Smeared by Missteps and Accusations of Assange Defenders (DagensNyheter, Sweden)
Correa, as for Hugo Chavez, asylum for Assange is not about justice and free speech,
but about being a thorn in America's side. ... The demand for guarantees that
Assange not be handed over to the U.S. is also irrelevant. The only thing that matters
now is that he be interrogated by Swedish police regarding possible crimes he
committed in Sweden. ... The very negative image of the Swedish legal system
that the case has disseminated around the world is unfounded."
Ecuador announced Thursday that it has granted Julian
Assange asylum. The government reasoned that Assange is a champion for freedom
of speech and that there are doubts as to whether he would receive a fair trial
in Sweden. The lack of guarantees from Sweden and Great Britain not he would
not be handed over to the United States was one of the main reason asylum was
Posted by Worldmeets.US
It is obvious that Ecuador President Rafael Correa - he was
the first person to offer Assange asylum - is enjoying the moment in the
international spotlight. He takes pleasure having the opportunity to point
fingers at Europe and the U.S.
Rafael Correa is an ideological soul mate of Hugo Chávez. For him, as for Chavez, asylum for Assange is not
about justice and free speech, but about being a thorn in America's side - and
that Correa would like to be the same.
The demand for guarantees that Assange not be handed over to
the United States is also irrelevant. The only thing that matters now is that
he be interrogated by Swedish police regarding possible crimes he committed in Sweden.
The allegation of
one woman is that Assange had sex with her while she slept, without a condom. Assange's legal team claims that, while she immediately
asked if he was wearing a condom and he answered not, she consented to
continuing the encounter. But both women allegedly made their consent to sex
contingent on Assange's use of a condom:
unsurprisingly, given the huge potential risk to their health if he did not.
... Assange's lawyer described the allegations of the
other woman in graphic detail in court. As he tried to penetrate her without a
condom, she alleges, she repeatedly attempted to avoid penetration: her claim
is that she tried "several times to reach for a condom which Assange had
stopped her from doing by holding her arms and bending her legs open and try to
penetrate her with his penis without using a condom".]
Ecuador also condemned Britain for issuing a statement that
it may be possible to arrest Assange inside the Embassy. It is unfortunate that
the British would even suggest withdrawing an embassy's diplomatic immunity.
That they would actually do such a thing is highly unlikely because it would establish
such a dangerous precedent.
In practice, what all this means is that Assange will remain
in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The British Foreign Office stressed yesterday
that asylum does not mean he will receive free passage out of the country. If Assange
leaves the Embassy he will be arrested and extradited to Sweden. The chance
that he will be smuggled out of the country seem reasonably small.
'Assange could escape in a diplomatic pouch.'
Or perhaps under a [Galapagos] tortoise shell.'
That in turn means that the course of justice is effectively
blocked from running its course. Julian Assange is accused of rape and sexually
molesting two women in Sweden. For almost two years it has been impossible to conclude
the investigation against him, since he remains beyond the reach of Swedish jurisdiction.
This means that the rights of the two women continue to be denied.
In the wake of news about the asylum, there will also be
reason for some introspection on the part of Swedish authorities and government
The very negative image of the Swedish legal system that the
case has disseminated around the world is unfounded. Sweden is a constitutional
state and the Assange case has followed these principles, just as any potential
trial would. But Swedish politicians have in some cases made ill-considered
statements that have served as grist for the mills of those who accuse our courts
of lacking independence.
Another such statement was made the other day by Social
Affairs Minister GöranHägglund,
who called Assange a "scum bag." There is no reason for
Swedish government officials to issue opinions on Assange's
In retrospect, it is a pity that the prosecutor didn't avail
himself of the opportunity ofinterrogating Assange in London. Naturally, he shouldn't be given
special treatment nor should his behavior be rewarded. But allowing the legal
process to run its course should be the top priority, so that the two women are
accorded due process - justice.