WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is very critical of how Swedish authorities have handled the investigation of the allegations against him. And now he gets support from an unexpected direction. Nearly one third of the jurists participating in our 'Jurist Barometer' agree with him.
The Assange case has put shortcomings in the Swedish judicial system in focus. Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, is accused of rape and sexual molestation in connection with a visit to Sweden in August last year. First he was arrested in absentia, then the arrest warrant was rescinded. Since November he's again arrested in absentia. A British court ruled in February that he should be extradited to Sweden.
'The Swedish judicial system is close to falling apart as far as sex crimes goes. Bizarre gender theories have had too much influence on practitioners of jurisprudence.'
Assange and his legal counsel have this past winter been highly critical of the Swedish judicial system.
- His counsel have not been given full access to the case files.
- His identity was leaked to the media early on in the investigation.
- The case files haven't been translated into English.
- The European arrest warrant wasn't administrated correctly.
- The police constable who first took hand of the case is a personal friend of one of the women accusing Assange.
'The questions surrounding the female police officer who originally filed the complaint are so numerous that it's difficult to understand why Swedish media are so uninterested. The behaviour of the judicial system in general is shockingly clumsy and has radical feminism written all over it. It's significant that it takes the international media to open people's eyes to what's wrong in this country.'
The participants in the 'Jurist Barometer' responded whether they agreed with Assange's criticism. 31.9% said they agreed.
'Considering the pressure on Assange by the world at large, it's not unrealistic to suspect there are things going on behind the scenes that have influenced how the case is being handled.'
Julian Assange's Swedish counsel is surprised that so many support his client.
'This shows that the lack of trust in our judicial system is larger than we would have believed. This means we can expect changes when the new generation of jurists take over. We can in any case hope that happens.'
'Sweden's judicial system has many weaknesses and is kept aright by the court players and not primarily by its formal judicial foundation as should be the case.'
Björn Hurtig says his own perception of the Swedish judicial system hasn't been influenced by his work on the Assange case.
'From the public's point of view it seems suspicious to first dismiss a preliminary investigation and then open it again but with another prosecutor at the helm.'
''The problems I've encountered in this case are ones I've seen and pointed out earlier. The system is constructed so that the suspect fundamentally has no insight into the preliminary investigation.'
'And if there's any thought the case has provoked in me it's that we seem to have a strange attitude to the human right of 'freedom'. We incarcerate people on very wobbly grounds. I think it's about a fundamental attitude towards people's right to freedom, something that's more deeply rooted in a country like the UK.'