I can't see that it makes sense for those governments to break the law to secure him when it is so easy (so shamefully easy) to extradite to the US within the law. There needs to be actual evidence - not a Congressman's bluster, but actual evidence - of intent to ignore all treaty law (however friendly and useful to the US) for the burden on Assange's supporters to be met. Without that evidence, I think we're entitled to assume that the legal process that has already worked exactly as expected through the first ten phases of this matter will continue to do so.
So if you believe the law will apply, then whether Assange is in Sweden or in the UK, my understanding is that the final arbiter of him going to the US will be the British Home Secretary. I've not come across anyone who yet disputes this. It's from Section 58 of the Extradition Act 2003, and I think it is entirely clear. Whatever happens with the rape allegations, before Assange could be sent to the US, Theresa May would have to agree.
I think she'd agree in a heartbeat. But I don't think that her decision would be remotely affected depending on whether he was in Sweden or the UK. I don't think being in Sweden makes a significant difference to Assange's ability to JR her decision (he has Garzon and Gareth Pierce fighting for him - he could be in Swedish solitary confinement and still have a better ability to fight in the English courts than any other claimant in an immigration JR this century). And I don't see Sweden sending him to the US in breach of the law without giving the Home Secretary her veto (which she wouldn't use). Why damage relations with the UK for no material benefit? Unless we think Theresa May, who is extraditing Richard O'Dwyer, would actually block Assange's extradition only for the Swedish government to send him without UK permission, the question of Swedish refusal to make assurances about US extradition is an entirely moot point. It is up to the British Home Secretary.
Again with safeguards - ECHR-compliant countries will require diplomatic assurances (as usual) that the death penalty will not be used before he's extradited to the US. I'm not aware of that assurance ever having been broken.
If rule of law is followed - and there has been a torture case where it wasn't, but a swallow doesn't make a summer, and I think the evidence falls far short of a credible threat to extraordinarily render Assange - then I don't see how facing allegations in Sweden makes any significant difference to his chances of opposing US extradition. If/When that day comes, I imagine most of the people - myself included - who think he should be sent to Sweden will be happy to oppose the misuse of espionage charges against a journalist. This isn't personal. Even if he is convicted as a rapist, I suspect he will find that an overwhelming majority of people oppose him being extradited to the US on point of principle. He might fear that such a conviction would damage his support - in reality, I think nothing is damaging his case as much as his resolute insistence that these allegations should be set aside because of his larger political fight.
I may have missed something, but in the absence of a compelling reason that makes it *more* likely that he would end up in the US than if he stayed, I think he should face allegations in Sweden as soon as possible. FROM http://www.leninology.com/2012/08/assange-asylum-seeker.html
SEE Also http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/david-allen-green/2012/08/legal-myths-about-assange-extradition
Post a comment in response:
|© 2002-2008. Blurty Journal. All rights reserved.|