|Home » Learning Curve
Julian's Suffering, Sweden's Shame
'An uncomfortable situation.' Adapted from the original by Svante Thorsell.
Dawit Isaak has been imprisoned for fourteen years without a trial. Prisoners in Guantánamo have been held there since as long back as 2002 without a trial. These are considered crimes against rule of law. But Sweden has her own problems, held in darkness by jurists, ignored by those in power.
Julian Assange has been de facto detained by Sweden for five years. First it was Wandsworth, then it was house arrest, now it's as a refugee at an embassy in London. Julian left our country in 2010 in the belief that we had rule of law here. He's still wanted for questioning; and should he turn up in this country (and not be put on a CIA redeye that same night) and should he be, despite the lack of case, convicted, then his sentence at most would be about two years, not half what he's suffered through so far.
We have good reason to look closer at what Marianne Ny's (not) been up to for these past five years. The police in London who guard the embassy have so far cost the British taxpayer close to £12,000,000.
Sore Thumb Sweden
Sweden sticks out like a sore thumb in the EU - the country has no limitation on the length of a police investigation. All our law says is that investigations should be expedited as swiftly as possible. We have no judicial possibility, no civil right to appeal to have an investigation closed or reviewed in a judicial context. Assange, and the others in his situation, just have to accept the fact that they'll continue to be the target of investigations for as long as it pleases the prosecutor.
This is an uncomfortable situation. The European Convention on Human Rights applies directly to Sweden. According to Article 6, a guarantee for trial in a reasonable time is given to whoever is accused of crime. But Sweden is unique in that we lack such a guarantee - there is no limitation on deprivation of liberty.
Close to 10,000 people are remanded each year in Sweden; last year, 21 were kept in custody without trial for more than 361 days. One individual, previously suspected of drug smuggling, was finally released after three and one half years (3 1/2 years) in prison.
One doesn't need a vivid imagination to know what it feels like to be kept in a box approximately the size of a service lift 23 out of 24 hours each day, for months, perhaps for years. Primitive societies use this form of incarceration to break people, and it often leads to the suspect becoming apathetic by the time of trial. Our Swedish system's full of prisoners remanded for police investigations, prisoners not convicted, not yet tried. The irony's that they're officially to be regarded as innocent until proven guilty, and yet there they are, withering away in their cells...
The Silence of Marianne Ny
The prosecutor in the Assange case, Marianne Ny, has been silent since late 2010. She finally broke that silence in the spring of 2015 - she suddenly realised she could interrogate Assange in England. Our trial code stipulates that Ny, as well as her colleagues, must expedite investigations in such a way so that no one is unnecessarily put under suspicion or made to feel discomfort. Those under suspicion suffer from the tension of their situation - it's very trying, even without a trial. So what has Marianne Ny been doing for these past five years?
We in Sweden lack rules about how to contest an investigation before the courts. All we have is the general directive of our Ombudsman for Justice to make sure that our authorities act impartially and objectively in their exertion of power, and that our fundamental freedoms and liberties are protected and respected.
The Ombudsman for Justice, our 'JO', already dismissed, in miserly form, two complaints about the handling of the Assange case. JO Cecilia Renfors dismissed a complaint from former appellate court magistrate Brita Sundberg-Weitman with the terse 'no action will be taken'. Sundberg-Weitman claimed that the handlng of the Assange case violates the European Convention on Human Rights and the Principle of Proportionality.
In 2010, JO Hans-Gunnar Axberger dismissed another complaint with the motivation that the matter was still the 'subject of an ongoing investigation'. How Axberger could know that the investigation was 'ongoing' is somewhat remarkable. But what is it about the Assange case that's been 'ongoing'? The investigation is long since dead. The 'JO' refused to review the Assange case, preferring instead to protect those at fault.
The public can fear that the country of Sweden has a secret agenda. The 'JO' in any case does not want this sensitive matter on his desk, caught in the grey zone between jurisprudence, politics, and CIA mythology.
Public speculation is justified until Marianne Ny says what she's doing, until the matter is fully reviewed by the 'JO', or until it's brought before a court of law.
There's something corrupt about the Assange case. Why is he de facto detained? Why hasn't Marianne Ny concluded the investigation? The answer can be found at our Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and that's not within our legal system. That's a conclusion as easy as any other in this sea of silence. Political power is permitted to influence the judicial system so that our 'kingdom' doesn't incur difficulties with the US and that country's interest in 'the hacker Julian Assange'? Should Sweden not behave with their Assange affair, she can be frozen out of information exchange agreements with the CIA, and prevented from purchasing their military technology. So say those who 'know'.
Detention Yes, Trial No
I have no special knowledge about the judicial situation in Dawit Isaak's Eritrea or in Guantánamo, but I fear the worst. What they have in common with Sweden is that those prisoners are detained with no trial and no limitation on their detention. Nor is there any limitation on how long those investigations can go on.
A suspect's suffering must always be minimised, whether it be Eritra, Guantánamo, or Sweden. And when last did Marianne Ny think about the two alleged 'victims'? They too have waited five years for Marianne Ny.
So Long, Marianne
Our Supreme Court reviewed the Assange case in May of this year. Our Supreme Court gave Marianne Ny one final chance. Our Supreme Court especially noted that Marianne Ny suddenly announced that she would at last arrange to interrogate Julian Assange in London. But she has not done that.
Marianne Ny's unfathomable objections have previously been that there are certain undefined 'formal obstacles' to conducting interrogations abroad. This is false. During the time Julian Assange has been de facto detained, the Swedish police have conducted 44 (forty-four) interrogation on British soil. Despite her promises, Marianne Ny still doesn't have an appointment with Julian Assange. It's now been five years since this case began. Marianne Ny shames Sweden.
I'm so sick of it all. Will it never end? At any rate I want to say the other girl's just as much to blame.
- Anna Ardin
Apparently Swedish laws are unique. If you have a penis you're half a rapist before you even get through customs.
- Scott Adams
If I am able to reveal what I know, everyone will realise this is all a charade. If I could tell the British courts, I suspect it would make extradition a moot point.
- Björn Hurtig
I can tell you that the Swedish prosecution still hasn't provided copies of those SMS texts that have been referred to. Those texts are some of the most powerful exculpatory evidence. In Australia prosecutors have a very grave duty to disclose such evidence to courts when seeking the grave exercise of a court's power against an individual. Yet in Sweden in this case, in the first hearings to obtain an arrest warrant, those texts were not submitted to the Swedish court, which is highly improper.
- James Catlin
The prosecutor could achieve this broadening of the law during Assange's trial so he can be convicted of a crime that didn't exist at the time he allegedly committed it. She would need to. There is no precedent for this. The Swedes are making it up as they go along.
- James Catlin
Julian Assange will surely learn that considering what WikiLeaks has published, he's got a few enemies in the Pentagon, the CIA, and the White House. Sweden began an investigation into rape which was later dismissed. Assange was even denied residence in Sweden. One can only speculate to what extent the security agencies of the US were involved. And considering the obvious interest of the US to silence WikiLeaks, is it likely Assange will have an accident of the 'Boston brakes' kind in the coming years? Or will he be snared with compromising information of the 'honey trap' kind?
- 'Drozd' at Flashback 23 October 2010
The truth will out, the truth wins out. Let no journalist ever again speculate into what the protocols say. Six months of digging and the people at Flashback have the actual documents. The sleaze printed by rags such as the Daily Mail, Sweden's Aftonbladet and Expressen, and perhaps above all the toxic Nick Davies of the Guardian, can stand no more. Yet more: these documents are an indictment of the 'news organisations' who've printed deliberate inaccuracies all along or even worse: refused to print anything at all. Nick Davies' account of the protocols was maliciously skewed; both Aftonbladet and Expressen had copies early on and printed nothing. Bloggers had copies but arrogantly kept the information to their Smeagol selves.
- The Assange Police Protocol: Translator's Note