Why Julian Assange Rightly Fears Swedish Justice
As Reason 24/7 noted last week, Amnesty International (and Julian Assange himself) are a bit nervous about the idea of Assange leaving his asylum in Ecuador's British embassy and facing Swedish justice.
Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian today gives an example of Assange's fears happening to another Internet age accused criminal, Pirate Bay-related copyright-infringement suspect Gottfrid Svartholm, recently nabbed in Cambodia and shipped to Sweden:
One of the prime arguments I have always made about the Assange asylum case is that his particular fear of being extradited to Sweden is grounded in that country's very unusual and quite oppressive pre-trial detention powers: ones that permit the state to act with anextreme degree of secrecy and which can even prohibit the accused from any communication with the outside world…..
Svartholm is now being held under exactly the pretrial conditions that I've long argued (based on condemnations from human rights groups) prevail in Sweden:
"Gottfrid Svartholm will be kept in detention for at least two more weeks on suspicion ofhacking into a Swedish IT company connected to the country's tax authorities. According to Prosecutor Henry Olin the extended detention is needed 'to prevent him from having contact with other people.' The Pirate Bay co-founder is not allowed to have visitors and is even being denied access to newspapers and television. . . .
"Since he hasn't been charged officially in the Logica case the Pirate Bay co-founder could only be detained for a few days.
"But, after a request from Prosecutor Henry Olin this term was extended for another two weeks mid-September, and last Friday the District Court decided that Gottfrid could be detained for another two weeks.
"To prevent Gottfrid from interfering with the investigation the Prosecutor believes it's justified to detain him for more than a month without being charged….
Unlike in the British system, in which all proceedings, including extradition proceedings, relating to Assange would be publicly scrutinized and almost certainly conducted in open court, the unusual secrecy of Sweden's pre-trial judicial process, particularly the ability to hold the accused incommunicado, poses a real danger that whatever happened to Assange could be effectuated without any public notice….