By Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli PhD
On behalf of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights (SWEDHR)
Sweden has been internationally recognized in the past as a leading country on matters of human rights and respect of individual’s political and civil rights. At its peak, the ethical stature of the late PM Olof Palme positioned the government of Sweden in the chairmanship of a variety of international bodies for world peace and for prominent participation in the non-aligned movement.
After the assassination of Olof Palme, which took place in the middle of an ad-hominem campaign driven by the Swedish press, a successive series of government initiated by Carl Bildt, and successively Göran Person and (Justice) Tomas Bodström, have transformed the independent stances of Sweden. The nation’s exemplar non-alignment was subsequently abandoned and has instead been converted into a geopolitical instrument of the US government, and a close partner with NATO – including the military assistance or direct participation in occupation wars. Further, the human-rights ideal that was once paramount to Sweden’s international policy was definitively buried by Carl Bildt’s period as ruler of Sweden’s foreign affairs. In consensus Sweden, the governments and monopoly media ultimately replace the citizens’ political initiative. Eventually, even the so-called Swedish Left Party, in which “radical-feminism” is a predominant factor, had no problem in voting in parliament for Bildt’s proposition on Sweden’s military participation in Libya under US-command. Those are the political forces behind Sweden’s today rejection of the UN-ruling declaring Mr Assange’s detention arbitrary.
The following determinant factor in the Assange case has to be also understood in the context of the military occupation of Afghanistan pursued by Swedish troops, under US-command. The US government asked in August 2010 the few EU nations participating under their military command in Afghanistan to initiate the prosecution of Julian Assange. WikiLeaks had published documents related to US military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, denounced the wars there and published evidence that supported accusations of war crimes. Further, WikiLeaks exposed the secret Intel cooperation agreements (illegal in Sweden) between the Swedish government and the US, which entails providing to US private information gathered on Swedish citizens. Sweden was the only country among those integrated into the US-led coalition in Afghanistan that complied.
However, after nearly six years, all the main deceptions in the “legal” prosecution initiated by Sweden against Mr Assange are now widely exposed. These are the facts:
- Mr Assange has never been charged with any crime, neither in Sweden nor elsewhere.
- No woman has ever accused Mr Assange of rape; rather, “suspicion of rape” was a characterization constructed by the Swedish police (in Sweden, an institution under the Ministry of Justice). The women declared their reason for going to the police was to seek help to compel Mr Assange to undergo a HIV test.
- Simultaneously, the Swedish media – contrary to a principled rule in Sweden – rushed to cable to the world that “The founder of WikiLeaks (with name) Julian Assange” was arrested, charged of rape in Sweden”. This claim was not accurate. Despite it being forbidden in Sweden to publish the name of a person who has not been yet convicted, the Swedish media involved in this transgression was never disciplined.
- Chief-prosecutor Eva Finné immediately dismissed the accusations put forward in the police report after she examined the case.
- The leading woman (of the two scheduled to visit to the police station) was a personal friend of the police officer who performed the interviews and interrogations. This police officer – also a member of the social democratic party the complain belongs to – was in turn a public supporter of the lawyer-politician Claes Borgström, of the law-firm Bodström & Börgström (both at the time members of the same social democratic party).
- The case was reopened at the initiative of the said law-firm Bordström & Börgström, the law-firm that also “defended” the women – as declared by the main partner, Tomas Bodström, at the timer a resident of Virginia, USA.
- The ‘woman accuser’, a former Swedish embassy employee elsewhere, had been expelled from Cuba on charges of activities on behalf of the CIA.
- The same ‘leading woman’ was at the time political secretary of the “Brotherhood” (a small organization within the Swedish Social Democratic Party) where Justice Thomas Bodström was a principal member.
- As Justice Minister, Bodström was a principal actor from the Swedish government in implementing CIA operations in Sweden – done in secret and against Swedish law (e.g. the secret rendition to CIA of refugees in Sweden, where Bodstrom has been indicated as the responsible official from the part of the Swedish government).
- The initiative to open the case was taken by a selected prosecutor, Ms Marianne Ny, at the behest of the same Bodström & Borgström law-firm. Ny, Bodström and Borgström had previously shared governmental committees to study further enhancing of the radical-feminist legislation on sex crimes.
All these irregularities are a backdrop against which the recent UNWGAD ruling on Mr Assange’s arbitrary detention should be considered. Nevertheless, on the strict juridical issue of Mr Assange detention, Swedish Doctors for Human Rights (SWEDHR) had already on April 5, 2015, issued the public appeal, “According to the UN International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, Assange’s detention should be ended”. The statement, originally published in NewsVoice and Research & Reports, argued that:
“Even a high-standard democratic country as Sweden can in the long run risks a disastrous condemnation upon its government, by the international community as a whole, for the management of the case Assange. For instance, the extreme intervals and deferral in the Swedish managing of the case have ostensibly evolved in infringement of Article 9, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by the United Nations (ICCPR).  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.”
We are profoundly satisfied with the ruling of UNWGAD of February 5, 2016, on the true juridical status of the detention of Mr Assange; a verdict that also fully confirms the afore-mentioned SWEDHR’s statement of April 5, 2015.
A series of notable world organizations and personalities have now added their support, strong and sharply, to the UNWGAD ruling on the Assange case. To mention just a few: Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, etc.
Swedish authorities have replied that they won’t recognize the UNWGAD ruling on this flawed case. Nevertheless, in spite the efforts of the Swedish government and media of omitting any reference to Sweden’s human-rights violations that, in fact, the UNWGAD ruling is about, the international community will – rightly – further condemn Sweden as a government with less and less self-dignity, ready to implement the errands of superpower USA in detriment of Sweden’s own sovereignty, international prestige, and national security.
SWEDHR is the only Sweden-based NGO for human rights totally independent and not sponsored by the Swedish government. Previous statements by the organization have been referred by the Swedish Medical Journal (Läkartidningen), Dagens Medicin, France Press, Sputnik International, Wikipedia, and other international media.
See other statements and analyses on the case at SWEDHR’s section People persecuted for exposing war crimes or civil-liberties abuse.