Claims of Julian Assange

This article was originally on the AmIObjective blog and is reposted here.

I have just listened to an interview with Mr Assange in which he states things which I do not believe are true. Allow me to demonstrate.

It was during an interview with Australia’s ABC News, which you can listen to for yourself.

01:06 – Mr Assange claims that the Swedish government have threatened to detain him without charges while they continue their investigation.  But Mr Assange was present in both UK court hearings that this was discussed at: he faces criminal proceedings (the equivalent of having been charged – see question 3) under the Swedish process.  He is not wanted just for questioning or investigation, and this was made very clear in court.  Indeed, the summary judgement states that this principle was never disputed by either party:

It was common ground that extradition is not permitted for investigation or gathering evidence or questioning to see if the requested person should be prosecuted.

01:47 – Mr Assange claims that the Swedish prosecutor’s refusal to question him in the UK was outside the normal process and that the prosecutor refused “in any manner to explain [that] whatsoever to the British courts”.  In fact, Mr Assange himself probably heard her evidence presented in court (see para 142), and also his own expert witnesses agreed with her after it transpired that – according to the judge – a lawyer acting for Mr Assange attempted to mislead the court.  Sadly, I can no longer find the court transcript, but it made interesting reading as the defence expert witnesses agreed with the prosecution upon learning the true facts.

You can read the summary for the due process being followed here, in paragraph 160.

05:05 – when the interviewer says it may look as if he is avoiding facing the allegations, Mr Assange replies that the Swedish prosecutor is perfectly at liberty to call him by phone to continue the investigation.  However, she cannot do this under Swedish process (see above), so this is not an option for Sweden.

10:45 – Mr Assange gives a long account of why he didn’t seek asylum in the Australian embassy,but it boils down to two points: they refused to allow him to serve any sentence in Australia, and they refused to force the Swedish prosecutor to breach Swedish process by interviewing Mr Assange in the UK.

That second reason has already been addressed several times above (one wonders why Mr Assange repeatedly contradicts what his own expert witnesses agreed with in court).  The first point is more interesting, but quickly explained.  The Australian government policy is easy to find and quite clear about the conditions for transferring a prisoner to Australia.  The second condition is:

They must have already served either four years or a third of their sentence, whichever is greater.

So both of the reasons Mr Assange gives for not seeking asylum with Australia are, in fact, quite correct behaviour on the part of the Australian government.

Whatever can be said of the statements made by Mr Assange, they certainly can’t be said to be accurate.  Moreover, he himself has witnessed (or has easy access to) all the evidence that shows the inaccuracies.

I conclude that the statements of Mr Assange are highly misleading. Is this done because he remains ignorant of his own case, or deliberately? In either case, the question is: why?

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