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WikiLeaks’ Assange in court to fight extradition

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, February 7, 2011 8:20 EDT
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LONDON – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in a British court Monday to fight attempts to extradite him to Sweden over sex crime allegations.

Lawyers for the 39-year-old Australian are expected to argue that the extradition request is unacceptable because he has not been charged with any crime.

Wearing a grey coat and dark blue suit and tie, Assange smiled as he entered the complex at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court in southeast London — Britain’s highest security court — for the start of the two-day hearing.

A decision is not expected Tuesday, with the judge expected to defer until later this month.

If the ruling goes against Assange he will be able to appeal all the way to England’s supreme court.

Swedish prosecutors want to question Assange over allegations of sexual assault and rape made by two women.

Assange, who won worldwide notoriety for his website’s release of thousands of secret US diplomatic cables, insists the attempts to extradite him are politically motivated.

His lawyers were to argue that if Assange were extradited to Sweden, he would risk extradition or could even be passed on to the United States where they say he could face the death penalty.

Assange, who was arrested in London in December 7, now faces a widening criminal probe in the United States and has made powerful enemies in Washington.

The former computer hacker’s legal team took the rare step of publishing their defence argument in full online on Monday.

One of his lawyers, Mark Stephens, told The Daily Telegraph newspaper: “You will see some fundamental challenges to the European arrest warrant scheme.”

Lawyers will argue that the arrest warrant is invalid because Assange is only wanted for questioning and has not been charged and that the Swedish prosecutor lacked the authority to issue it.

Assange was released on bail a week after his arrest and has since been staying at a supporter’s country mansion, under strict conditions including that he obey a curfew, wear an electronic ankle tag and report to police daily.

Leaked details have cast new light on the rape and molestation accusations he faces after Swedish police reports filled with graphic details of the allegations reached the Internet last week.

The police documents, viewed by AFP, contain a statement from the alleged rape victim alleging that Assange forced himself on her, without wearing a condom, while she was asleep.

The woman, identified only as Miss W, said she had had consensual sex with Assange earlier in the evening and had then fallen asleep with him, only “to wake up because he has forced himself inside of her,” the report said.

“‘She asked immediately: are you wearing anything?’ and he answered ‘you’,” it added.

“She told him ‘You better not have HIV,’ and he answered ‘Of course not’.”

After that, Miss W allowed the intercourse to continue.

The documents also include a forensic report on the condom used during a sexual encounter with Assange’s other alleged victim, Miss A, who accused him of having deliberately broken the prophylactic.

The report says the condom had not been cut with scissors or a knife.

Celebrity backers including socialite Jemima Khan were planning to lead rallies in London for Assange during his extradition hearing.

Khan, the wealthy former wife of Pakistan cricketer Imran Khan, was in court for the start of the hearing.

After releasing hundreds of thousands of confidential US documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan last year, WikiLeaks has in recent months been slowly publishing more than 250,000 leaked US diplomatic cables.

This video is from the BBC, broadcast Monday, Feb. 7, 2011.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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  • Anonymous

    I don’t mean to excuse this guy’s behavior, but were he an NFL star quarterback NBA MVP, they would be giving him bonuses and trophies after far worse accusations than a broken condom.

  • Anonymous

    So why is it rape if she allowed it to happen? HAHAHAHA laughable.
    How did he force himself on her? She woke up and said Ok, go on…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lon-Warneke/1409625620 Lon Warneke

    Of course it wasn’t rape… Because of his status as a target of international governments, that evidently doesn’t matter under the Swedish plan to trap him for themselves and others to do whatever they want with him.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting – Agence France-Presse: “Assange, who won worldwide notoriety for his website’s release of…” I wonder if the author was editorializing, or if there is a problem with the translation: “notoriety” could accurately be replaced by “fame” in this sentence – it all depends on the point of view of the observer – I’d love to see the French original. This is either terrible reporting or unforgivable editorializing. In my opinion Julian Assange is a hero. I know I’m not alone in this feeling.

  • Guest

    “I don’t mean to excuse this guy’s behavior…”
    WHAT behavior are you speaking of? Consensual adult sex? And as far as I’ve read, it WAS consensual.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Best of luck to Julian. Now that the world’s attention is turned to Egypt, the Dark Forces will manipulate, twist and extort at will in order to eliminate him.

    And still, poor Manning lingers on in limbo.

  • Anonymous

    I agree it does seem that there was consent except for the claim that he started one episode with a sleeping partner. I prefer, and think it is only considerate, that one’s partner should be awake from the start.

  • Anonymous

    I like to repost some highly intelligent and informative comments from an English version of a Swedish news site (The Local) by the commenter, arbed12</strong:

    Questions (not being asked by the mainstream media):

    The 100 page police protocol now on the internet is the complete prosecution file as it existed on 18 Nov when it was given to Assange’s lawyer (in Swedish) by Marianne Ny. Her letter to the Australian High Commission (20 Dec) mentions “a small number of documents” held back that have been verbally described to the lawyer, so this must be more or less the whole thing.

    My question: I thought a European Arrest Warrant could only be issued for offences that carry a minimum 1 year sentence. I think this applies to only 1 of the 4 offences detailed – the one concerning Miss W being “asleep”. Miss W’s witness statement in the protocol is unfinished and unsigned. So, has this EAW been raised on the basis of allegations that have not been formally made (ie. no signed witness statement)?

    Alternatively, has it been raised on the basis of the hearsay evidence of friends, family and work colleagues about this incident given by Witness B (statement taken by telephone on 8 Sept), Witness D (telephone statement 13 Sept) and Witnesses G, H and I (telephone statements 6, 22 and 27 Oct respectively)?

    More questions: where is Miss W’s full witness statement (either recorded police interview or properly finished and signed document)? There’s been plenty of time to obtain it between 20 Aug and 18 Nov surely? Why hasn’t this been given to the defence?

    Where is Miss A’s full witness statement? Subsequent to the telephone statement taken on 21 August, there has been at least one opportunity to do a full recorded police interview (when she gave the police the torn, used condom on 25 August). Again, there has been plenty of time between 21 Aug and 18 Nov to obtain a formal statement. Why hasn’t this been given to the defence?

    Apparently, police forensics were unable to find any DNA (male or female) on a torn, supposedly used, condom. How is this even possible? To me, the lack of any DNA indicates the condom has never even been worn and therefore, potentially, has been presented by the complainant as false evidence. Why have most reports in the mainstream media about the latest leak (from an incredibly porous police investigation) not mentioned this detail at all?

    Finally, one for Nick Davies of the Guardian, who wrote a highly prejudicial article on 18 December based on a 68 page police report (he says he was given “unauthorised” access to a few days previously. Given the police file on the internet now is 100 pages long, does this mean Davies’ report did not include Witness E and Witness F’s statements (lengthy recorded police interviews done on 20 Sept) by two Swedish journalists? It’s the only thing I can see that might account for the difference in page count. If so, why not – they were available by 18 December. And why did he choose to publish an article based on only one side of the story? In a rape case? Would he consider that good journalistic practice? Or a disgrace to his profession?

    (lengthy recorded police interviews done on 20 Sept) by two Swedish journalists? It’s the only thing I can see that might account for the difference in page count. If so, why not – they were available by 18 December. And why did he choose to publish an article based on only one side of the story? In a rape case? Would he consider that good journalistic practice? Or a disgrace to his profession?

    One more thing:

    Witness I’s statement is very troubling. First, she doesn’t seem to live where her statement indicates she does and, second, in it the police ask her about the SMS messages with Miss W that talk about revenge. If this (and others?) were already in the police file by 27 Oct why hasn’t it been passed to the defence? Is this one of the SMS messages the defence lawyer says he’s seen but is gagged from talking about? Is it part of the “small number of documents” Marianne Ny stated to the Australian High Commission that she’s held back but verbally described to the defence lawyer?

    http://www.thelocal.se/31868/20110206/

  • Guest

    Certain details we will never know. Thankfully. (-:)

  • ghostof911

    As a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Dennis Kucinich made a request to Robert Gates to have meet with Manning. Has there been a reply yet, or is the plan to just blow the Congressman off?

  • Jaimie11

    Look at this spirit – “Geoffrey Robertson, a human rights lawyer representing Assange, said his client was fighting extradition because Swedish trials involving alleged sex crimes are often held in secret.”

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2011/02/20112791540339907.html

    Rape trials held in secret in Sweden? The politics of rape in Sweden have one foot still in the Victorian era.

    http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/wolf31/English

  • Johnny Warbucks

    I haven’t heard anything so I doubt it. Besides, if they ever reply, Manning will probably be dead by then. I’ve also been preoccupied with the Egyptians and not paying too much attention to other news

  • ghostof911

    Very good links, thanks. The justification for the Victorian era secret trials is to prevent the CIA collaborator Anna Ardin from being considered “damaged goods.”

    Too damn funny. Almost as funny as this.

    “Sweden has strongly denied pressure from the US in bringing the case against Assange.”

  • Anonymous

    and coverage from the CBC…
    Julian Assange Continues to Fight Swedish Extradition
    A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says that Swedish secrecy surrounding rape proceedings and his client’s global notoriety mean there is a risk of a “flagrant denial of justice” if he is extradited to Sweden. http://www.newslook.com/videos/288871-julian-assange-continues-to-fight-swedish-extradition?autoplay=true

  • Anonymous

    These accusers are insane. How can you accuse someone of rape when you have consensual sex before and after. They are publicity seeking prostitutes. Normally I am 100% on the woman’s side in such matters but these women’s statements make no sense whatever.

  • TheDevilCanDance

    I predict nothing will happen to Asange, this is a dog and pony show, Assange is serving the interests (either willingly or as a useful idiot) of the larger and sinister agenda…..

  • Anonymous

    I am baffled that he is still held without being charged. Has the rest of the world adopted the Patriot Act?

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Useful idiot, may turn out to be. Check this out:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-11-28/wikileaks-documents-chinas-google-hack-un-spying-more-secrets/?cid=outbrain:external&obref=obnetwork

    You know that if the Zionists masters endorse it, it’s a slam dunk.

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