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WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon" 299

An anonymous reader writes Julian Assange has hosted a press conference in which he indicated he is soon about to leave the embassy of Ecuador in London. From the article: "WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has spent over two years in Ecuador's London embassy to avoid a sex crimes inquiry in Sweden, said on Monday he planned to leave the building 'soon', but Britain signaled it would still arrest him if he tried. Assange made the surprise assertion during a news conference alongside Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino. But his spokesman played down the chances of an imminent departure, saying the British government would first need to revise its position and let him leave without arrest, something it has repeatedly refused to do.
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WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

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  • Re:This is so silly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by machineghost ( 622031 ) on Monday August 18, 2014 @01:10PM (#47696479)

    The people involved in common sex scandals aren't enemies of the most powerful state on Earth.

  • Re:Soon? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Monday August 18, 2014 @01:28PM (#47696643) Homepage

    Sweden could drop their charges today.

    He still skipped bail from a UK court. And it's arguable he's currently resisting arrest.

    Game over. You will be arrested and convicted if you leave.

    The fact that people conflate "arrest" and "charges" into one is also annoying. You "arrest" someone in order to stop them leaving until you can ascertain whether "charges" are necessary and what charges are suitable (if someone is killed and you arrest someone else for murder, you can't then release them because it actually turned out to be manslaughter, or GBH, or a theft, on their part - they are under arrest until the charges are determined, if any). Sure, you need a reason . But "because an EU nation asked for your detainment" is good enough in the law, and skipping bail is definitely good enough.

    So apart from skipping bail, resisting arrest, and everything else, the charges in Sweden mean little at this point. And the UK, whether you think they are in collusion or not, have the right to enforce their law on their soil (and, no, the embassy is NOT Ecuadorian soil, don't make that "old wives' tale" mistake).

    Even if the UK couldn't care less about Sweden's demands, they went through the proper channels, offered appeals, it went to the Supreme Court and he ran away from UK bail. Game over. We HAVE to arrest you the second you try to leave or every Tom, Dick and Harry will follow suit thinking it's a "get out of jail free card" to just resist arrest and skip bail.

  • by fredan ( 54788 ) on Monday August 18, 2014 @01:47PM (#47696809) Homepage Journal

    No, you are wrong.

    We (Sweden) have a separate agreement with the U.S. regarding this. That's why he's scared of being transported to the U.S. from Sweden.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @02:03PM (#47696965)

    Julian didn't create his anonymous submission platform out of motivation to serve humanity. That was just his public-facing excuse. The real reason is much more mundane:

    He likes to troll people in power.

    The fact that the rest of us benefited from his trolling is awesome. The fact that he got himself in legal trouble is not so awesome.

    Maybe the legal system has been manipulated such that America can wind up getting their hands on him, and sending him off for torture. Maybe that is the farce he promulgates to avoid having to answer for his own refusal to obey the law. I really don't have enough facts to know. I just know that I am thankful to him for exposing government evil, but I don't think that gives him a get-out-of-jail free card for completely unrelated charges. And I think he is an ass, so I only feel so much sympathy for him.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @04:36PM (#47698241)

    In particular, there's an instance [wikipedia.org] in which people were extracted from Sweden without any legal process, under US supervision, to Egypt, where they were almost certainly tortured.

    To my knowledge, there's been no similar case in the UK.

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday August 18, 2014 @08:37PM (#47699853) Homepage

    He was never free to go; that's a myth spread by his attorney, who received an official condemnation by the Swedish Bar Association [thelocal.se] for lying about that in court as well as a major dressing down from the judge (he's lucky he didn't get hit with legal sanctions). There was never a time period where he was not under investigation, and when he fled the country, his attorney was actively pretending that Assange was getting ready to come in willingly (and then after he got to the UK, Hurtg continued stalling, pretending Assange was going to be coming immediately back). If you want to see all the nitty-gritty, you can read the Ny SMS logs, they've been released.

    To go into more details about the early stages: AA and SW walked into a Stockholm police station and made the report, and were interviewed by two separate officers. As it was a weekend, the only available prosecutor, Eva Finne, took the case. There were a total of three initial investigating officers - Wassgren, Krans, and Gehlen. Wassgren and Gehlen felt, from the interviews, that Assange should be charged with five counts (2x molestatation, 1x unlawful sexual coersion, 2x rape); Krans felt it should be 2x, 1x, 2x. News quickly broke that Assange was being investigated. This is supposed to be illegal, the name isn't supposed to be disclosed at this stage but Sweden has some crazy-strong whistleblower protection laws (part of the reason Assange was moving there in the first place), you can't even investigate to find out who made a leak, so it always happens when cases involve famous people. Finne quickly had a warrant issued for Assange's arrest for the two rapes - even though he had not at that point refused to cooperate. There was naturally a huge backlash, and Finne withdrew the warrant (thus dropping the rape charges), but kept the investigation open for the molestation and unlawful sexual coersion charges. It was during this time that Assange was interviewed; since the only investigations open referred to the lesser charges, that's all he was interviewed about. Meanwhile, the legal representative of the women, Claes Borgström, appealed the decision (Sweden has a police appeal board, which is frequently used for cases like this and isn't particularly unusual); the fact that Finne had dropped the rape charge concerning SW before SW's statement had even gotten into the computer system made it pretty obvious that the case hadn't gotten a fair hearing, and the board ruled in favor of the women. The case was thus transferred to the next prosecutor up, Marianne Ny. Ny reopened the investigation for all five counts, and tried to get Assange back in to interview him for the dropped charges. The team meanwhile did lots of followup interviews and forensics collection and testing. It was during this time that Assange fled to the UK. Ny spent over a month trying to get Assange to come back, continually reaching out to his attorney, even the day before she went into court to get a warrant for him. A judge approved the Swedish warrant (thus he was formally anklagad, the Swedish stage for trying to get a person into custody so that they can then be åtalad, which is the stage that leads to trial) and subsequently the EAW was issued. The original warrant was open for the full five counts. Assange appealed to the Svea Board of Appeals (Sweden has a strong defendents rights process, even though he was hiding from the law he was still able in absentia to appeal the investigation), and a full court hearing was held involving a full review of the evidence and testimony from Assange's attorneys. For the most part, he lost - one of the rape charges was dropped, but the other and all of the others were upheld, leaving a formal finding of probable cause of rape, molestation, and unlawful sexual coersion. Assange appealed to the Swedish Supreme Court. His appeal was rejected. He then moved through the appeals process in the British system, first the lower court, the high court, and the Supreme Court, alleging malicious p

  • Re:Hello! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lars_boegild_thomsen ( 632303 ) <.lth. .at. .cow.dk.> on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:45PM (#47700225) Homepage Journal

    Well, the major difference between Julian Assange and Snowden is that the latter did not seem to have any hidden agenda whatsoever, he just felt morally obliged to inform the world of illegal government actions. Julian Assange however could have left that embassy any time for the past 2 years. Just walk out, go to Heathrow, fly to Sweden and face a jury of his peers like everybody else in the civilized world who is accused of a crime.

  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @08:24AM (#47702293)

    I know each time the Assange story comes up you like to jump on it because the whole thing is personal for you (I haven't forgotten the last time you lost the plot on the issue, don't worry), but you seem to be making things up that aren't even there, which is a new low even for you. The story states very clearly that he was convicted in absentia, not simply that he was simply awaiting an appeal when he died, using Swedish translations of common words like "prosecute" doesn't add weight to your case by the way, it just makes you look even more desperate in your argument.

    "And the British court system has at every level ruled Assange to be in a state equivalent to charged under the British legal system."

    What the British court has ruled is that he can be extradited under the extremely lax checks of the European Arrest Warrant, something which is a major bone of contention in the UK and has been the target of much political preference for removal by MPs and precisely because it's such an utterly stupid piece of law in the first place. Pretending stupid law somehow adds weight to your overriding bias that Assange is a rapist is another example of your further highlighting the stupidity of your argument.

    "But do you somehow know more about Swedish and British law..."

    What I know is that not all these things are in agreement, so to try and stack them together to add weight to your argument is again, a further example of the weakness of your argument. I know for example that the prosecutor your refer to when stating her case in British court actually admitted that Assange could indeed be interviewed and charged here under the MLA framework (exactly like they did for this guy in Serbia: http://www.expressen.se/nyhete... [expressen.se]), but simply insisted that she be able to do so in person in Sweden regardless.

    What I also know is that whilst I may not be a professor of Swedish law, that professors of Swedish law also completely disagree with you, so your appeal to authority fallacy fails miserably in the face of a similar but opposite appeal to authority:

    http://sverigesradio.se/sida/a... [sverigesradio.se]

    Another thing I know is that the British courts regularly get such human rights issues wrong, they spent 10 years restricting the liberties of Abu Qatada only for him to be found innocent when he finally got to Jordan, and there have been many other cases where British courts got such issues wrong. The idea you're pushing that they consistently get such issues right, and aren't ever swayed by politics is demonstrable false, again, as in the Abu Qatada case. The British justice system is imperfect and easily manipulated by politics, in fact, the whole reason we have a Supreme Court is because politicians wanted an overriding court with a politically appointed judge panel precisely so that politics could play a part in justice, which is yet one more thing that shows how utterly laughable your appeal to authority fallacy is in this respect.

    So Rei, I think you should accept what you accepted last time this discussion came up, that this issue is one that is too personal for you, and that in Rei land a man accused is a man guilty is a man convicted is not how things should work in the real world. In the real world we like justice and due process, if that isn't being followed, which it isn't - because the Swedish prosecution are insisting on avoiding processes that could resolve this issue fairly and objectively, then there's a problem.

    I really could not care if Assange is found guilty or not, I have no presumption of innocence unlike your presumption and insistence of guilt, I think there's a fair chance he may well be guilty all the same. I appreciate some of the things he has talked about and some of his goals, but that's by the by, I appreciated some of the things Rolf Harris did but it doesn't change the fact it's all overshadowed b

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein