WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange loses extradition battle

May 30, 2012

The Washington Post on May 30, 2012 released the following:

“By Karla Adam

LONDON — Britain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday denied WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s appeal against extradition to Sweden to face questions about allegations of rape, sexual assault and unlawful coercion.

At a short hearing in central London, the president of the Supreme Court, Nicholas Phillips, said the court dismissed the defense team’s argument that the warrant that led to Assange’s arrest was flawed.

Speaking to a packed courtroom, Phillips said the case had “not been simple to resolve,” and was decided by a vote of 5 to 2.

In a surprise intervention, Assange’s legal team asked — and was granted — two weeks to consider lodging an application to reopen the case. The lawyers said that the judges decided the case based on the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, but that this point had not been discussed in court.

Assange — who shot to international fame when his anti-secrecy Web site spilled official state secrets in the form of Afghanistan and Iraq military reports and a mammoth cache of diplomatic cables — did not appear in court on Wednesday. His lawyers told reporters he was stuck in traffic.

Swedish authorities want to question Assange — no charges have been laid — about separate encounters he had with two WikiLeaks volunteers. The volunteers say they had consensual sex with Assange, but at some stage, it became non-consensual. One of the women, described in the courts here as “Miss B,” accused Assange of having unwanted sex with her while she was asleep.

Although Assange insists the sex was consensual, his case before the Supreme Court hinged on a single technicality: Was the Swedish prosecutor who issued the European arrest warrant that led to his arrest in December 2010 a valid judicial authority?

Only a “competent judicial authority” can issue a European arrest warrant, a system ushered in to speed up extradition between European nations.

In a 161-page judgment, the Supreme Court haggles over what, exactly, is meant by the words “judicial authority,” ultimately rejecting Assange’s arguments that a public prosecutor cannot fall into the category.

Although the Supreme Court is Britain’s highest appellate court for civil cases, Assange has not yet exhausted all of his legal options.

Assange can still appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, which would decide within two weeks whether or not to take the case. If that court declined to take the case, Assange would be extradited to Sweden “as soon as arrangements can be made,” according to a statement by the Crown Prosecution Service. If the European court accepts the case, analysts say, the long-running legal battle could drag on for more weeks or months.

In February 2011, a lower court in Britain granted Sweden’s extradition request. Assange appealed the ruling and lost, but he won permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case before seven judges — two more than normal — because, the court said, of the “great public importance of the issue raised, which is whether a prosecutor is a judicial authority.”

Assange’s attorneys have argued that the allegations lodged against him are politically motivated and said they fear Swedish authorities might hand him over to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act for leaking State Department diplomatic cables.

Over the next two weeks, Assange will remain in Britain under his current bail terms, which include wearing an electronic tag around his ankle and checking in daily with local police.

Such is the worldwide interest in the case that the Supreme Court issued a statement last week encouraging visitors who were not attending the Assange judgment to “choose another day to visit the building.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Wikileaks Assange to quit extradition fight?

November 15, 2011

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has hired a Swedish public relations company in an indication that he is ready to abandon his appeal against his extradition to Sweden to face sexual misconduct allegations.

In a statement on his website, Harald Ullman confirmed he had been taken on by Assange, but there was no indication as to when – if at all – the WikiLeaks founder might travel to Sweden.

“After researching the case it is clear to me that JA is innocent of the rape allegations,” the Independent quoted the statement, as saying.

“Many wonder why he just doesn’t go to Sweden. The reason why is that he is scared that he will be extradited to the US,” it added.

The United States is yet to file charges against Assange, although a grand jury has been tasked with deciding whether he or WikiLeaks broke any US laws through their leaks.

Legal experts say any extradition to the US from Sweden would have to be approved by Britain first, under the terms of the European arrest warrant that he is sought on.

Assange had earlier this month lost his London High Court appeal against extradition to Sweden.

Assange, an Australian, had decided to fight the case at London’s High Court after a judge at Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court ruled in February that the WikiLeaks head should be extradited.

The 40-year-old has not been charged with a crime, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him in connection with sexual misconduct allegations related to separate incidents in August 2010.

Assange has been denying the accusations.

This article was published by ZeeNews on November 14, 2011.

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Sweden here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Julian Assange’s Lawyer Claims the Arrest Warrant is Invalid

July 12, 2011

WikiLeaks founder’s counsel claims in high court that Swedish judges were misled about sexual assault and rape allegations

The European arrest warrant issued for the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, is invalid, the high court was told on Tuesday, because of significant discrepancies between its allegations of sexual assault and rape and the testimonies of two women he allegedly had sex with.

The warrant details four allegations of unlawful coercion, sexual molestation and rape, relating to encounters between Assange and two Swedish women while on a trip to Stockholm last August.

But Ben Emmerson QC, for Assange, said the warrant was a misinterpretation of the evidence and it was “surprising and disturbing” that Swedish district judges who requested Assange’s extradition had been misled.

Emmerson was opening the latest step in the Australian’s attempt to avoid being sent to Sweden for questioning and possible charges which Assange has said he fears could pave the way for him to be further extradited to the US. There he could face charges relating to the leak of hundreds of thousands of classified government documents through WikiLeaks. An earlier appeal failed and Assange has appointed a new legal team which is taking a more conciliatory approach.

Emmerson told Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Ousely that there was no evidence about there being a lack of consent in the encounters as appeared to be suggested in the wording of the arrest warrant. He said three of the allegations would not amount to criminal offences under English law.

Emmerson said: “The senior district judge found that those factual allegations would establish dual criminality on the basis that lack of consent, and lack of reasonable belief in consent, may properly be inferred from the conduct described, particularly the references to ‘violence’ and a ‘design’ to ‘violate sexual integrity’. However, that description of conduct is not accurate. The arrest warrant misstates the conduct and is, by that reason alone, an invalid warrant.”

Emmerson examined the witness testimonies of the encounters in graphic detail.

Referring to evidence of an encounter on the night of 13 August given by a woman known as AA who was hosting Assange at her apartment, Emmerson said: “The appellant’s physical advances were initially welcomed but then it felt awkward since he was ‘rough and impatient’… they lay down in bed. AA was lying on her back and Assange was on top of her … AA felt that Assange wanted to insert his penis into her vagina directly, which she did not want since he was not wearing a condom … she did not articulate this. Instead she therefore tried to turn her hips and squeeze her legs together in order to avoid a penetration … AA tried several times to reach for a condom which Assange had stopped her from doing by holding her arms and bending her legs open and try to penetrate her with his penis without using a condom. AA says that she felt about to cry since she was held down and could not reach a condom and felt this could end badly.”

But, Emmerson said, crucially there was no lack of consent sufficient for the unlawful coercion allegation, because “after a while Assange asked what AA was doing and why she was squeezing her legs together. AA told him that she wanted him to put a condom on before he entered her. Assange let go of AA’s arms and put on a condom which AA found.”

Emmerson told the court the case did not hinge on whether Assange accepted this version of events and others relating to other incidents because there were no charges against him, but whether the arrest warrant in connection with them was valid on “strict and narrow” legal grounds.

As if to illustrate the change of strategy by Assange’s new legal team, Emmerson said: “Nothing I say should be taken as denigrating the complainant, the genuineness of their feelings of regret, to trivialise their experience or to challenge whether they felt Assange’s conduct was disrespectful, discourteous, disturbing or even pushing at the boundaries of what they felt comfortable with.”

Assange was in court with supporters including Vaughan Smith, the founder of the Frontline Club who is hosting his house arrest at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk, and John Pilger, the veteran investigative journalist.

Assange arrived at about 9.15am, saying nothing to questions as he moved at a snail’s pace through a tight scrum of photographers. He was asked if he was looking forward to his latest day in court and whether he would take the case to the supreme court if he lost over the next two days. He said nothing.

By the court railings, small groups of protesters gathered, including one carrying a banner saying: “Free Assange! Free Manning! End the wars.”

This article was written by Robert Booth and Published by guardian.co.uk on July 12, 2011.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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