At 9:22 a.m., London time (4:22 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time), Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers handed down the 5 to 2 Supreme Court decision. The point of law that had to be decided by the Court was whether a public prosecutor had the legal authority to issue an extradition warrant in Sweden, as defined by the European arrest warrant system. Their decision was that the Swedish public prosecutor has that authority. The appeal of Julian Assange for release from the extradition order has been dismissed.
Assange will be sent to Sweden within the next ten days. Even if he appeals the case to the European Union Court of Human Rights, it will not stop the extradition. The Supreme Court decided the only point of law that was relevant to the case – the authority to issue the warrant. The rest of the appeal – Assange’s assertion that the case is not criminal except in Sweden, Assange’s belief that the case is a sham meant to
place him in American custody – none of that was of interest to the Supreme Court.Before the judgement was handed down, a group of Assange fans had gathered in the street outside the Court to protest the proceedings. Sky News reporter Esther Addley observed that there were more television cameras than protesters and 20 to 30 journalists inside the Court chambers.
This ends Assange’s 18 month battle to resist returning to Sweden to answer questions concerning allegations that he raped two young women as defined by Swedish law, which is much more inclusive of various forms of coercion and action than any other Western country. Having previously once to intercourse is not equivalent to having consented to subsequent acts, and any coercion that results in a women being persuaded to have unprotected sex is unlawful.
Upon arrival in Stockholm, Assange will be taken into custody and detained. The Assange fans’ claims concerning Swedish justice are warped.
Bail IS available in Sweden, but the reason for detaining someone during investigation and pre-trial after charges are brought are the same that they are in America: The crime has a statutory penalty of one year or more and the suspect is a potential repeat offender; there is a risk the suspect will destroy evident or impede the investigation; and there is a risk the suspect will flee the jurisdiction. Additionally, a suspect can be held if he has no permanent residence in Sweden or if it is learned he has given a false identity.
Assange is a double-hitter on these points. He has already fled the jurisdiction once and has no permanent or any other type of residence in Sweden.
The accusation that Assange would be tried in secret was shot down when it was presented in British courts as a reason to refuse the extradition. Sex crimes are tried in closed court in Sweden, to preserve the privacy of the victims. The general public is not allowed in the courtroom, just the judge, the jury, the prosecution and defense attorneys, the defendant and any person he receives permission to have in attendance to him. Witnesses, as in most jurisdictions, are kept separated from each other and out of the court during testimony by others. The press has access to the defense and prosecution when they leave the courtroom. It’s not a secret trial, it is simply a closed trial. Closed trials and testimony given under close security or preservation of privacy are not uncommon in America. Many countries bar press coverage of trials as they occur and bar any information about trials appearing in the press. It is intended to prevent too much pre-trial publicity, trial by public opinion and harassment or coercion of witnesses.
Julian Assange will not be placed incommunicado in a secret prison location or tried in a secret tribunal. Those claims by Assange’s fans are gross exaggerations of Swedish justice.
This case and the repeated court hearings have exposed several aspects of Julian Assange’s perceptions of himself and the mission of WikiLeaks. Assange believes that he is so supremely important to the universe, so much so that a nation would risk killing him or incarcerating him in an inaccessible military facility after taking public custody of him. Assange does not believe in facts or truth when it comes to himself and his paranoid delusions and neither to his supporters.
My apologies concerning the link to Sky News mentioned in my story this afternoon. I was unable to break through to watch the proceedings live from inside the Supreme Court and had to rely on the Sky News live blog for this story. All the links were deadends.