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Four Questions to Answer if Assange is to be Extradited

Posed by celebrated Swedish jurist Brita Sundberg-Weitman. Riddle remains a riddle.

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In the hearings in the High Court on Tuesday and Wednesday concerning the rendition of Julian Assange, questions were raised that judge Howard Riddle had ignored but which remain central to the case. Justices Ouseley and Thomas both found the Swedish position at times incredible and indefensible.

Brita Sundberg-Weitman, member of the Flashback forum and a celebrated jurist and human rights activist, discusses these issues.

1. May a European Arrest Warrant be used at a point where it's still unclear if there will be any prosecution at all against the person to be extradited?

Judge Howard Riddle agreed with Assange's lawyers on their position that there must be an intention to prosecute, but he was of the opinion Marianne Ny had such intentions: 'I have no doubt that this defendant is wanted for prosecution in Sweden'.

Riddle's statement is questionable to say the least, given that both Marianne Ny and Nils Rekke have publicly and expressly repeatedly explained it's still an open question whether the preliminary investigation will lead to prosecution or not.

2. Is Marianne Ny a 'judicial authority'? Because if she's not, then she is not authorised, according to British law, to issue a European Arrest Warrant.

This question was dismissed by Riddle but possibly will be treated more seriously in the High Court. At any rate, one of the judges pointed out that too wide a definition of the concept 'judicial authority' would undermine the public's confidence in the European Arrest Warrant. The court also took up the question of to what extent the arrest warrant for Assange has been issued by the Swedish state rather than an independent judiciary: 'how much the Assange arrest warrant was issued by an arm of the Swedish state, and how much by an independent judicial authority'.

3. Has the arrest warrant been issued with respect for the principle of proportionality?

This means that a state measure may not be taken if for the individual in question there is a less intrusive alternative that achieves the objective of the measure. There are international rules about mutual legal assistance. According to these rules, Assange could have been interrogated in England, and he expressly offered to cooperate with such an interrogation, or on the telephone, or through video conferencing, or at the Swedish embassy in London. Meanwhile, Marianne Ny has given Swedes a number of varying explanations why she can't use these rules about mutual legal assistance, saying amongst other things that it's not allowed by Swedish law or English law, which is completely untrue.

The problem with the principle of proportionality passed Riddle by. He didn't care that Marianne Ny refused to speak to the English court about why she didn't want to interrogate Assange in England: 'A number of reasons have been speculated as to why she took that view. I am not in a position to say what the reason was.'

High Court Justice Thomas expressed irritation over Sweden issuing an arrest warrant instead of interrogating Assange in England: 'Why are we precluded from acting with sense in this European Union when the commission talks about cooperation?'

4. Are the claims in the arrest warrant a misrepresentation of police documents?

Assange's lawyers have a lot going for them on this point. They've conducted an extensive comparison of what Ny contends and what's been actually said by the women according to the police report.

Swedish media have continually been on the side of Marianne Ny. Annika Ström Melin's article 'Give Up!' expressed the same tired mendacious claim that Assange's former lawyers 'smeared the women who accused Assange'. She has the incomparable arrogance to claim that she, better than his current legal counsel, understands the judicial import of what English law regards as a valid arrest warrant, stating: 'Assange's lawyers should study the law better'. And how Swedish state television in a nearly ridiculous fashion attempted a character assassination of Assange...

  The controversial Riddle, previously attacked by British media, remains a riddle. But now the case belongs to Ouseley and Thomas instead.

Further Reading
Petition Online UK: Remove Senior District Judge Howard Riddle
Brita Sundberg-Weitman: Fyra frågor som måste besvaras om Assange ska utlämnas
Mail Online: £50 insult to Britain's war dead: Veteran's fury as poppy burner mocks soldiers

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