Defending Assange, Ecuador’s President Kindles a Controversy over Defining Rape

The decision to help keep Assange out of Sweden shines light on Latin America’s problematic attitude toward rape

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Chris Helgren / Reuters

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to speak from the balcony of Ecuador's embassy in London, where he is taking refuge, on Aug. 19, 2012

This isn’t exactly International Male Sensitivity Week. First we had Missouri Congressman and Dark Ages darling Todd Akin sparking a global firestorm of criticism, and calls from his own Republican Party that he drop his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, by suggesting that “legitimate” female rape victims rarely get pregnant. Akin later apologized and said he meant to say “forcible” rape — but that still betrayed the backwardly narrow definition of rape that Akin and so many other anti–abortion rights conservatives hold.

Now we have Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, who last week granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, reminding us just how at home Akin would likely feel in Latin America, even in countries run by leftists like Correa. Talking to reporters on Wednesday in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Correa noted with a disturbingly matter-of-fact air that the sexual assault two women in Sweden accuse Assange of committing against them in 2010 “would not be considered in any case a felony in Latin America.”

(MORE: Assange’s Special Asylum: Why Ecuador Isn’t Nice to Anyone Else)

You can attribute Akin’s remarks to his fundamentalist Christianity; you can ascribe Correa’s observation to his region’s retro machismo. But both cases point up that around the world we still have too limited an appreciation of what rape is. It was only this year, for example, that the U.S. Department of Justice broadened its definition of rape (unchanged since 1927) to include not just instances of violent violation but also those in which the victim is incapacitated, when “physical resistance is not required on the part of the victim to demonstrate lack of consent.” That bothers many right-wingers because, they fear, it means more women can claim rape when seeking an abortion. But, at least in the case of Assange, a liberal hero for his release of thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic cables, it also irks many who object to the particular rape accusations made against him.

Assange, who has not been formally charged, is holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden — where he fears he may in turn be extradited to the U.S. to face an espionage trial. Both of Assange’s Swedish accusers allege that even though they originally engaged in consensual sex with him, it became nonconsensual rape when he ignored their pleas to stop the intercourse — using his weight to hold them down, according to Swedish investigators — because he refused to wear a condom. In one case, the woman accuses Assange of initiating unprotected sex while she was asleep and unaware.

The WikiLeaks leader has denied the accusations and calls them politically motivated. But if they’re proved to be true, they certainly conform to the idea of rape. And that’s what makes the cavalier attitudes about the definition of “legitimate” sexual violence so troubling, not just among American pro-life lawmakers but, as Correa reminds us, among lawmakers in developing regions like Latin America (like the pro-Correa national assemblyman Rolando Panchana, who recently warned, à la the Akin crowd, that women will abuse the rape exception if Ecuador allows it). Correa, who critics say is shielding Assange as a way of kicking Washington in the shins, should have thought twice before downplaying what Assange is alleged to have done. Rape is a plague in every part of the world, and in Latin America it’s a “serious and pervasive problem,” according to the South Africa–based Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI). In a 2010 SVRI report, as much as 47% of females in some corners of the region say they’ve been sexually assaulted in their lifetime — and they are “most at risk of sexual violence from intimate partners.”

(MORE: The Gunboat Diplomacy Trap: How Ecuador Used Assange to School the Brits)

In other words, in those instances of rape, like date rape, that radical pro-lifers and radical machistas don’t like to characterize as rape. The SVRI, in fact, lists “legitimization of violence against women by intimate partners” as a main cause of Latin America’s high sexual-violence rate – and its low rate of arrests, let along convictions, when rapes are reported. “In most parts of the region,” the SVRI concluded, “government responses to sexual violence have been weak.”

To be fair, Correa did also say in Guayaquil on Wednesday that “it has never been the intention of the Ecuadorean government or Julian Assange not to respond to” the allegations against him. The main reason Assange is balking at extradition to Sweden, Correa insisted, is the fear of being subsequently hauled to the U.S. But that’s highly unlikely since Sweden almost never extradites people to countries where they could face the death penalty, as Assange might in the U.S. As a result, Assange’s critics say he really doesn’t want to go to Sweden to answer the sexual-assault charges — and that Correa just wants to exploit the case to both burnish his anti-yanqui street cred and deflect attention from his crackdown on the media and free speech in Ecuador.

But what Correa may have done in Guayaquil instead is shine a brighter light on Latin America’s questionable approach to rape. If anything, given that Correa made his remark just days after Akin’s gaffe, he at least demonstrated a questionable sense of timing.

MORE: Out of Ecuador: Another U.S. Ambassador Bites the WikiDust

69 comments
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Winston Smith
Winston Smith

Ecuador’s President only pretends to defend free speech while in point of fact his regime has, at the moment,  one of the worst records in all of Latin America: "The Quito government's decision to grant Julian Assange political asylum comes at a time when freedom of expression is under siege in Ecuador...."

http://cpj.org/blog/2012/08/as...

This is worth a read as well: " The bizarre, unhealthy, blinding media contempt for Julian Assange" "http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm...

morningdove
morningdove

There are thousands of rapes every day around the world. Why so much interest in this one. To use a crime against woman is a crime in itself. It is obvious that the powers that be are after Assange for Wikileaks - not rape. This is as low as you can go - hiding behind crimes against woman for a hidden agenda. Sad.

marathag
marathag

 It seems if you're a good Leftist, Rape gets overlooked, like Roman Polanski.

morningdove
morningdove

You misunderstood my point. The global oppressors are using rape to get at Assange who revealed how corrupt they are. This is as low as you can go - using a crime against humanity to stop people who speak out. This proves how corrupt the global oppressors are - hiding behind the crime of rape to cover up their own crime and corruption.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

 Well then by your argument all rapes should be decriminalized. Thankfully, many governments have taken a stand to make all rapes crimes.

It was that dismissive nature of rape that was the first thing noticed.

morningdove
morningdove

You misunderstood what I am saying. The authorities are using rape as a way to get at Assange for his whistle blowing. This is disgraceful using a very serious crime against humanity - men get raped as well -  to get someone for revealing government and military corruption. Do you understand what I am saying? They really want Assange for whistle blowing and they are trumping up rape charges. When you look at the facts it was not rape - rape is being used to hide the real agenda. This is as low as you can go using rape to conceal your own crimes against humanity. The government is beyond corrupt.

morningdove
morningdove

"Apparently having consensual sex in Sweden without a condom is punishable by a term of imprisonment of a minimum of two years for rape. That is the basis for a reinstitution of rape charges against WikiLeaks figurehead Julian Assange that is destined to make Sweden and its justice system the laughing stock of the world and dramatically damage its reputation as a model of modernity…."It had everything to do with not wearing condoms. As for sleeping - would you sleep beside someone you did not trust. Usually a woman sleeps with a man she is sleeping with aka having sex with. This rape charge stinks to high heavens and is why they want Assange in Sweden because he can be charged with rape there.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

@morningdove:disqus Both points brings out a big smile.

The first thing that came to mind was date rape drugs.

The accusations have nothing to do with "not wearing a condom" or any variation on that idea.

Finally, Assange started while the person was asleep, and then she woke up. You can't ask for consent after the fact.

morningdove
morningdove

HAve you ever had sex while asleep? Also part of it was that he did not wear a condom. How many men could be accused of rape for not wearing a condom? It is clear that this is about Assange revealing secrets not about rape.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

You are trivializing rape no matter how you want to ague otherwise. Absolutely nothing has been produced to suggest that this issue is nothing but a dispute between Assange and the his two accusers.

Not rape? "No consent is rape" no matter how some would want to deny it.

One woman is accusing Assange for "deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her" while she was asleep. Consent can not be obtained by a sleeping or half-asleep individual. That one act on its own constitutes rape.

It is Assange that is the corrupting factor here. However, that can be resolved by him going to Sweden to face his accusers.

cwgmpls
cwgmpls

If everyone is so concerned about investigating an alleged rape in Sweden, they why doesn't anyone take up Ecuador's offer to welcome any police agency into the Ecuadorian embassy in London to question Assange on these rape charges?  Why does  Assange have to be sent to Sweden for questioning?    It seems obvious this is much more about forcing Assange to travel to Sweden than it is about investigating an alleged rape.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

Question "Are you Julian Assange." Answer "Yes, I am."

Statement "We have finished our question. Julian Assange we are placing under arrest."

Is that the scenario envisioned. Assange deserves no special treat that would not be offered to anyone else. Sweden is the authority and they decide how the investigate is to be conducted, not the suspect.

bbieker
bbieker

First I want to make it clear.   This is NOT the original prosecutor.  This is Prosecutor #3.   Prosecutor #2 has ALREADY questioned Assange AND SHE  dropped the charge.   Prosecutor #3 has NEVER conducted an interview

Assange IS willing to answer questions.  Apparently Prosecutor #3 doesn't give a damn what the answers are, because she doesn't care.  

And of course it makes PERFECT sense that they would let a "Rapist" escape rather than conduct an interview at a neutral location.   I'm sure the prosecution  "never ever in a million years conduct interviews at homes, or business or hospitals"  We all know how the police don't like to ask questions.....right?

(edit)

AND..ironically 3 of her interviews of misc Swedish witnesses WERE done by phone even though they were just across town , so it's really hard to imagine why she is having such a tough time wanting to pick up the phone and talk to Julian. Is it that she doesn't know the number? Not exactly a great detective I suppose....Maybe she should try google?

You might also consider that Julian doesn't speak Swedish. So last time he had to have a translator anyway, which makes the whole excuse even a little more bizarre.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

If Assange is so willing to answer questions then he should just hop on a plane and go to Sweden instead of hiding in an embassy like a coward.

WV1234
WV1234

The scenerio continues after two months.

"We are sorry we need to send you to USA, Virginia to answer a couple of questions"

akpat
akpat

I think most men would wonder just what was hitting them if the had consensual sex with a woman in the evening, slept with them overnight, had sex in the morning , had at least one of the women continue the relationship for several days and then be accused of rfape.

I think most men would also think that after being subjected to interogation by the relevant authorities at the time, given back their passport and released that it was all over and done.

So why this , and why the need for extradition with no charges being made against him, unless of course big brother is behind it all..

j_600
j_600

Good points akpat.

The use of the term "rape" in the context of what actually occurred in Sweden is a misrepresentation. Rape is a serious crime, devastating for the victims be they male or female. Describing what occured in the Assange case as rape is an insult to rape victims everywhere. The truth is neither of the women involved filed any type of complaint accusing Julian Assange of rape.

The attacks on the person of Assange by the media is frankly despicable. At a time when western governments are becoming increasingly authoritarian and when whistleblowers are increasingly under threat, Wikileaks has been doing courageous and much needed work. Glenn Greenwald has a Guardian article - "The bizarre, unhealthy, blinding media contempt for Julian Assange" - that speaks to the truth of what lies behind the attacks on Assange. Check it out.

There is a relentless and ongoing political attack being directed at Assange and Wikileaks. This is an attack on free speech and should be a central concern.

iliosellas
iliosellas

 Please help promote this link wherever you can; if you believe in freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Julian

Assange for the Nobel prize for freedom of the press:

www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Juli...

Lets see how "Noble" the Norwegians and their righteous Swede neighbors are or claim to be, since they offered Obama the Nobel peace prize!

marathag
marathag

 and claiming 'Freedom of the Press' from somebody like Correa, who has a less than ideal acquaintance with Freedom of the Press himself.

Check out the laws he wanted on Press restriction, among other things.

DM101010
DM101010

You know Latin America definitely has it right... The "rape" allegations in Sweden were all trumped up to begin with just to get Assange extradited for his Wikileaks activities.  The one woman even admitted that she had consensual sex with him, only that she regretted her decision not to wear a condom.  That is not rape!  

Audrey Hulm
Audrey Hulm

No Tim, it certainly isn't 'male sensitivity week (thanks for so glibly with tongue-in cheek pointing that out).  And you've just joined the ranks with your inflammatory and ill-researched article. Congratulations. 

urgelt
urgelt

Might want to dig deeper before nailing Assange to the wall.  You left out a few things that are in the public domain, and mischaracterized others - echoing the echo chamber rather than primary sources.

The two women went to the police in Sweden, not to accuse Assange of rape, but to complain that he had refused to be tested for STDs.  This was after the two women realized that he had had sex with both of them, which seriously (and justifiably) ticked them off.  There's no question Assange is an insensitive jerk - he brushed them off and left the country, rather than seeing a doctor for the test.

Assange's bedroom manners are dubious at best.  But the public record doesn't show an open and shut case of rape.  Far from it.

Some tentative charges were drawn up and floated up the prosecutorial hierarchy in Sweden and tossed out by a senior prosecutor.  It isn't clear from the public record if the women accused Assange of "holding them down and rufusing to stop," or if a negotiation took place resulting in consent, but there had to be a reason the charges were dropped.

The case was reinstated - but charges were not filed - by the top feminist in the country's national prosecutor's office.  Assange's alleged conduct enraged her.  (They'd probably have enraged me, too, if I were one of the women involved.)  But we don't have a clear public record to explain why the charges were dropped, then a 'case' without charges was reinstated.  Sweden's prosecutorial office has leaked, but not efficiently so.  There isn't enough information in the public domain to draw  a conclusion, but this *might* be a case of retroactive withdrawal of consent.

There are, in fact, some people who think that a woman *should* be able to withdraw consent after the fact, weeks later.  But no nation has laws that would permit prosecution of a 'crime' involving retroactive withdrawal of consent.  Sweden certainly does not.

Now certain parties are trying to use the Assange 'rape' case - for which no charges have been filed - as a litmus test for pro-feminism.  If you're dubious, based on the public record, as I am, then you're 'anti-feminist' and a 'rape apologist.'

This has to stop.  None of us were in the bedrooms when these sexual activities took place, and the public record doesn't contain enough information in it to reach a firm conclusion.  We have no business judging Assange or the women involved.

I say, if Swedish prosecutors think they have a rape case, let them file and publish the charges.  Otherwise I'm very inclined to see this entire matter  as persecution of Assange for embarrasing Western nations through Wikileaks' disclosures.

spongeblog
spongeblog

Assange wants to put the world's dirty laundry online and cause a third world war. But try asking him about the rape case and he shuts up. Liberal media outlets built up Assange even though he compromises governments (or because of it),0; however he also delegitimizes big media. Now the world sees that he's just a fat 30-year old white haired rapist

Tohmsa Hatrman
Tohmsa Hatrman

Cooped up in the Ecuadorean embassy he will have  only his hand to rape. It is too bad that he did not learn self-gratification earlier. Wait. Wikileaks IS self-gratification. Never mind.

drorbenami
drorbenami

not necessary so....why can't he have sex with the embassy staff???

ANTSIL
ANTSIL

So, let me see if i get this straight, after he stick it inside (with no condom already I presume), the lady starts to say "no, no, stop it" like in "no, no, stop it, no, yeah, oh my god, no, yes yes, no, no, no no, yeah, take it off, no, no, yes, stronger, oh my god, OMFG!", and the guy should responde 2 this?? yeah, we would never get laid... women... u have to lead, they want that, even if they say they don't, that's why they always go 4 the alpha-males, it's genetic

Kim Hyttel
Kim Hyttel

The first victim in a war is the truth. (Clausewitz) Pleas don't mix Akin and your tainted views on South America with the socalled rape case against Assange. You write: "The WikiLeaks leader has denied the accusations. But if they’re proven to be true, they certainly conform to the idea of rape." And how would that happen?  I am not sure that Assange has behaved like a gentleman, but the two womens behavior in the days after their sexual encounter with him is very strange. They would not get a case against him in Denmark based on the facts and their accounts. This is not the same as everything has been OK!  

Michael Evans
Michael Evans

The kind of "strange behavior" that happens all the time in high schools and college campuses among young women too star-struck or too afraid or too embarrassed to report date rapes. As if it's just that easy for the person who arranged Assange's entire visit to Sweden to just cancel what was probably a long-arranged event in his honor. Context is everything. 

Close Eye
Close Eye

It never says HUGE but it’s a real way to earn DECENT

amount of MONEY from online DAILY. Have a look @ www.morepay8.com for detail.

drorbenami
drorbenami

if i understand this correctly, there are 2 issues: 1) both girls are saying that if he had worn a condom they would have had sex with no problem. 2) one girl is saying that she would have had sex if she had been fully awake, but she is angry because he started to have sex with her while she was still sleeping, which she felt was wrong.

 

what is not clear is: were all three of them in bed at the same time? or are these two seperate incidents?

 

julian assange, i guess, is saying neither girl mentioned anything about a condom and the girl was not sleeping when he started to have sex with her.

 

Since neither girl got pregnant or infected by disease, at least we can eliminate medical costs and abortion/child care expenses.

 

so, then the girls are saying, okay in the end there were no long lasting repercutions, nevertheless, he forced us to take a risk we didn't want to take and should be punished.

 

the issue of the sleeping girl is rape, but, if all three were together, then i am not clear on how he could hold both girls down with his body.

 

regardless, the girls want justice. okay, why not agree to binding arbitration in Brazil ?

 

true, julian will not go to jail, but if the abitrator or abitrators find julian guilty, at least the girls will get some sort of financial compensation as in the o.j. simpson case and their claims will be vindicated.

 

julian will be safe, the girls will have their day in court, and england, sweden ecuador and the usa can move on to more important things.... 

 

 

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

There are complaints from two women against Assange. Each complaints centres on Assange taking advantage of one woman at a time, while Assange and that woman were alone.

Crimes generally need to be adjudicated in the jurisdiction who has authority of the crime committed. In this instance it is Sweden. There are other issues about conducting an investigation which also be conducted in Sweden.

There is no reason for the prosecutor, judges, lawyers, witnesses, and alleged victims to up root their lives just to accommodate Assange.

Assange does not want to go to Sweden under any circumstance.

bbieker
bbieker

Earth to Omniogignes. 

 Assange WAS in Sweden.   DID conduct interview.  Charges WERE dropped.  He waited there 5 WEEKS!  He DID cooperate. 

AND he is STILL willing to cooperate.  What he is NOT willing to do is be  extradited to the US.   

I know it hurts your smear campaign to tell the truth, which is why thousands of us will never stop.

(edit..answer to below)

I don't even think that's right. I guess the claim is she sent a SMS message to Assanges's lawyer, who I guess might have ignored it. Not a very serious (or professional) attempt to interview someone they want to accuse of "rape"

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

The prosecutors tried to arrange an interview with Assange around September 15th. Assange left Sweden on September 27th. That is call non-cooperation.

Domara Ben Ami
Domara Ben Ami

actually, what I read was that neither woman complained he took advantage of them originally. their complaint was , after they realized he hadn't used a condom, they wanted him to take a test to demonstrate he was disease free and he refused...

regardless....becaue assange doesn't want to go to sweden due to  of extradiction, i thought , maybe if the girls dropped the criminal charges, in return for a binding financial settlement based on arbitration, maybe they could get something....since way it'snow, they will get nothing...

bbieker
bbieker

I think that's somewhat correct, but not entirely.  Again, when you are dealing with real human beings things are more subtle.

(unlike Omniogignes (below), who wants you to think Assange is some sort of serial-killer/rapist) and is distorting the truth to fit his own particular agenda

Police reports here

http://rixstep.com/1/20110204,... 

Timeline here

http://www.nnn.se/nordic/assan... 

This is my opinion:

Woman #1  grew to dislike Assange rather intently even as he stayed in her flat. She eventually kicked him out after 1 week. Woman #2 was honestly worried about STD and went to Woman #1 to try and find Assange.

Woman #1 to Woman #2 to a policewoman friend to arrange Assange to be arrested for Rape. Woman #2 grew distraught after learning of rape charge and left.

Within 24 hours Rape charges revoked by Woman prosecutor and Assange brought in for questioning for lesser charge of molestation.

Assange eventually took HIV tests and all came back negative.

Woman #1 not happy about this and arranges another prosecutor to start new charges of rape.

Woman #1 has also been accused of deleting facebook/twitter posts and an old page about 7 steps for revenge.

So it's not exactly simple...but unfortunately the media only wants to tell the simple story, not the true one.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

The initial case was "The judicial authority in Sweden-v-Julian Paul Assange." In the ruling of that case "Findings of facts and reasons" the women's accusations against Julian Assange is outlined.

The include a woman waking to find that Assange had already "consummated sexual intercourse."

Assange is being accused of a crime and was given a change to challenge the extradition in court 3 times. He lost all three times. It is immaterial what Assange "wants to" or "doesn't want to," he has been order to go to Sweden.

If I were the women I would rather see Assange in jail. If I were the women in American, I would also take him to civil court.

Assange needs to go to Sweden and defend himself.

Justin George
Justin George

Okay, I'll bite and join the conversation. I think the title is misleading. There wasn't really a controversy sparked by their president and he didn't actually define rape.  He merely said that it was not considered a serious crime in their part of the world, which I agree is very wrong. But minute stretches like that combined with wording intended to lead your assumptions in a certain direction like, ''

Correa noted with a disturbingly matter-of-fact air...'', make me feel like the writer was trying to force the two stories together because they shared a single overlapping word, instead of because the stories themselves were better told by being together.  For example, the story of Correa 

granting political asylum to Assang is not most interesting because rape is not viewed as a serious crime in Ecuador, but because Correa's actions appear to contradict themselves. He closes 14 news outlets in Ecuador just this year, then opens his arms to what many consider a patriot of free speech. He likes supporting free speech when it is used to ''keep the US honest'' and views it as David vs Goliath, but when the tables are turned and he is the giant he tries to smother it.

Wanting to write and bring attention to the seriousness of rape is an admirable thing. Do it for the right reasons; to highlight real need and discussion and not merely because two dots can be forced together for the hot topic of the week.

PG
PG

Assange has the right of silence, which is an internationally recognized right in the EU and US. Why extradite someone for questioning when they clearly are going to exercise that right? Why doesn't Sweden simply charge Assange with rape when he's not going to testify against himself anyway? It seems odd that an EU country with an extradition treaty with the US would pursue him. It's really convenient for most of the EU not to allow people to be extradited to a death penalty country, yet, he's going to be extradited to a country that does. Am I really to believe that it's just bad luck that he forcibly raped women a country with an extradition treaty to the U.S. and no other country has accusations of rape against him?

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

 The reason that they will not formally charge Assange is that it will give him another reason to whine. The truth is that it is at the later stages that the charges are laid, which is suppose to be shortly before the trail.

As far as can be told is that he is merely accused, even during the trail he is only accused. Only, when a verdict that he did commit a crime of rape is Assange guilty of rape.

PG
PG

 I'm having trouble figuring out why he's simply not charged. Him whining about his innocence provides more evidence to the prosecution. "Anything you say can and will be used against you." Sound familiar?

There is a difference from being merely accused to being formally charged. There is no trial until you're formally charged and at least you know what you're accused and can answer for it. To be formally charged and being able to face your accuser is also an internationally recognized right.

Given the evidence presented so far, it sounds like the case against him is pretty weak. It's also strange that the charges against him were already dismissed. I'm guessing from how shaky the case would be against Assange and his reaction towards extradition, I think he genuinely fears being extradited to the U.S. and doesn't fear the Swedish court system. Weigh it out, being constrained to the Embassy for life vs. Swedish prison for awhile. He had better odds with the Swedes if he didn't fear extradition to an offshore American torture chamber.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

Everyone has a right to "due process." However, the thing that keeps being forgotten is he left the country while an investigation was being done.  Anyone else would be "dragged back kicking and screaming." That is extradited in legal terms.

Those accused of committing murder, child abduction, theft, drug trafficking, domestic terrorism, or any other crime the suspect is apprehended before any formal charges are made.

As stated before there are exceptions, and the most common exceptions were outlined. Never of those fit the situation that Assange finds himself.

Some jurisdictions don't have a Statute of Limitations on rape or sexual assault for various reason. Also, some jurisdictions the statute of limitation stops when a person has been formally charged.

Additionally, Assange has legal problems in the UK. He did commit a crime by violating his bail conditions.

Assange is in a legal quandary that was set in motion when he left Sweden and returning is the only solution.

PG
PG

Do you agree with this scenario: Say Assange is extradited and authorities try to question him. Assange tells them he's not answering questions and the Swedish authorities let him go.

Is that even a remote possibility? Nope. If the Swedish prosecutors have enough evidence to indict shouldn't they just go ahead and do it? If Assange had, at least, an indictment, then he couldn't argue that the statute of limitations ran out when he's eventually hauled off to Sweden. As it stands, if Assange stays out of Sweden for five more years, then he won't have to stand trial anyways.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

@PaulGrimes:disqus In all those words was "One reason is that they are not accessible or their where about is unknown." That is the Swedish government know where he is. They are many other reason, such as so that his rights are respected. The Swedes also want to give him due process.

You got to love those baseless assertions about this being a ploy to send Assange to the US.  They "are simply nonsensical," for more reason that why Sweden will not Assange charge in abstenia.

Not to worry. Ecuador will have to turn Assange over to the UK authorities. The UK has a legal obligations to send Assange to Sweden, and none for Assange being granted asylum by Ecuador.

PG
PG

 Osama was tried in absentia before 9/11 in Feb. 2001. Some actually credit this trial for the creation of Al Qaeda and for giving Osama some credibility among extremists. I think a trial in absentia for Assange is ridiculous as well.

I'm merely asking why he isn't "charged". The authorities don't need Assange's cooperation or presence to charge him for a crime. Swedish officials want Assange in Sweden for "questioning". Assange isn't required to answer questions. I do agree that the UK is legally obligated to hand over Assange.

Sweden does have an incentive to charge Assange. Please note, I'm saying "charge" not "try" or "try in absentia". If Assange isn't charged, then the statute of limitations kicks in. If someone is formally charged with a crime, then the clock stops and they could be tried 50 years later or whenever they're caught.

One good reason to not charge someone is that they won't have to set foot in a Swedish court and could be extradited to somewhere else.. say the U.S. What exactly is Julian Assange going to tell Swedish investigators to make them change their minds and not charge him? There's nothing that Assange can say to make the Swedes to change their minds about formally charging him with rape; so why not charge him when there is an incentive to do so?

It just seems a bit odd to have someone extradited for questioning when they have no legal obligation to answer your questions. Any defense lawyer will tell you that it's  just a bad idea to talk to anyone, especially police, if you're accused of a crime. Assange wasn't going to submit himself to questioning, even if he was extradited to Sweden. He'd sit in jail cell with his mouth shut.

Of course, what's going to happen after he sits in a jail cell? The Swedes are going to say, "well, we didn't have enough evidence to formally charge you. Now the Americans want to question you, so we'll ship you off there because we have an extradition treaty with them." If Assange ever gets sent off to Sweden, I highly doubt he'll ever set foot in a Swedish court.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

@PaulGrimes:disqus

So now some want to compare the crimes of person who gloated about the deaths of people and threatened to commit more attacks.

Maybe, some might consider the reason only a miniscule percentage of people are charged in absentia before the expand their hyperbole. One reason is that they are not accessible or their where about is unknown.

It will be a hard decision for the prosecutors to mover forward without Assange's cooperation, but with Assange in Swedish possession they would.

Read the EAW. Britain has an obligation to hand Assange over to Sweden, and Sweden is legally bond to return Assange to the UK after all his legal are obligations fulfilled. That is no sojourn to a third country, not even a temporary one, without London's explicit permission.

PG
PG

In absentia is a TRIAL where the defendant isn't present. Sort of like how the Americans tried Osama Bin Laden in absentia and then killed him.

Sweden has full rights to formally charge Assange and they haven't done so. I think that speaks volumes; if Assange isn't formally charged, then he could be shipped off to America.

If Assange was captured and sent to Sweden, then he probably wouldn't answer any questions. How is Assange's presence in Sweden crucial to an investigation when he's going to lawyer up and not talk? If some authority in Sweden actually charged with Assange with a formal crime, then I'd be very inclined to support Assange's extradition. The fact remains that he hasn't been charged and won't have to answer for any crime in Sweden and that frees up an extradition to America.

Omniogignes
Omniogignes

@PaulGrimes:disqus They should have had Assange charged in abstenia, then Ecuador would have been barred from granting him asylum.

Asylum may not be granted "in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes." This fact alone puts Ecuador in a tight spot.

To have Assange charged in abstenia can be consider to be a violation of his rights. The accusations are in Sweden and Swedish authorities have jurisdiction over such accusations. For this Assange need to be in a Swedish court to be formally charged.

Assange knows exactly what the accusations against him are. The warrant was sent to his lawyer outlining all the accusations against him.

The investigation needs to continue is the main reason that Assange needs to be in Sweden.

Assange's supposed fears have nothing to do with the authenticity of the accusations. He has admitted to known both alleged victims, and also has admitted the sexual encounters occurred.

The crux is that Assange's concerns are mere speculation. To bad Ecuador based their decision based on that.

bbieker
bbieker

So why did Prosecutor #2 Interview Assange?     Oh..well she must have been one of those old-timey prosecutors who actually watnted to find out if the person might have actually commited a crime before charging them.

No.  People like you represent the future in law enforcement.   Make up crimes and put people in jail...and for god's sake, don't let them..how do you say it..

Oh yeah.  Whine about being innocent.   Nah..we can't have that can we.