigheter – vilket beskrivs i Bertil Lindquists följetong på News Voice!!! Har Du ännu inte läst den – så finns den kapitel för kapitel sedan ett antal veckor tillbaka!

    Läs och fundera om det är så vårt samhälle skall fortsätta att utvecklas i enlighet med Lin Yutangs funderingar från 60-talet – tills den i enlighet med ”1984” slutligen blivit fullständigt bekräftad!

  2. Häxjakten på Assange saknar motstycke. Få våldtäktsanklagelser har nått sådan dignitet som just denna. Att leta fram den ur papperskorgen var det första märkliga juridiska undret.. Sedan har juridiken passerat i revy som den försökte efterlikna någonting vi borde kunna och respektera.. Ingen kunde väl tro lagen skulle orsaka jordbävning och skaka om befolkningen.. För dem som inte kände eller accepterade den, bistår media med de sei smiska slagen för att maktens brukare ska vinna gehör för sin udda inställning till det fria ordet och gemytliga sexet.. Ny har visat sig ståndaktigare än Assange med att både dag och natt hävda en rätt i en sak som skjuter långt över målet… I fråga om spel under täcket har UK o Sverige uppvisat en uppfinningsrikedom som överträffar ljuset. Addera till det en ohelig allians och den ekvationen går ihop.. Ecuador står som higgspartikel, mot det står universums svartaste hål.

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