Saturday, March 5, 2011

Assange Lawyers File Appeal

By Jerry Smith Mar 5 2011

Lawyers for Julian Assange have filed an appeal against Judge Howard Riddle's ruling last week that Assange should be extradited to Sweden because he felt Assange could get a fair trial in Sweden and that his extradition to Sweden would not violate his human rights.

Assange has been fighting extradition to Sweden where he has not been charged with anything but is wanted for questioning by the Swedish police about accusations of rape and sexual molestation made against him by Sofia Wilen and Anna Ardin. Assange denies the allegations and says he had consensual sex with the two women.

Assange's lawyers feel he is the victim of a flawed investigation and had argued that Assange will not get a fair trial in Sweden, where rape cases are heard in private. Assange's lawyers had also argued that if extradited to Sweden, Assange may then in turn be extradited to the United States, where he could face torture, confinement at Guantanamo Bay, both, or even the death penalty.

The United States government is looking for ways to to build a case against Assange in the US for publishing the secret military communications relating to the Iraq and Afghan wars, publishing the roughly 250,000 classified diplomatic cables and releasing the Collateral Murder video.

One of the things the US government did was subpoena the information in the Twitter accounts of people associated with WikiLeaks like founder Julian Assange, U.S. soldier Bradley Manning, Icelandic member of parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir, US computer researcher Jacob Appelbaum, and Dutch volunteer for WikiLeaks Rop Gonggrijp.

The US military recently brought 22 new charges against Manning, the soldier accused of leaking the classified documents to WikiLeaks.

Assange's lawyers have also said that because the allegations would not even be considered a crime in Britain and because Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny has a "bias against men" and issued the extradition request for Assange before criminal charges had been filed, the warrant should be invalid.

Assange has offered to be questioned in Britain, but Ny has refused the offer saying he must go to Sweden to be questioned and that DNA samples may need to be taken.

Assange described the court's decision as a "rubber-stamping process" and said:
"There was no consideration during this entire process as to the merit of the allegations made against me, no consideration or examination even of the complaints made in Sweden and, of course, we have always known we would appeal."

Assange's lawyer Mark Stevens speculates that the appeal case will likely to be heard in the next two to three months and if unsuccessful, permission could be granted for a challenge to the country’s top judges in the Supreme Court who can rule on points of law. Stevens said:
“In any ordinary case it would be granted but of course we are dealing with Julian Assange. This case has been thus far fast-tracked in a way which is unusual.”
If Assange's appeal is unsuccessful, he faces being sent to Sweden within 10 days of the rejection.

Assange is still under house arrest at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk,UK.

No comments:

Post a Comment