Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Assange Rape Claim

The arrest of Julian Assange on charges of rape and sexual assault is an interesting case which centers around the use, or not, of condoms.
The case first came to light in August when an arrest warrant was issued for Mr Assange following two Swedish women making a statement to police that they had been sexually assaulted by the Wikileaks creator.
Special mention should be made here that the story was broken by the Swedish tabloid newspaper Expressen soon after the case was opened. Possibly just a coincidence that this was the newspaper that the first accuser interned at and that they had the scoop.
The case was then dismissed by Stockholm's chief prosecutor who said that there was no reason to suspect that Assange had committed rape and the warrant withdrawn.
Now the Director of public prosecution, a more senior position in the Swedish legal system, has reopened the case citing new information.
The story appears to proceed as follows. The first accuser suggested Assange stay in her flat the evening before a speaking engagement in Sweden. Both agree that they slept together on the night before the event, during which the condom split.
The following day, the second accuser met Assange at the event and afterwards the pair went to the cinema, where she told police she had performed oral sex on him.
What happened next is where the court case, if it happens, will concentrate.
The first and second woman, who did not know each other, contacted each other and some days later the two went to a Stockholm police station where they said they requested advice on making a complaint against Assange.
The first woman told police that he had ripped the condom on purpose, while the second woman said the unprotected sex act in the cinema had been without her consent.
They were reportedly advised by the police officer that these allegations amounted to rape against the first woman (the former Expressen intern) and sexual molestation against the second.
Laughably weak maybe, stinking of set up certainly, clumsy smear job without doubt but you can be sure that American pressure will be applied and this will be a severe test for the British legal system to dismiss the case which centers around how a condom split during consensual sex.


Cheezy said...

"a severe test for the British legal system"

You meant 'Swedish', I take it?

Lucy said...

A test if our courts consider Sweden having a good enough case to extradite him. Case comes up on the 14th although you can already see appeals flying around whichever way it goes.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a test of many things among western democracies and is extremely contrived.

on the other hand, the worst criminal of his era (capone) was sent to prison for tax evasion...


Cheezy said...

"A test if our courts consider Sweden having a good enough case to extradite him."

But the district court judge hearing the extradition request won't be hearing the ins-and-outs (so to speak) or adjudicating on the strength of the case itself.

All the judge needs to do is decide three things:

1. Whether he's being charged with an 'extradition offence' (and rape clearly is one of these)
2. Whether there are 'extraneous conditions' (this is where Assange will argue that his arrest is politically motivated)
3. Whether his extradition will comply with human rights requirements (this is usually read narrowly i.e. Will he be tortured or abused in Sweden?)...

It will be nigh impossible for Assange to argue 1 and 3 successfully. And even 2 he'll probably struggle with, as he'll probably having to come up with more than just 'suspicious timing'. So, looking at the law, my prediction is that he's very likely going to Sweden.

As a supporter of what WikiLeaks is doing, I'd actually like to see Assange get his day in court up in Sweden. It will hardly shut down the website, as the movement against pernicious governmental secrecy and clandestine power is FAR bigger than one man...

And I also suspect that, given a halfway competent lawyer and a dishonest feminazi accusing him, he'll probably win... That's if it even comes to a court case, which I'm not convinced it will. It just doesn't sound strong enough.

I suspect the hidden agenda will become clear in the fullness of time. The US want him where they can find him for their own extradition request, as they want the option to try him on their own charges for their own reasons (i.e. to make an example of him, showing others what happens to people who so conspicuously 'betray' the interests of their government).

Lucy said...

My understanding what that the court appearance on the 14th was to decide if the case against him was strong enough that he would be found guilty in Sweden and therefore extradition would be allowed. I know Sweden had to submit papers to the UK court setting out the case against him and this is what the judge will base his decision on.
I also read in The Independent that there had already been contact between Sweden and US concerning extraditing him to the US.

David G. said...

It seems ironic to have an Australian citizen in a British Jail awaiting extradition by Sweden to answer spurious sex changes while Sweden is negotiating with the 'Greatest Nation in the History of the World' to send the Australian to them.

The law is an ass as usual! The Law of the Jungle seems to apply as usual.

David G. said...

P.S. 'Changes' was a typo. 'Charges' was intended.

Cheezy said...

There's a decent summary of the extradition scenario here. Notice that assessing the strength of the case 'per se' is not mentioned as one of the District Judge's duties, which are more to do with process and procedural fairness. The extradition process is usually fairly quick (particularly between two EU countries) but you can imagine how slow it would become if cases had to be looked at any more deeply than at the prima facie level.

Cheezy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheezy said...

There's another interesting angle of this fascinating case, mentioned here.

Hirsch is saying that if you've Tweeted or Facebooked any of this stuff yourself (as millions of people, including myself, have done), then you're essentially just as guilty of 'trafficking in stolen government property' as Assange is...

(Can you feel an "I am Spartacus!" moment coming on?)...

Rather, it's Bradley Manning who seems (on the face of it) guilty of espionage in terms of disclosing this data in the first instance.

Lucy said...

Yep, you are right Cheezy, there is no mention of the strength of the case. Seems they might have to play on the political offences angle.

Hirsch makes a good point because if Assange has been trafficking in stolen government property, so have we. You can't help feeling that it may be a while before Bradley Manning stops having porridge for breakfast. Wonder if they wil call for him to be executed as well.