As I begun writing this blog, it became clear that it would be quite long, so I have decided to break it up into smaller parts, and will be updated every few days.
Julian Assange, as many of you readers will know, is the founder of the website Wikileaks.
Wikileaks frequently makes the news as it publishes confidential documents held by governments, most recently the US diplomatic cables published have gained notoriety as they have revealed both opinion and concern between governments on a number of issues.
Many have speculated that the publication of these cables have and will attribute to a breakdown of international relations.
Some worry that in a fragile world, with a recovering economy, and a war being fought that Julian Assange’s actions with respect to the publication of the cables, is both “reckless and dangerous”, where others believe that the publication of the cables has helped create “open government” (In the recent UK general election, the parties all promised a ‘transparent government’)
In 2010, Julian Assange was accused of sexual offences against two women in Sweden. On August 30th in Sweden, Assange was questioned and Stockholm’s chief prosecutor dropped the rape investigating on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence. However an investigation into molestation was kept open. Assange denies the allegations and has stated that the sexual encounters were both consensual.
After the Wikileaks story had hit the international press, there was outrage among governments. The US in particular was, it can be argued, both angry and embarrassed after the publication of the cables. There were calls for Assange to be executed by republican politicians. It has yet to be ascertained as to whether the publication of the cables broke any laws. However many believe they didn’t.
But this blog isn’t about Wikileaks. Nor is it about the US or UK government, nor the content of the cables.
Subsequently, what this blog isn’t about is the dismissed case surrounding the rape of two Swedish women.
What this blog is about, is the recent appeal made against the decision, and the case, against Assange, which has recently been re-opened in Sweden.
It is easy to get lost in the void between fact and opinion. There are literally millions of pages on the internet dedicated to Assange and his arrest in the UK on 14th December, 2010.
So I’m going to try and keep this simple.
Today I downloaded a copy of the Provisional Skeleton Argument of Behalf of Mr. Assange which was issued by his lawyers. It has been written as a guide to the defence that Mr. Assanges lawyers will cite during his extradition hearing, which has been scheduled for 7th and 8th February 2011.
It is important to note that the skeleton argument does not include any responses to prosecution arguments.
European Arrest Warrants
- 1. For an extradition order to be valid, a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) needs to be issued in the country prosecuting.
- 2. An EAW can only be issued in the defendant is to be charged with a crime. It will not validate an extradition order should the defendant only be required for questioning.
- Different countries have different procedures for issuing a EAW. For example, in some countries only specific bodies can be authorised to issue the warrant.
Assange’s lawyers argue that the warrant for his extradition to Sweden is not valid on several grounds.
The first reason is that Marianne Ny, a public prosecutor in Gothenburg, Sweden does not have the authority to issue European Arrest Warrants (EAW)
In the case Enander v The Swedish National Police Board (2005), the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) confirmed that only The Swedish National Police Board can issue an EAW (In Sweden) for the “enforcement of a custodial sentence or other form of detention”
There is no evidence to suggest that the official position on the issuing of the EAW has changed since this judgement was made.
Since Marianne Ny is a public prosecutor, she was not authorised to issue the warrant.
The EAW was certified by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).
The defence for Assange wrote to SOCA requesting proof that Ny was entitled to issue the warrant. This request was acknowledged on December 24th, however SOCA has not provided evidence to satisfy that Marianne Ny was authorised to issue the warrant.
In the next part, I will going through the factual background into Marianne Ny’s intentions with respect to the EAW. I will also cite European cases where extradition orders have been both denied and granted on very simple, and very specific criteria.
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