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Is Assange more at risk of deportation in Sweden?
August 17, 2012 12:09 AM   Subscribe

Is Julian Assange at greater risk of being extradited to the US in Sweden than he is in the UK?

Recently, some anti-Assange voices (such as the Australian foreign minister) have been running the argument that he is no more at risk of extradition to the US in Sweden than in the UK. Indeed, they say, his extradition from Sweden would be even more difficult because it would require the consent of the Swedish and UK governments.

On what basis do Assange and his lawyers argue that he is at heightened risk of extradition from Sweden?

Related: if the US is indeed interested in Assange, why have they not tried to extradite him from the UK?
posted by dontjumplarry to Law & Government (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
*Ack, title meant to say "rendition" not "deportation"
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:11 AM on August 17, 2012


On what basis do Assange and his lawyers argue that he is at heightened risk of extradition from Sweden?

justice4assange.com has some answers to this specific question.
posted by ODiV at 12:30 AM on August 17, 2012


There's a pretty epic Assange thread going on on the Blue right now, in which this comment might be useful to you.
posted by mannequito at 1:28 AM on August 17, 2012


he is no more at risk of extradition to the US in Sweden than in the UK.

Following the story in the Swedish newspapers, this would seem to be the fact. There appears to be no difference between the two countries' extradition agreements with the US.

If he is extradited to Sweden, however, Mr. Assange certainly faces a heightened risk for prosecution in Sweden for sexual assault.

The UK is under great pressure from Sweden to extradite the suspect. There was a mocking editortial in the left-leading Dagens Nyheter today which criticises Ecuador "with its culture of harassing journalists" for defending Assange's right of expression as they granted him asylum.

Also that Sweden's criminal justice system is being questioned by a country like Ecuador is not going over very well here. DN quotes Transparency International's independent scale of corruption which places Ecuador 130 of 142 whereas Sweden is the 3rd.

The public mood in Sweden seems to be:

"Men det viktigaste är att rättsprocessen får ha sin gång och att de två kvinnorna får sin sak prövad." - The most important thing is that the legal proceedings be allowed to proceed and the two women (who have charged Mr. Assange) have their claims tested.

Whisking him away to the United States before this process is completed - as Mr. Assange and his lawyers claim - would be politically impossible for the Swedish government.
posted by three blind mice at 2:10 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


It is really pretty easy to extradite someone from the UK to the US, if there is a case to answer (what the US would call "probable cause"). The extradition arrangements between these two countries have been very heavily criticised over the past few years specifically because of the (apparent) ease with which the US can request the UK authorities to surrender someone. The UK agreed to these arrangements because it trusts the US legal system, which (by and large) offers a high degree of protection from inhuman and degrading treatment (excluding the death penalty of course – The UK, like Sweden, will not extradite unless there is a guarantee that the death penalty will not be sought), and because it is in the interests of justice that an accused person (although of course not necessarily in the interests of that person) faces the crimes of which he is accused in fair and open proceedings.

I don’t know about arrangements between Sweden and the US, but I find it deeply unlikely that extradition to the US is easier from Sweden than from the UK. If the US wanted him, wouldn’t they ask the UK authorities for him?

On this basis, it is arguable that Mr Assange is trying to avoid extradition to Sweden simply because he doesn’t want to face trial there for the crimes of which he is accused. It may be that the accusations are baseless, but Sweden has a fair and open court system where they can be tested.
posted by tonylord at 2:32 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Assange gets extradited to Sweden and put on trial, he'll be back in the public eye and it will be easier for the US to extradite him afterwards for all the things they want to charge him with.
posted by SakuraK at 2:54 AM on August 17, 2012


Assuming that there is some conspiracy regarding the charges, perhaps the goal is simply to restrict his movements, at least initially.

With a conviction for a sexual offence he can be deported from the EU back to Oz. Entry to other countries is going to be a lot more difficult with that conviction on his record.

So, our hero might very well find himself on a geographically isolated continent which has a government that is often seen as subservient to Washington.

Or he could take his chances in Ecuador. It's not as if the CIA has any experience of wet ops in that part of the world.
posted by veedubya at 6:37 AM on August 17, 2012


[Please answer with factual info that answers the question. This needs not to become a conversation or debate about the issue or a place to air opinions. ]
posted by taz at 7:12 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Related: if the US is indeed interested in Assange, why have they not tried to extradite him from the UK?

Because the UK doesn't actually have him. The Ecuadorians do. He happens to be located within the borders of the UK, allowing for the verities of embassy law, but he's not in the custody of Her Majesty's Government, nor is it simply a matter of dropping by his pad and arresting him.

I'm sure the feds would ask if he were ever in UK custody, but doing so would be kind of irrelevant at this point.
posted by valkyryn at 11:49 AM on August 17, 2012


Related: if the US is indeed interested in Assange, why have they not tried to extradite him from the UK?

Because the UK doesn't actually have him. The Ecuadorians do. He happens to be located within the borders of the UK, allowing for the verities of embassy law, but he's not in the custody of Her Majesty's Government, nor is it simply a matter of dropping by his pad and arresting him.


Yes but there was a very long period before he escaped to the Ecuadorians where Assange was on UK soil with his movements restricted as he waited for his Swedish extradition hearing - the US could have acted then
posted by Bwithh at 3:14 PM on August 18, 2012


It was asserted at a couple points (eg, eg) in the Giant Ongoing Assange Thread that Sweden's extradition treaty with the US has a "must-extradite except in specific cases" flavor, and this is why Sweden is unable to give Assange an assurance that he won't be extradited, while the UK's treaty allows the UK more discretion to grant a given request or deny it. However, the opposite has also been asserted at a couple points, and my quick reading of linked treaty text hasn't made the truth obvious to me.

OTOH, even if the above is true, then in order to say Assange is more at risk in Sweden you'd have to argue that the UK would be likely to deny the request for extradition, or the US would be less likely to request extradition from the UK than from Sweden, or something like that; this section of the justice4assange FAQ makes that argument, though I'm not sure how convincing it is.
posted by hattifattener at 4:31 PM on August 18, 2012


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