By Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli Ph.D., editor-in-chief.
This issue focus on the Swedish case VS Assange. We present analyses and updates on this remarkable long-standing breach against the human rights of Mr Julian Assange, and partly on the organization he founded for the benefit of World democracy, the institution WikiLeaks.
The United Nations International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights says that the arresting of Mr Julian Assange can & should be put to an end. The extreme intervals and deferrals in the Swedish managing of the case has resulted in protracted period of five years, and in which Sweden has incurred in ostensible infringement of Article 9, paragraph 3, of the said International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This international-law pledge, of which Sweden is a signatory, stipulates that all individuals under prosecution investigation – even if they are only “detained” and thus, even if they are not being charged with any crime – as it is the case of Mr Assange – “shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release”.
Already in 2010 I put forward the thesis that the “case” against Mr Julian Assange it was, it is, nothing other than a political case [for downloading the book (2014) as PDF click on the image at right]. The fact –reported in these days – that the government of Sweden has negotiated the upcoming interrogation of Mr Assange in London is a pristine proof that the political-thesis was right all along. One can argue, or at least hope, that this intervention was made to move the case forward, but the paramount indication arising here is that the Swedish legal system, the Swedish prosecutors, appears in the case Assange under the lead of a (politically-elected) government.
The corollary issue is, then, under which lead the past Swedish government has been in regards of committed itself to initiate, and at the same time to procrastinate, the prosecution of Mr Assange. The background facts presented in this issue indicates that the U.S. government asked Sweden in 2010 – as they did towards other countries participating in the occupation of Afghanistan – to initiate a prosecution against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
After the Guardian’s reportage echoed in the Swedish media and the agreement between the Swedish and Ecuador governments became known, the press asked the Swedish prosecutor office about details on the prospected interrogation of Mr Assange. They gave this remarkable answer, published in DN, “We cannot comment before that we have actually have seen that an agreement really exists” [In the words of Ms Ann Öberg, Prosecutor Authority Press Service: “Vi kan inte kommentera det innan vi har sett att det finns ett avtal”].
Clearly, it was not the prosecutor Marianne Ny, neither the Prosecution authority office, that confirmed for the media that such an agreement has been reached with Ecuador. It was a political officer at the government, Ms Anna-Carin Svensson, political secretary at the Ministry of Justice [departementsråd vid justitiedepartementet]. In actual fact, the negotiations from the Swedish side were finally conducted by political officers at the government, the above mentioned Ms Anna-Carin Svensson, acting as international chief negotiator for the Ministry of Justice, and Mr Anders Rönqvist, Director-General for Legal Affairs at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
We really hope that the above will lead to a prompt and necessary dropping of the case, and in this eventuality the political intervention of Sweden is just appropriate. Traditionally, on the other hand, the interventions of the Swedish government authorities in the on-going “legal case” have been expressly detrimental to the legal interest of Mr Assange, and even blunt insulting him ad-hominem. In my book ‘Sweden VS Assange – Human Rights Issues’ I detail such direct interventions done by the very PM of Sweden at that time, or by ministers or other personalities in the government.
A key issue, which I sincerely hope it is part of the agreement, refers to the presence of Ecuadorian officials during the prospective interrogation. For recordings (or absence of recordings) in the Swedish interrogation proceeding of the case have been at times under the minimum required by a system that declares it follows Rechtsstaat doctrine.
Nearly all the news published in the UK, US or Swedish state-owned and mainstream media end invariably with this misleading comment, “Assange believes that he will be extradited to the US, and that there it might be waiting a legal process against him and his organization WikiLeaks”
But those are not speculations of Mr Assange. Those are facts, which will be soon detailed in this column.
In the bottom of tis truth, the final war is not the one of the secrecy state against Mr Assange and his organization WikiLeaks, or against Snowden. It is against the civil rights of the people, the right to know what their governments are up to, the duty of the people to control power and the obligation of government to stay accountable for their deeds. In this sense, Assange’s organization WikiLeaks is to be considered, instead of enemy, as a saver of democracy, a life boat for a democracy in peril to drown in a ocean of deceptions.
WikiLeaks vital contribution to democracy is a theme, in my opinion, brilliantly developed by the featured analysis in this issue of The Indicter by Dr Nozomi Hayase (See, Assange’s Battle; A Fight for Democracy). I thank Dr Hayase on behalf of The Indicter’s Editorial Board. Other valuable contributions are the interview with Julian Assange conducted by the notable journalist of L’Espresso, Stefania Maurizi. Novel author Greta Breveglieri debuts in The Indicter with a stupendous insight debunking prosecutor-maneuvering in the case, and finally, my colleagues at SWEDHR Professor Anders Romelsjö and Dr Leif Elinder contributes with an appeal on behalf of persecuted whistleblowers. Finally, New Zealand’s human rights activist Lynn Prentice comments the process-related behaviour of the prosecutor in the case, Ms Marianne Ny. For contextual purposes I have also included my analysis, ‘Political facts behind the Swedish case VS. Assange‘.