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One Year Since Assange Took Refuge in Ecuadorian Embassy 541 541

Daniel_Stuckey writes with an article marking the one year anniversary of Julian Assange seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy. From the article: "Uninterested in facing U.S. justice, Assange said he's prepared to spend five years living there. If he goes out for a walk, he'll be extradited to Sweden to answer rape accusations —after which he has no promise from Sweden to deny further extradition efforts to America, where a grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks awaits. This also means that London's Metropolitan Police have been devoting their resources to keeping tabs on Assange for a year. Yesterday, a spokesperson explained the updated costs of guarding the embassy over the phone: 'From July 2012 through May 2013, the full cost has been £3.8 million ($5,963,340),' he said. '£700,000 ($1,099,560) of which are additional, or overtime costs.' Julian has a treadmill, a SAD lamp, and a connection to the Internet, through which he's been publishing small leaks and conducting interviews. The indoor lifestyle has taken its toll on Julian, and it led to his contracting a chronic lung condition last fall."
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One Year Since Assange Took Refuge in Ecuadorian Embassy

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  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @11:16AM (#44050111)

    No. The standard embassy deal covers only embassy ground and certain agreed-upon diplomatic staff (ie, if war breaks out, both sides agree to let the ambassadors for the other go home safely). Assange is not diplomatic staff, and thus cannot be transported. Even if he was, good luck getting clearance to fly. Right now the situation is stalemate: Assange cannot leave, and the UK government cannot enter.

  • by walshy007 (906710) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @11:22AM (#44050171)

    Last I checked he was willing to go to sweden for the questioning (no charges have been put forward at all to my knowledge yet) so long as he had a guarantee to not be extradited to the US while there.

    Sweden refused.

    If I were him I'd take that as intent to ship him off after he gets there.

  • by Alranor (472986) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @11:24AM (#44050189)

    In order to qualify for diplomatic immunity, you have to present your credentials to the host country and have them accepted.

    I expect the British government would absolutely love for Assange to try that, as he'd have to come out the embassy to do it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @11:31AM (#44050289)

    There's no real evidence that requires him to be extradited to Sweden. This was all hashed out last year. There's no evidence and noone is pressing charges. There were no charges pending when he left Sweden, long after the alleged incident happened. A prosecuter decided to open a closed case with no new evidence and no victim and demanded Assange show up in person for questioning.

    If he wasn't wanted in the US, there's no reason for Sweden or Great Britain to go to the lengths they've gone to or to spend the money they've spent.

  • by Squapper (787068) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @11:40AM (#44050409)
    Sweden CANNOT guarantee that there will be no extradiction, as it would mean overriding the whole legal system in a way that a non-corrupt country shouldnt.
  • by quenda (644621) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @11:44AM (#44050457)

    He says that if he's sent to Sweden, Sweden will extradite him to the U.S.. There's no actual evidence for that, and no real reason to believe it.

    Sweden has handed over suspects to the CIA for torture before.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmed_Agiza_and_Muhammad_al-Zery [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @11:48AM (#44050549)

    Extradition has to be OK'd by the foreign minister (in the case of foreign nationals in the country). And they have questioned putative murderers by going there and asking them questions. Yet in this case, they say they can't ask him questions unless they have him on their soverein ground.

    Why the sudden inability?

    THAT is why his worries are NOT paranoia: they are blatantly out to get him, by hook or by crook.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @11:56AM (#44050657)

    Diplomatic status has to be recognized by the host country (and you need to enter on that status or get approval to transfer to it).

    It is like entering the country on a student visa then looking for a job. You either need to leave and reenter on a work visa or you need to get approval to work on your student visa.

    They can't just say "Assange is a diplomat now!" without local government's approval.

  • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:00PM (#44050713)

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.

    Sorry, my mistake, I thought people on Slashdot would all be technically literate enough to use the internet and Google it. The UK is signatory to and has implemented all of these, in fact, it helped write most of them.

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:01PM (#44050729)

    Ah yes, the old "extradite from the UK to Sweden so we can extradite you from Sweden to the US, even though we have an extradition treaty with the UK" maneuver-- creating red tape for no other reason than that we can.

    A little tried, but much feared legal gambit.

  • Re:This is stupid (Score:5, Informative)

    by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:07PM (#44050819)

    At least now he has contact with the outside world. In a US prison he'd most certainly be held in isolation and maybe, just maybe, allowed to see his lawyer.

  • Re:rat scurry (Score:5, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ecirpdrahcir]> on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:10PM (#44050867)

    Yes, it is rape. Under Swedish law and UK law.

    From the ruling on the 2nd November 2011:

    The EAW sets out four offences:
      “1. Unlawful coercion - On 13-14 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [AA] in
    Stockholm, Assange, by using violence, forced the injured party to endure his restricting
    her freedom of movement. The violence consisted in a firm hold of the injured party’s
    arms and a forceful spreading of her legs whilst lying on top of her and with his body
    weight preventing her from moving or shifting.

    2.Sexual molestation - On 13-14 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [AA] in
    Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested the injured party by acting in a manner
    designed to violate her sexual integrity. Assange, who was aware that it was the
    expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a
    condom be used, consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her without her
    knowledge.

    3.Sexual molestation - On 18 August 2010 or on any of the days before or after that
    date, in the home of the injured party [AA] in Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested
    the injured party by acting in a manner designed to violate her sexual integrity i.e. lying
    next to her and pressing his naked, erect penis to her body.

    4.Rape - On 17 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [SW] in Enköping,
    Assange deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting
    that she, due to sleep, was in a helpless state.
    It is an aggravating circumstance that Assange, who was aware that it was the
    expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a
    condom be used, still consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her. The
    sexual act was designed to violate the injured party’s sexual integrity.”

    Note the fourth offence Assange is sought for under the EAW.

    Now, how does the court handle that?

    Again, in the 2nd November 2011 court ruling:

    The Court rejected Mr Assange’s contention that under the law of England and Wales consent to
    sexual intercourse on condition a condom was used was remained consent to sexual intercourse even
    if a condom was not used or removed. (paras 86-91)

    The Court considered the issue of Offence 4 and ruled that the conduct described in the EAW was
    fairly and accurately reported. The President of the Queen's Bench Division concluded:

    "It is quite clear that the gravamen of the offence described is that Mr Assange had sexual intercourse
    with her without a condom and that she had only been prepared to consent to sexual intercourse with
    a condom. The description of the conduct makes clear that he consummated sexual intercourse when
    she was asleep and that she had insisted upon him wearing a condom. ...... it is difficult to see how a
    person could reasonably have believed in consent if the complaint alleges a state of sleep or half
    sleep, and secondly it avers that consent would not have been given without a condom. There is
    nothing in the statement from which it could be inferred that he reasonably expected that she would
    have consented to sex without a condom." (para 124)

    The court went on to say:

    "It is clear that the allegation is that he had sexual intercourse with her when she was not in a position
    to consent and so he could not have had any reasonable belief that she did." (para 126)

    The Court ruled that Mr Assange's objections raised in relation to Offence 4 fail.

    The British Court agreed that it was indeed a valid offence of rape under the definitions given.

    http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/assange-summary.pdf [judiciary.gov.uk]

  • Further, what he's "wanted for questioning" about isn't a crime in the United Kingdom (no, he's not been accused of "rape" in the traditional sense, he's been accused of continuing consensual intercourse after a condom broke after having agreeing to use one,) nor the US, nor most other countries on earth.

    Sorry, that's simply not true. Regardless of whether you believe Assange is innocent or guilty, he has been accused of: [guardian.co.uk] (i) forcefully holding down a woman and spreading her legs in order to penetrate her against her will; and (ii) non-consensual sex with a sleeping person who had explicitly told him no.

    Now, you're free to disagree with both those allegations, free to accuse the entire justice department of Sweden of slander or whatnot, but you're not free to lie about what the accusations are or whether they're considered crimes.

  • swedish prosecutors have been given access to assange in jail, in the embassy, and during his house arrest on bail to which they declined

    Oh look, another Assange supporter who hasn't bothered to read the Court rulings...

    The Court covers such offers of questioning-while-remaining-outside-judicial-authority, and gives good reasons as to why it was declined.

    From the 2nd November 2011 British Court ruling against Assange:

    Mr Assange submitted that even if under the EAW he was technically a person accused of offences, it
    was disproportionate to seek his surrender under the EAW. That was because, as he had to be
    questioned before a decision was made on prosecution, he had offered to be questioned over a video
    link. It would therefore have been proportionate to question him in that way and to have reached a
    decision on whether to charge him before issuing the EAW. (para 155)

    The Court dismissed this argument on the facts. The President of the Queen's Bench Division said:

    "First, in this case, the challenge to the issue of the warrant for the arrest of Mr Assange failed before
    the Court of Appeal of Svea. In those circumstances, taking into account the respect this court should
    accord the decision of the Court of Appeal of Svea in relation to proceedings governed by Swedish
    procedural law, we do not consider the decision to issue the EAW could be said to be
    disproportionate.

    "Second and in any event, this is self evidently not a case relating to a trivial offence, but to serious
    sexual offences. Assuming proportionality is a requirement, it is difficult to see what real scope there
    is for the argument in circumstances where a Swedish Court of Appeal has taken the view, as part of
    Swedish procedure, that an arrest is necessary." (paras 158 - 159)

    He added:

    "... The Prosecutor must be entitled to seek to apply the provisions of Swedish law to the procedure
    once it has been determined that Mr Assange is an accused and is required for the purposes of
    prosecution. Those procedural provisions must be respected by us given the mutual recognition
    and confidence required by the Framework Decision; to do otherwise would be to undermine the
    effectiveness of the principles on which the Framework Decision is based. In any event, we were far
    from persuaded that other procedures suggested on behalf of Mr Assange would have proved
    practicable or would not have been the subject of lengthy dispute." (para 160)

    Once again the *court* shoots down a common argument made about Assanges situation in these threads...

    http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/assange-summary.pdf [judiciary.gov.uk]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:21PM (#44050995)

    Since all they have to do is "officially" lie.

    Officially, he's not even a suspect. Officially he is not under arrest. But the prosecutor signed an European ARREST Warrant anyway.

    Wikileaks he is a member of. He's wanted in the USA because of it leaking information which is not a crime for Julian to do. He isn't employed by the US government to keep their secrets and is not a signatory to any of their laws.

    So the ONLY reason he is wanted by the USA, if they asked for him (and if they do not, there is no harm in guaranteeing they will not deport him to the USA), is because of Wikileaks.

    And therefore my post stands.

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:25PM (#44051053) Homepage

    Fugitive implies guilt.

    No it does not. Buy a dictionary.

    He posted 240,000 pounds as bail, and as conditions of his release, agreed to turn over his passport, wear a GPS tracking device, visit police once daily, and agreed to a 10 p.m curfew.

    He skipped out on the bail (and in doing so, forfeitting about half a million dollars put up on his behalf by people who trusted him). He's a fugitive, by definition.

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ecirpdrahcir]> on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:31PM (#44051111)

    It might also harm your claim that Assange does not fall under the definition of a "refugee" under those very protocols that you mention.

    Oh, and also, neither of those conventions or protocols require a country to ignore its own law with regard to actionable arrest warrants unrelated to refugee status - so even if he did fall under the definition, there is still nothing there which requires Britain to grant him passage out of the Ecuadorian embassy...

  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:35PM (#44051149) Homepage

    unless they have a contraindication like sarcoidosis: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/ [vitamindcouncil.org]

    Humans are adapted to live in the sunshine. The US RDA for vitamin D is way too low for most adults, especially ones who spend most of their time indoors these days (which is most everyone in the USA): http://www.grassrootshealth.net/recommendation [grassrootshealth.net]

    It's not surprise Assange has lung issues if he has become vitamin D deficient: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/pneumonia/ [vitamindcouncil.org]

    If you have allergies, look into adding more phytonutrients to your diet along with the vitamin D.
    http://www.drfuhrman.com/disease/Other.aspx [drfuhrman.com]
    "If allergies are the problem, have you ever thought why your immune system is so sensitive and reactive to normal environmental substances?
        Patients often state, “I struggled for years with pain and fatigue, until I finally found out fibromyalgia was my problem.” Does giving it a name establish a cause? Of course not. If you give the problem a name, patients may feel a little relieved that they now know what is wrong, but it usually does not help or solve their condition. The accuracy of the diagnosis is not as important when compared to the accuracy and effectiveness of the therapeutic recommendations for the problem.
        On a practical level, the name of a disease doesn’t even matter that much. It is uncovering the cause of the disease that matters. When most of the causes are uncovered and removed, the body can manifest a recovery, all by itself. Most people are not taught, and they fail to realize that the vast majority of diseases occur because they are earned. They are earned by the causes of disease that stress their body to the point where their genetic weaknesses have a chance to be expressed."

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:38PM (#44051183) Homepage

    Sweden refused to have the workings of their legal system dictated to them by a fugitive? I can't thing of many countries where that would wash.

    "Wanted for questioning" and "fugitive" are not the same thing.

    True. He is both wanted for questioning and a fugitive.

    Further, what he's "wanted for questioning" about isn't a crime in the United Kingdom

    Actually, it is. More particularly, though, he agreed to present himself to British Justice system on request-- that was a condition of his bail-- and, instead, he skipped out. So now he is a fugitive from justice in both Britain and Sweden.

    That Sweden won't guarantee him safe passage (i.e. "We won't extradite you to the USA") you can surmise that extradition to the United States is the sole purpose of getting him to Sweden in the first place.

    You can assume no such thing. In general, legal systems don't do negotiations with people wanted for questioning. Assange has come up with a continuously changing list of excuses why he doesn't want to go to Sweden to answer questions about rape charges, and the excuses evolve to fit whatever he seems to think will best please the audience. Since he could end up facing rape charges, one can see why he might want to not visit the police in Sweden. Possibly he should go to Switzerland, where he could join Roman Polanski, also fugitive from rape charges.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:49PM (#44051335) Homepage Journal

    How can he be accused of rape, exactly, when both women have been quoted in interviews, stating that they were NOT raped?

    "Oh, no officer, he didn't rape me."

    "Your honor, I'm asking that you sign a warrant of arrest for rape, because the witness states that she has not been raped."

  • by Znork (31774) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @01:25PM (#44051725)

    A more relevant example would be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repatriation_of_Ahmed_Agiza_and_Muhammad_al-Zery [wikipedia.org] which details Swedens participation in illegal rendition to torturing countries, an act clearly illegal both in treaties Sweden is a signatory to and in Swedish law. Unsurprisingly, nobody has been held accountable.

    Sweden cannot be trusted with human rights as it takes nothing more than the right opportunity for brownnosing for its politicians to ignore the law.

  • by Shinobi (19308) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @02:35PM (#44052493)

    Actually, in this case, it is justified to berate the women.

    Anna Ardin made boasts about having sex with Julian on Twitter, tweets that were later deleted.

    Sofia Wilen sent SMS's to a friend stating that she was half asleep when one sex act occured.

    In statements to prosecutors, Anna Ardin gave in total 5 different versions of events. Sofia Wilen gave in total 3 different versions, one of them being that she was fully asleep, and was awakened by Assange having sex with her. The original prosecutor dropped the case, because she could establish no credibility to the claims made by the women. Then Marianne Ny, a well-known ultra-feminist manhater, who has a track record of not only prosecuting men just for being men, but also for destroying evidence that proves their innocence, and, when higher courts clear their names, she insists that they have not been cleared, in media campaigns.

    The defense laywer for both women was a well-known politically motivated person with previous shady dealings with courts and prosecutors(Famous for the Quick case mishandling for example), namely Claes BorgstrÃm. He's also a close personal friend of Marianne Ny. Anna Ardin, BorgstrÃm and Marianne Ny are all activist members of the same politcal party, a party known for extra-legal maneuverings.

    Here's the kicker: The last statement by both women, made when Marianne Ny had taken over, suddenly had the events match exactly.... From previously being totally incoherent and unsubstantiated due to evidence to the contrary, to coordinated and coherent, with important evidence to the contrary suddenly not taken into account.

    One of the women, Sofia Wilen, refused to sign her statement in the end, and later on said she felt railroaded into making a particular statement.

    A rather famous old guard swedish feminist, of the old and respectable "Equality means equal rights, but also equal responsibilities" philosophy, who also happens to be a journalist, has looked through the case, including all the testimonies, and she's highlighted a lot of inconsistencies. A former High Court judge, also a woman, classes it as a "case with questionable validity, driven by political demand".

    Marianne Ny in march retreated from being the actual prosecutor in the case, but she will still be the leader of the group handling the case.

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