The plight of Julian Massage, founder of Leakiwiks, sorry, Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks should really be treated quite seriously. The chap is obviously very fearful of being subjected to some sort of concocted extradition to the United States, an event which would most certainly not be in his long-term interests, as evidenced by the likely length of the term to which he would be sentenced.
History might perhaps take some issue with his Swedish lawyer Per Samuelson's analysis of some aspects of the case history
. Regardless of what one might think of the fairness of the European Arrest Warrant system, or indeed of its very legitimacy, Sweden was entitled to seek an EAW in respect of Assange; he was wanted in Sweden and wasn't there. The perpetual issue of the vagrant lifestyle that Assange adopted in his apparent quest to become cyberspace's Vagabond King, with, in my opinion, Jemima Khan and John Pilger eventually and perhaps a little foolishly letting their enthusiasm for his cause allow them to be cast as his Maid Marian and Blondel, presented issues with the granting of bail in the UK, and might do the same in Sweden. That extradited suspects be required to wear handcuffs in rarely unusual in most jurisdictions, and in my view shouldn't really be presented as evidence of systemic anti-Assange bias in the Swedish legal system. If, as Samuelson points out, he has not been charged with any crime, a state of affairs which might in no small measure be a result of him not having been in the country in order to be charged, why should he be concerned about preparing his defence?
As for the conditions in which he might be held on remand, a lack of telephones, broadband and wi-fi is usually a feature of most prisons, and one of the reasons they're prisons. Given his actions since his matters in Sweden came to light, it is difficult to see how the Swedish legal system could treat Mr. Assange as being anything other than a flight risk; given his current location, the story makes 'Three Days Of The Condor' look like a lame duck.
Mr. Samuelson might perhaps be better advised to recognise and play up the fact that his client still does retain a measure of goodwill among certain sections of the British public - OK, so perhaps it's only me
- but that the root of that sympathy lies in his treatment at the hands of British law, not Swedish. Australia, his own country, doesn't seem to wish to know him. It has been made clear that his current location does not afford him any measure of sanctuary against the enforcement of British law, and that if his application for asylum is successful he may require to be granted Ecuadorean citizenship and appointed to an Ecuadorean diplomatic post in order to enable him to leave the building. The very fact that he is still there suggests either that the Ecuadoreans consider him to be one hell of a headache they'd rather not have or that they are in fact considering his request for asylum seriously. Considering something seriously is not, of course, the same thing as seriously considering it, but if that is the case then it shows that the Ecuadoreans might consider his plea to be not without some merit. That is what both he and his advisers should be focussing on, not saying he won't get a fair trial in one of the fairest societies on the planet.
Labels: European Arrest Warrant, Extradition, Jemima Khan, John Pilger, Julian Assange, Sweden, Wikileaks