Action

Join Friends of WikiLeaks (FoWL) and defend Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, whistleblowers and free speech in your local area and abroad.

Contents

Australia

News (Australia):

12 December 2011: Attorney General Robert McClelland is replaced by Nicola Roxon. Please write a letter to the new Attorney General: she has the power to change the handling of the Assange matter. She can break with McClelland’s legacy. Copy in your local MP and PM Gillard (see next section for their contact details). For tips on content, see below section for letters to PM Gillard and your local MP. (Letters are more difficult to ignore than emails.)

Join Friends of WikiLeaks (FoWL) and defend Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, whistleblowers and free speech in Australia and abroad.

The Hon Nicola Roxon MP,
Attorney-General’s Department,
Central Office,
3-5 National Circuit,
BARTON ACT 2600

If you are in Victoria, you can print out the poster below (you will need a scribd account in order to download the poster).

Julian Assange Poster Campaign, Victoria, Australia

Please send two letters, one to your local MP and one to Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

This method of action will ensure that your local member of parliament (MP), who has local responsibility for addressing your complaints will take your complaint on to the Parliament floor. Your MP will have an incentive to act because the cause of your complaint to them is PM Gillard’s actions. PM Gillard on the other hand will face increased pressure in Parliament and will be made aware that she is losing support not only by individual citizens but within Parliament (including by her own political party), by losing support by the politicians who make up Parliament.

1. Contact your local MP

  • Write a letter to your local MP (find who they are here) urging them to put pressure on Julia Gillard to change her policy towards WikiLeaks and Assange.

Ask your MPs to put pressure on Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard urging her to support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, to ensure that if Mr. Assange is imprisoned will he be transferred to Australia through the International Transfer of Prisoners (ITP) scheme and to make undertakings that she will use her political discretion to prevent Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States. State whether your vote in the next elections is affected by the Parliament’s approach to the Julian Assange matter. (For more information of Julia Gillard’s role against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and the Australian government’s lack of meaningful action on this issue, see the Australia page.)

Send a copy of the letter to your MP to:

- The Hon Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister, Parliament House, CANBERRA ACT 2600

- The Hon Nicola Roxon MP, Attorney-General’s Department, Central Office, 3-5 National Circuit, BARTON ACT 2600

- The Hon. Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs, R.G. Casey Building John McEwen Crescent, Barton ACT 0221 Australia

2. Contact Prime Minister Julia Gillard

  • Contact Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard urging her to support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, to ensure that if Mr. Assange is imprisoned he be transferred to Australia through the International Transfer of Prisoners (ITP) scheme, and to make undertakings that she will use her political discretion to prevent Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States. State whether your vote in the next elections is affected by her handling of the Julian Assange matter. (For more information of Julia Gillard’s role against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and the Australian government’s lack of meaningful action on this issue, see the Australia page.)

Please send a hardcopy letter (sent via postal mail) addressed to:

- The Hon Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister, Parliament House, CANBERRA ACT 2600

AND send a copy to each of these three:

- Your Local MP

- The Hon Nicola Roxon MP, Attorney-General’s Department, Central Office, 3-5 National Circuit, BARTON ACT 2600

- The Hon. Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs, R.G. Casey Building, John McEwen Crescent, Barton ACT 0221 Australia

Sweden

Join Friends of WikiLeaks (FoWL) and defend Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, whistleblowers and free speech in Sweden and abroad.

(Swedish translation below)

Open Letter to Sweden’s Prosecutor General:

Mr Anders PERKLEV
Prosecutor General
Office of the Prosecutor General
Östermalmsgsatan 87c
Box 5553
S-114 85 Stockholm Sweden

By email: anders.perklev@aklagare.se

OPEN LETTER TO ANDERS PERKLEV, PROSECUTOR GENERAL, SWEDEN

Dear Anders Perklev,

The extradition of Julian Assange to Sweden under the European Arrest Warrant is currently before the UK Supreme Court, who will decide whether to hear his appeal on the grounds it has not been issued by a proper judicial authority. Mr Assange’s case has drawn international attention and left many ordinary European citizens questioning what safeguards and protections there are in the EAW scheme for people facing police investigation in Europe. In view of this, could you please provide some clarity for non-Swedish citizens on some aspects of Swedish judicial procedure for which you as Prosecutor General have overall responsibility.

On 6 December 2011 the Swedish Prosecution Authority issued a statement pointing out that Sweden decided to make ALL public prosecutors "judicial authorities" for the purposes of issuing EAWs under the Framework Directive. This is not something that was anticipated by British Parliamentarians when drafting the UK Extradition Act 2003 (Hansard), who felt strongly that such warrants should only be issued by a court. May I ask why you felt it necessary to issue such a statement on that date?

Mr Assange’s name was leaked to the press, apparently by the Stockholm Prosecution Service, which is illegal under Sweden’s privacy laws. Can you outline - for an international audience - what steps were taken to investigate this and a summary of the findings. How were those responsible dealt with?

Can you publish some statistics on how often a Swedish public prosecutor nominates themselves as the chief investigator in a case? The Swedish Prosecution Authority English website says: "In the case of less serious crimes, the police continue to lead the preliminary investigation." As the strongest allegation against Mr Assange is described on the Prosecution Authority’s own website as "less serious crime", it is not clear why Marianne Ny is involved in the case as chief investigator at this stage.

Mutual Legal Assistance is ordinarily used to interrogate people in foreign jurisdictions. However, Marianne Ny stated that British and Swedish law prevented her from questioning Julian Assange in London, which was untrue. Her statement was later redacted. What disciplinary measures are available to you as Prosecutor General when a senior public prosecutor misleads the public in this way?

Can you please outline - if only in general terms - on what basis this case was re-opened on 1 September 2010 after Eva Finné, a senior prosecutor you appointed to review it, cancelled the original arrest warrant - "I consider that there are no grounds for suspecting that he has committed rape." - leaving only one instance of alleged molestation still to be investigated? From reading the leaked police protocol on the internet - as millions of people across Europe have - there seems to be only one item of new evidence which might have appeared between Eva Finné’s decision on 25 August 2010 and the re-opening of the case, a torn used condom. However, the forensic analysis of 25 October 2010 included in the prosecution protocol does not support any offences related to this item being included on the face of the EAW issued by Marianne Ny on 18 November 2010. To put it plainly, no DNA could be found on this condom.

http://rixstep.com/2/20110619,00.shtml
http://rixstep.com/2/1/20110622,00.shtml
http://rixstep.com/1/20111126,01.shtml

This would appear not to meet the Prosecution Authority’s Objectivity Demand (on your website): "Forensic evidence must, of course, be gathered and investigated in a correct and secure manner. The prosecutor must also be objective when he or she initiates a prosecution. During the course of the trial it is admittedly the prosecutor’s task to prove that a crime has been committed, but the prosecutor is obliged to give due consideration to anything that could change the situation with respect to evidence."

Again, please outline - for an international audience - whether this is a disciplinary matter and, if so, what disciplinary measures are available to you as Prosecutor General.

I am particularly concerned that Mutual Legal Assistance has not been used in this case. Under Sweden’s Code of Judicial Procedure "the investigation should be conducted so that no person is unnecessarily exposed to suspicion, or put to unnecessary cost or inconvenience." (Chapter 23, Section 4) and there is no doubt that a great deal of both Swedish and British taxpayers’ money has been wasted arguing this extradition in court when much simpler methods could have been used to question Julian Assange. Can you please explain the mechanisms by which Britain is reimbursed its costs in representing the Swedish Prosecution Authority in the UK courts? Likewise, what avenues are available to Mr Assange to seek recompense for his substantial personal legal costs in challenging this abuse of the European Arrest Warrant process?

Yours sincerely,

[name] [UK/Swedish/Australian Citizen / Citizen of _______ ]

Swedish translation by Joakim Ramstedt

Öppet Brev till Riksåklagare Anders Perklev

Anders Perklev
Riksåklagaren
Östermalmsgsatan 87C
Box 5553
114 85 Stockholm Sverige

Genom e-post: anders.perklev@aklagare.se

ÖPPET BREV TILL ANDERS PERKLEV, Riksåklagaren, SVERIGE

Bäste Anders Perklev,

Utlämning av Julian Assange till Sverige enligt den europeiska arresteringsordern är för närvarande under behandling i Storbritanniens Högsta domstol. Det som skall avgöras är om man skall höra hans överklagande med motiveringen att den inte har utfärdats av en laga rättslig myndighet. Mr Assanges fall har orsakat internationell uppmärksamhet och många europeiska medborgare undrar därför vilka rättssäkerhetsgarantier och skydd som finns i EAW systemet för personer som står inför polisutredningen i Europa. Mot bakgrund av detta, skulle ni möjligen kunna förklara för både svenska och icke svenska medborgare de aspekter av det svenska rättsliga förfarande för vilket du som Riksåklagaren har det övergripande ansvaret?

Den 6 december 2011 gjorde den svenska Åklagarmyndigheten ett uttalande och påpekade att Sverige beslutat att göra alla offentliga åklagare till så kallat ’rättsliga myndigheter’ för att därmed kunna utfärda europeiska arresteringsordrar enligt ramdirektivet. Detta förutsågs inte av de brittiska parlamentarikerna vid utarbetandet av den brittiska utlämningslagen 2003 (Hansard). En lag som starkt betonade att sådana arresteringsordrar bara bör kunna ges av en domstol. Får jag fråga varför du kände det nödvändigt att göra ovannämnda uttalande sagda datum?

Mr Assanges namn läcktes till pressen, till synes av Stockholms åklagarmyndighet, vilket är olagligt enligt Sveriges lagar. Skulle du kunna beskriva - för en internationell publik - vilka åtgärder som vidtogs för att undersöka detta och en sammanfattning av resultaten. Har de ansvariga identifierats och hur har detta i så fall hanterats?

Har du någon statistik eller uppskattning över hur ofta en svensk åklagare utser sig själv som förundersökningsledare i ett ärende? På den svenska åklagarmyndighetens engelska hemsida står det: ’När det gäller mindre allvarliga brott fortsätter polisen att leda förundersökningen’. Den allvarligaste anklagelsen mot Julian Assange beskrivs på åklagarmyndighetens egen webbplats som ’ett mindre allvarligt brott’. Det är därför svårt att förstå varför Marianne Ny var inblandad i fallet som utredningschef i detta skede.

Konventionen om ’Mutual Legal Assistance’ från 2000 används väl fortfarande vanligen för att förhöra medborgare i andra länder? Marianne Ny uppgav dock att brittisk och svensk lag hindrade henne från att förhöra Julian Assange i London, vilket därmed var osant. Hennes uttalande togs senare tillbaks. Vilka disciplinära åtgärder är tillgängliga för dig som riksåklagare när en högt uppsatt åklagare vilseleder allmänheten på detta sätt?

Kan du beskriva - om så bara i allmänna termer - på vilka grunder detta fall öppnades på nytt den 1 september 2010 efter Eva Finné, en högt uppsatt åklagare som utsetts av dig att granska ärendet, annullerade den ursprungliga arresteringsordern?

’Jag anser att det inte finns anledning att misstänka att han har begått våldtäkt. Detta gör att det nu endast återstår ett fall av sexuellt ofredande att undersöka.’
- Chefsåklagare Eva Finné När man studerar det läckta polisprotokollet på Internet - som miljontals människor över hela Europa har gjort - verkar det endast finnas ett nytt bevis som kan ha uppstått mellan Eva Finnés beslut den 25 augusti 2010 och återupptagandet av förundersökningen: en trasig använd kondom. Emellertid framgår det av den rättsmedicinska analysen från den 25 oktober 2010, vilken ingår i åtalsprotokollet, att detta bevis inte styrker något brott. Några anklagelser relaterade till detta objekt är inte heller nämnda i den europeiska arresteringsordern som utfärdades av Marianne Ny den 18 november 2010. För att tala klarspråk kunde nämligen ingen DNA varken från målsägare eller misstänkt hittas på denna kondom.

http://rixstep.com/2/20110619,00.shtml
http://rixstep.com/2/1/20110622,00.shtml
http://rixstep.com/1/20111126,01.shtml

Detta förefaller inte uppfylla Åklagarmyndighetens krav på objektivitet. På din myndighets hemsida kan man läsa: ’Teknisk bevisning måste naturligtvis tas upp och utredas på ett korrekt och säkert sätt. Åklagaren måste också vara objektiv när han eller hon inleder ett åtal. Under rättegången är det visserligen åklagarens uppgift att bevisa att ett brott har begåtts, men åklagaren är även skyldig att ta vederbörlig hänsyn till något som skulle kunna förändra situationen när det gäller bevisning’.

Återigen, vänligen förklara - för den svenska och internationella allmänheten - om detta är ett disciplinärende och i så fall vilka disciplinära åtgärder finns tillgängliga för dig som riksåklagare?

Särskilt bekymmersamt är att konventionen om ’Mutual Legal Assistance’ inte har använts i detta fall. Enligt den svenska rättegångsbalken ’bör utredningen bedrivas så att ingen person i onödan utsätts för misstanke eller för onödiga kostnader eller besvär’ (kapitel 23, paragraf 4) och det råder ingen tvekan om att en stor del av både svenska och brittiska skattebetalares pengar har gått till spillo i dividerandet om denna utlämning i domstol, när mycket enklare metoder skulle kunna ha använts för att förhöra Julian Assange. Kan du förklara de mekanismer genom vilka England ersätts för sina kostnader när dom representerar den svenska åklagarmyndigheten i de brittiska domstolarna? Likaså vilka vägar står öppna för Mr Assange att söka ersättning för sina stora personliga rättegångskostnader, i sin kamp mot detta missbruk av den europeiska arresteringsorder processen?

Med vänlig hälsning

[Namn]

UK

Join Friends of WikiLeaks (FoWL) and defend Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, whistleblowers and free speech in the UK and abroad.

Letter to Cambridge University Students Union Women’s Officer

This letter has been reprinted from here, and is directed at the Cambridge University Students Union Women’s Officer Susy Langsdale, who initiated a secret petition to boycott Julian Assange from speaking at an event planned on 27 November 2012.

"Here’s a version of the letter I sent to the Cambridge feminists this morning. I wonder if it will generate any response.Dear Susy and Feminist Friends:

I’m a retired anthropology professor and feminist folklorist, and one of the few women in the United States to have won a sexual harassment suit against a professor at a major university.So you may find it surprising that I support Julian Assange’s right to speak at Cambridge. I don’t want to be called a rape apologist, so I could remain silent – but that would be submitting to another form of women’s oppression.When I first read about the Swedish case I thought, "One more self-styled revolutionary using his power to harass the women who do the work." Then I read the testimonies of Assange, the two women, and nine witnesses. Things were not as they seemed.

If I still taught anthropology, I would suggest that my Anthropology of Women students1) Read the testimonies of Assange, the two women, and the nine witnesses:http://rixstep.com/1/20110204,...or the more complete information in Guy Sims’ “Julian Assange In Sweden: What Really Happened.”http://www.smashwords.com/extr...2) Write their assessment of what they think happened3) Speculate on possible reasons for the discrepancies between what happened, how the case has been prosecuted, and how it has been presented in the press.I taught my students to distinguish between

a) What happened, what we can know for sure – the dataandb) Interpretations of that data – what people made it mean.Writers who do not make this distinction confuse their readers.We can never know what happened between two people alone in a room. For data we have only their narratives, which change with time and under pressure. But these narratives are primary source material, so we must examine them to understand what happened.Every woman I know has been pushed into doing things sexually she didn’t want to do. When we read allegations of rape, it restimulates this disturbing emotional history. The challenge for feminist thinkers is to acknowledge our own responses and discharge the emotional hurts we hold in our bodies, in the hopes of learning to think more clearly and analyze data objectively.Are we willing to consider the possibilities that the Swedish, British, and US press have presented Assange as a rapist in order to undermine support for WikiLeaks, and that the US government is pressuring Sweden and the United Kingdom to use these allegations to imprison Assange?"

OPEN LETTER TO UK PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON ABOUT ASSANGE EXTRADITION

Copy this letter to your MP and tell them that you would like the issues it mentions to be raised during Prime Minister’s Question Time.

You can find the email contact details for your local MP here. David Cameron’s email address is not public but letters sent to the UK Parliament will reach him.

OPEN LETTER TO UK PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON ABOUT ASSANGE EXTRADITION

By post: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Dear Prime Minister,

I have been discussing the recent Supreme Court Assange extradition verdict with friends, work colleagues and neighbours and want to share with you how ordinary British voters view its implications.

The Supreme Court judgment is stunning in its overreach. It has effectively annulled parts of the UK Extradition Act 2003 and undermined Parliamentary sovereignty, on the basis that Parliament was misled or that it didn’t know what it was doing when drafting the Act. Here’s a good article that explains what’s wrong better than I can. Here’s another (read the comments for a flavour of how UK citizens view what’s just happened). As I understand it, the judges say the decision to implement a treaty overrides any intention Parliament had to vary its terms (ie the 2003 Act), based on an obscure clause of the 1957 Vienna Convention not discussed during the appeal hearing. Oh, and that French is now the ‘preferred’ language of our courts.

At the heart of the matter is where the legal sovereignty to enact the laws which affect the British nation lies. The EU Framework Directive on which our UK Extradition Act is based says that every Member State has the right to choose whom they call a ‘judicial authority’ – except the UK, it now seems. We would say ‘a judge’ under our Common Law system, but the Supreme Court disagrees and says the European Civil Law system takes precedence over ours.

We’ve been told that a successful appeal by Mr Assange would throw the EU justice system into turmoil as 11 Member States use prosecutorial figures in some form of judicial capacity, but I believe there are only 2 out of the 47 Member States where there is no proper separation between executive and judiciary and prosecutors are part of the executive (Sweden being one of them), a point of Mr Assange’s appeal which seems to have received little attention in the judgment. To jettison 800 years of Common Law legal heritage – solely to avoid inconveniencing two European Member States – would, at one point, have required the agreement of the nation in a referendum. In fact, in light of this judgment, a referendum now on extradition reform would be a very good – and popular – idea.

In view of the above, I sincerely hope this case is re-opened – and not via written submissions studied behind closed doors, but in a full hearing televised by the Supreme Court so that the British public can see what is happening to a law which Parliament had intended would protect their rights.

I am aware Home Secretary Theresa May wishes to offload the legal and human rights responsibilities of her office as regards extradition entirely into the hands of the judiciary. This judgment is a perfect illustration of why that is such a bad idea; Ms May’s plan too subverts the primacy of Parliament and “fails to understand the nature of extradition… Extradition is diplomatic in the first instance. It becomes judicial and ultimately it is political.” Sir Menzies Campbell MP

There is a suspicion among people I’ve spoken to that long-promised extradition reform is being delayed until after Mr Assange has left these shores, perhaps because of this, which shows high-level US involvement in the Scott Baker extradition review – itself suffering from excessive secrecy (along with other FOI requests concerning Mr Assange, which have all been denied). What good will reform do at that stage if, thanks to the Supreme Court verdict in his case, anything Parliament enacts in future is deemed automatically superseded by the European Civil Law system?

I will be asking my local MP to sign Caroline Lucas’ Early Day Motion 128 calling for an end to these delays to urgent extradition reform, a halt to all US extraditions meanwhile, and the publication of the Baker Review evidence.

The allegations against Mr Assange have NOT been brought by the women; the allegations have been levelled by the Swedish State. That was the whole point of his Supreme Court appeal. The women are as much victims of the Swedish State as Mr Assange himself is, as they went to police for advice about HIV testing and have publicly stated that he is not violent and they did not wish to file a complaint. One of the women has stated she felt “railroaded” by police and did not sign her witness statement, which was later amended by a politician acting as the women’s lawyer. After reviewing the police file, a senior Stockholm prosecutor dismissed all the allegations bar one (non-extraditable) molestation offence for further investigation, then closed the case entirely.

The case was re-opened by a politician (same one) campaigning during an election to expand Sweden’s sex crime laws and passed by him to an investigating prosecutor in another jurisdiction. That investigating prosecutor has publicly stated: “The detention time can itself be used as punishment if the offender subsequently is not convicted.”You may wish to read that sentence again. Yes, that’s right, punishment instead of conviction. Is this the level of ‘judicial impartiality’ the British public is expected to accept from now on? Ms Ny’s comment reads more like self-appointed judge, jury and executioner to me. I thought we disapproved of that sort of thing in the UK.

People ask “If he’s innocent, what’s he afraid of? Why doesn’t he go to Sweden to clear his name?” without realising that the only venue being offered to argue his innocence is incommunicado solitary confinement under Sweden’s heavily criticised pre-trial detention regime. Despite nearly two years of requests to be interviewed, the Swedish prosecutor refuses to use standard Mutual Legal Assistance channels to question Mr Assange in the UK, without giving any reason. The Swedish authorities say they are seeking to extradite him for questioning (there are no charges) and yet it’s the one thing they seem least keen on doing.

It is time for Britain to formally request that Sweden does what it claims it wants to do: question him – here, on British soil – before we start dismantling Britain’s Common Law justice system in order to facilitate the extradition of one man. I ask that this formal request be lodged with the Swedish Ambassador as a matter of urgency.

Or do you agree that a foreign prison cell is the only suitable place for someone to answer an investigating prosecutor’s questions about not using a condom during consensual sexual encounters? Because if you agree that for Mr Assange then, due to the precedents set by his case, you agree it for us all, and for the next set of McCanns labelled arguidos by a European investigating prosecutor.

The shadow hanging over this whole case from the very beginning, of course, is the looming threat of Mr Assange’s extradition to the US, which would like to see him prosecuted for espionage for his journalistic activities. This can be facilitated very easily through Sweden’s “temporary surrender” arrangements in its bilateral treaty with the US, a clause not available in Britain’s own US treaty. Some of us see that shadow again in the announcement a few days before the Supreme Court’s judgment was due that the US Secretary of State would be visiting Sweden four days after the verdict, for the first time in 36 years – “a very long time” as Swedish FM Carl Bildt proudly tweeted (and I hope the Supreme Court’s communications system doesn’t fall within the ambit of the government’s forthcoming total surveillance for intelligence services bill).

For how much longer can Britain’s senior politicians remain wilfully blind to that shadow when it is becoming more and more visible to their constituents and there is justifiable anger that so many of our rights are being thrown away in subservience to it?

Please answer the questions raised in this letter. You are the Prime Minister. You are expected to care about the laws Parliament enacts to protect the legal rights of people in this country.

Yours sincerely,

[Name] UK Citizen

OPEN LETTER TO NICK CLEGG, UK DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

By post: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

By email: nick.clegg.mp@parliament.uk

Dear Nick Clegg,

I want to draw your attention to a disturbing Freedom of Information request for details of US Government involvement in the ‘independent’ Scott Baker Review of the UK’s extradition arrangements.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/81571864/...

This FOI reply makes it clear there was very high-level US Government involvement in the Baker Review – up to and including US Attorney General Eric Holder – but that the public are not to be told what was discussed, as that might “prejudice relations” between the UK and the US. Likewise, details of any critical responses or objections from the public consultation, or whether the Review met with anyone who’s actually experienced the Extradition Act as a defendant (apparently not), will be published only after the Government has decided how it will implement the Review’s recommendations – this, we are told, is to ensure “transparency and public open access”. That is not right. Informed public debate about changes to the Extradition Act, and whether those changes adequately protect the rights of individual citizens – the people who might one day find themselves at the sharp end of it – must be based on full disclosure before, not after, decisions have been reached. On the face of it, this FOI reply indicates a profound lack of balance in the Baker Review.

Recent extradition cases reflect a similar – and scandalous – lack of balance in the UK’s current extradition arrangements, both on the US side and towards Europe. The lack of a forum provision, or any requirement for US law enforcement agencies to provide evidence beyond ‘reasonable suspicion’, has left UK citizen Babar Ahmad languishing in a British prison for eight years without charge or trial. Richard O’Dwyer’s is another young life about to be ruined, for an offence which doesn’t exist in Britain and is in essence a civil matter – copyright infringement against immensely rich and powerful multinational corporations. And now 65 year old Christopher Tappin becomes the latest victim of the UK’s weak extradition laws – in solitary confinement in a prison system notorious the world over, facing a legal system where plea bargains are often a defendant’s only option, his wife crying on the tarmac at Heathrow because he looked to senior British politicians to protect his right to a fair trial – and they failed him. How did US interests – corporate and otherwise – come to contaminate our legal space to this degree? Where does the United States’ extraterritorial jurisdiction end and where does Britain’s sovereignty begin – or rather, where has it gone?

Britain’s courts are completely hamstrung by the UK’s current extradition arrangements. The deeply flawed European Arrest Warrant system mandates that our judges put ‘mutual recognition’ of Europe’s many different – and often incompatible – judicial systems above the need to check whether the evidence even shows there is a prima facie case to answer. Literally thousands of people have been extradited to Europe via EAWs – their lives disrupted, losing their jobs, homes, family and access to support networks or English-speaking lawyers – to face lengthy imprisonment awaiting trial under a legal system that is alien to them, often on what amounts to very trivial charges. Where is the UK courts’ right to insist on proportionality before this happens? Or to insist that European prosecutors use Mutual Legal Assistance to question people before issuing these draconian EAWs? Why must our judges operate under a system which tells them they must ignore evidence even though it plainly shows that extradition is not justified? If the UK’s current extradition arrangements fail to work in the interests of justice this often, how many more victims must there be before Britain calls a halt?

The case of Julian Assange – shortly to be decided by the Supreme Court – is perhaps the most worrying of all. His extradition is demanded by an investigating prosecutor for questioning in a case concerning consensual but unprotected sex, where he has not been charged, and where the forensic DNA evidence indicates there has been wrongdoing and abuse of process in issuing the extradition warrant. The Swedish judicial system allows for indefinite pre-trial detention and for trials to be held behind closed doors, heard by a judge and three politically appointed lay jurors who have no legal training. Furthermore, he faces an overwhelmingly hostile media environment in Sweden and there are justifiable fears about the "temporary surrender" mechanism available in the US/Sweden bilateral treaty for his onward rendition to the US to face potential espionage charges. Evidence has now emerged that the US has had a secret sealed indictment against Assange for more than a year – another reason that makes the above FOI reply deeply troubling.

In its progress to date through the British court system, judges have ruled that none of these factors are sufficient to override the Swedish prosecutor’s extradition request, thereby setting new and dangerous precedents for us all. The Irish Supreme Court has just unanimously ruled that European Law does not permit extradition for the purposes of questioning only. In the UK, however, unless the Supreme Court upholds his appeal on the basis that a partisan prosecutor is not a proper judicial authority, Assange’s case will have created the perfect storm of precedents – meaning that, henceforth, any person can be extradited from the UK to anywhere in Europe, without charge, without evidence, by any prosecutor, anywhere, and without proper judicial oversight.

Recent developments make Mr Assange’s situation even more worrying. Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has taken to writing blog posts and multiple tweets declaring Wikileaks is planning a smear campaign against him and this is therefore an attack on Sweden. This is based on entirely fabricated articles by the Swedish newspaper Espressen, which was also responsible for breaking the confidentiality of a preliminary investigation by relaying the news “WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange hunted down, suspected of rape” to the world’s media hours before a senior Swedish prosecutor decided the rape allegation was false. Prejudicial public remarks have also been made by Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Justice Minister Beatrice Ask and Prosecutor General Anders Perklev. It is inconceivable that Julian Assange will receive a fair trial in Sweden in a case which has become so highly politicised there.

I would remind you again of UK Home Secretary Theresa May’s legal obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 to safeguard individuals’ rights under the European Convention of Human Rights, including Article 6, the right to a fair trial:

"... the Home Secretary is under a duty under the Human Rights Act 1998 not to act in a manner that is incompatible with a person’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. Therefore, she must consider whether, as a result of events occurring after the extradition proceedings, it would be contrary to the convention for a person to be extradited... During the statutory extradition process, human rights are considered by the courts, but if a human rights issue arises after the end of that process the Home Secretary must consider these issues." Source: Hansard HC Deb, 24 November 2011, c190WH

The Home Secretary must be reminded of her legal obligations in respect of this case.

Yours sincerely,

[name] [UK/US/Australian citizen/Citizen of Europe]

Template Letter to Home Secretary Theresa May

By email: mayt@parliament.uk By post: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, UK

OPEN LETTER TO THERESA MAY, UK SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME OFFICE

Dear Theresa May,

I understand the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear Julian Assange’s appeal against extradition to Sweden sometime between 19 and 25 December, possibly after Parliament rises for recess on 21 December. This is an usually fast decision. I am therefore writing to ask what arrangements you have made to review the human rights implications of his extradition - should the Supreme Court decide not to hear his appeal - as it is therefore likely to happen while Parliament is in recess for its Christmas break (21 December to 10 January).

"... the Home Secretary is under a duty under the Human Rights Act 1998 not to act in a manner that is incompatible with a person’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. Therefore, she must consider whether, as a result of events occurring after the extradition proceedings, it would be contrary to the convention for a person to be extradited... During the statutory extradition process, human rights are considered by the courts, but if a human rights issue arises after the end of that process the Home Secretary must consider these issues." Source: Hansard HC Deb, 24 November 2011, c190WH

It is hard to imagine the Supreme Court refusing to hear an appeal on the grounds that a partisan public prosecutor is not a proper judicial authority to issue European Arrest Warrants, given that the High Court has already certified this point as "of general public importance", and given also that the Swedish Prosecution Authority’s English language website shows that prosecutors and police are interchangeable in Sweden, which is very pertinent to the issue. However, it might happen so I want to know how you have prepared for this eventuality.

On 6 December - the day after Mr Assange won the right to petition the Supreme Court - the Swedish Prosecution Authority issued a statement confirming Sweden had given ALL public prosecutors the right to issue EAWs under the Framework Directive. This was not anticipated by British Parliamentarians when drafting the Extradition Act 2003, who felt strongly EAWs should always come from a court of some kind, nor indeed was it intended when the Framework Directive itself was drawn up.

The UK’s leadership in the defence of human rights - such as the recent Declaration by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers (currently chaired by UK Foreign Minister William Hague) expressing concern about political and economic pressure and cyber attacks against online media organizations, whistleblowers, human rights defenders and dissidents - is something of which Britain can be justly proud. However, there have also been warnings and some criticisms: "What the UK does today will send a powerful signal to other states about what they can do tomorrow."

As well as the human rights issues he faces within Sweden, such as excessive incommunicado pre-trial detention - criticized by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and the US State department - and the "trial by media" that is already well under way, there is justifiable concern about the "temporary surrender" mechanism available in the US/Sweden bilateral treaty (but not in the US/UK one) that could be used to ’loan’ Mr Assange to the USA. This mechanism circumvents both the safeguards of a formal extradition process and the need for the UK’s agreement under the Framework Directive as the Surrendering State.

An open letter condemning alleged WikiLeaks source Private Bradley Manning’s treatment in detention at Quantico, Virginia as tantamount to torture has now been signed by 64 MEPs (and counting). It calls for the US administration to allow UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez unmonitored access to Private Manning to investigate, as his mandate requires him to do. This has so far been blocked.

I am concerned that - with no effective way for the UK as original Surrendering State to block onward transfer to the US once Julian Assange leaves our shores - the potential for "temporary surrender" by Sweden may put Britain itself in breach of the EU Convention on Human Rights if it allows his extradition from the UK to go ahead. A ruling by the European Court in the case of Babar Ahmad as to whether aspects of detention in the US contravene Article 3 of the Convention of Human Rights - the article prohibiting torture - is expected soon and a decision to allow extradition of Mr Assange before the outcome of that case is known would be very unwise. I therefore ask again that you: · Call for Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to make a clear and unequivocal statement that Sweden will NOT use the temporary surrender mechanism to transfer Julian Assange to the United States. · Block Mr Assange’s extradition from the UK on the above grounds in accordance with your legal obligations under section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 until such time as this statement has been made. · Remind Sweden of its legal obligation under Article 19.2 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: "No one may be removed, expelled or extradited to a State where there is a serious risk that he or she would be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." · Join Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg’s calls for Sweden to stop relying on "diplomatic assurances" regarding detainee transfers (Recommendation 5 of his Country Visit report). Yours sincerely,

[name] [British citizen / Citizen of ___________]

Resources

Readers: Thanks for acting on the UK December extradition debate!

6 December 2011: Thank you all who contacted your MPs in the UK ahead of the historic debate on 5 December on extradition. The Parliamentary debate went well, with at least four MPs mentioning Julian Assange’s case as an abuse of the EAW regime. Read more about the debate on WLCentral. Take action by contacting the MP for your area.

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Template letter to Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

Source: Debra

Viviane Reding
European Commission Vice-President in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
BE-1049 Brussels
Belgium

Open letter to Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

Dear Dr Reding,

On 5 December Julian Assange will seek leave to appeal his extradition to Sweden at the UK Supreme Court, which many commentators say is unlikely to be granted. The implications of this for European justice under the European Arrest Warrant system are alarming.

Julian Assange is being extradited at the behest of an investigating prosecutor - not a proper judicial authority - which subverts the intention of the British Parliament when drafting the 2003 Extradition Act - and without being charged, which goes against the intention of the Framework Directive itself. The EAW was never intended to be used for questioning or investigation. By law, the Swedish prosecutor cannot decide to prosecute until the end of the preliminary investigation.

Despite numerous requests to be questioned about the allegations, both while still in Sweden and by other means once in the UK, alternatives such as Mutual Legal Assistance were refused by the prosecutor. If Mr Assange can fall foul of such draconian - and frightening - prosecutorial overreach, then so can we all. How can European citizens have faith in a justice system that can do this to people? As you noted at the recent EU panel discussion ’Time for Reform?’: "We all know that confidence in the application of the arrest warrant has been undermined."

Neither has this case benefited from the proportionality checks in the Issuing State that you wish to see. The Svea Court appeal of 24 November, on which the recent High Court judgment relied heavily, was a rubber-stamp process for which English language translations were not provided and, it’s now been confirmed, defence lawyers were not even present (’Problems with Riddle’s findings: Sundberg-Weitman’).

Millions of us across Europe have read the Swedish police prosecution case file available on the internet. We know of the many troubling aspects to this investigation and that the allegations and evidence are unlikely to survive scrutiny in a fair and proper trial. Justice Ouseley acknowledged at the original bail hearing in December: "The history of the way it [the case] has been dealt with by the Swedish prosecutors would give Mr Assange some basis that he might be acquitted following a trial". In the latest ruling, the High Court judges hint (about the strongest allegation against Assange): "These are matters of evidence which would be highly relevant at trial. But it is not for this court to assess whether the allegations may fail." (paragraph 125) However, Julian Assange is unlikely to receive a fair and proper trial in Sweden.

The Leveson Inquiry is currently investigating press standards in the UK and many victims of the phone-hacking scandal have come forward to describe the devastating impact of "trial by media" - even greater, of course, if what’s involved is your liberty and freedom. As a former journalist, you will recognise that the media climate in Sweden about this case is not conducive to a fair trial for Julian. In the UK such media behaviour would be deemed contempt of court. Prejudicial public remarks have also been made by Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Justice Minister Beatrice Ask and Prosecutor General Anders Perklev.

Then there is the matter of "temporary surrender" for onward transfer of Mr Assange from Sweden to the USA, which would circumvent both the safeguards of a formal extradition process and the need for the UK’s agreement under the Framework Directive as the Surrendering State - as detailed in a letter to Kevin Rudd (Foreign Minister at the time) by Gareth Peirce, internationally respected human rights lawyer and Mr Assange’s brief in this case.

Back in June 2011 you felt that Gerard Batten MEP’s question about this issue was essentially a "what if" one as "there is nothing concrete on the table". However, The Independent reported that informal, ’back-room’ discussions between Sweden and the US about Julian Assange took place on 8 December 2010, the day after his voluntary arrest under the EAW. Please note also that the US Embassy in London declined to give a statement when asked directly about the use of temporary surrender by the Guardian newspaper. Sweden too has remained silent on the subject, although last month Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny raised the possibility that Assange could be extradited from Sweden to the US, expressing little qualm about it.

The conditions of Private Bradley Manning’s pre-trial detention at the Quantico base in Virginia have been widely condemned as tantamount to torture - including in an open letter signed by 54 MEPs - and the US administration has repeatedly blocked UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez from having unmonitored access to fulfil his mandate to investigate Private Manning’s treatment. Since the WikiLeaks release of the Guantanamo files there is no denying the fact that the United States operates a torture regime.

In view of the above, will you:

§ Call for Fredrik Reinfeldt to make a clear and unequivocal statement that Sweden will NOT use the temporary surrender mechanism to transfer Julian Assange to the United States. Extradition from the UK should be blocked until such statement is issued.

§ Join Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg’s calls for Sweden to stop relying on "diplomatic assurances" regarding detainee transfers (Recommendation 5 of his Country Visit report).

§ Remind Sweden of its legal obligation under Article 19.2 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: "No one may be removed, expelled or extradited to a State where there is a serious risk that he or she would be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

§ Endorse the UK’s refusal to honour this EAW if Home Secretary Theresa May blocks Mr Assange’s extradition from the UK on the above grounds by virtue of her obligations under section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998, as you did Austria’s refusal of the EAW to extradite Mikhail Golovatov to Lithuania, where he is seen as responsible for the deaths of 14 people.

Yours sincerely,

[name] [British/US/Australian citizen / Citizen of Europe]

1226 days under house arrest.

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On 8/10/2012
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On 7/10/2012
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18:32 – RT @MIAuniverse: @ladygaga if ur at harrods today , come visit Assange at the Ecuador embassy across the st. im there. ill bring TEA an ...
18:15 – RT @AssangeC: My name, Christine Asssange & photo have been hijacked on twtter by person with a putrid false bio about me. Can anyon ...
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17:07 – RT @AssangeC: Be on the right side of history...Stand up 4 Truth.....Stand up 4 Justice .....Stand up 4 Julian #Assange #WikiLeaks
16:11 – @austingmackell Fair point but, of greater concern is prosecutor abusing position, irregularities, Swedish politicians interfering in case.
16:07 – Claes Borgstrom on woman SW: It doesn't matter if they don't think they've been raped: they're not jurists. http://t.co/CmBHlEnd #svpol

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