Swedish prosecutors have this week announced that for the time being they will not be issuing a European Investigation Order (EIO) to interview Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks. According to Sweden’s Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Eva-Marie Persson,”…it is currently not on the cards to issue a European investigation order…” For now, they will be analysing evidence before making a decision regarding procedure. So, how is it possible she is now not in a position to interview him – yet two months ago she requested his detention so that she could issue a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) against him and start an extradition process?
If Swedish prosecutors are to follow through with this latest investigation attempt, it will have been the third time that Assange will have been interviewed by Swedish authorities for what is essentially the same inquiry. If Persson is not in a position to proceed with an EIO, how can it have been practical or proportionate for her in May to have pursued his detention for the purpose of extraditing him to Sweden from the UK? According to the 2014 legislation by the European Court of Justice, authorities not in a position to prosecute do not require an EAW, but should carry out investigation through an investigation order. In fact, a Swedish court called the Swedish prosecutor’s request for Assange’s detention disproportionate and refused to grant it on June 3rd, suggesting that at least some judges and authorities are deferring to the European Court regarding EAW issuance and proportionality.
It simply does not make sense that one minute it’s full steam ahead with talk about arrest and extradition and the next, ‘Well, we’ll keep you posted.’ Is this how the Swedish prosecuting authority works? Or is that how it works for Julian Assange? There is only one logical conclusion from the latest development: the Swedish prosecutors were not in a position to prosecute Assange yet attempted to have him extradited anyway. This surely makes a mockery of the attempts by human rights organisations and the European Court to stop the ongoing abuse of the EAW.
How can they claim they needed to start procedures for extradition while at the same time have no immediate intention to interview? Is it not the case that this type of calculated misuse of the EAW back in 2010, followed by an obstructive application of the law is what led to Assange being held in arbitrary detention in the Ecuadorian embassy for seven years? Again, Swedish authorities failed to interview him for years while hanging the threat of extradition over him, a situation which was ruled on by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) as de facto incarceration.
How “not on the cards to issue a European Investigation Order” for an interview compares to the British Courts’ decision to extradite Assange to Sweden for prosecution:
It should be remembered that the British courts ruled on the 2010 EAW against Assange, and agreed to extradite him. One of the deciding factors in their decision was that the Swedish prosecutors issued the EAW in order to prosecute, not just interview him. In 2012 he lost his final appeal after which time fled to the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, fearing he would then be extradited on to the US where he believed he was wanted for his role in exposing US war crimes, a fear now known to be true. Yet, within the last few weeks a Swedish court has ruled that a new EAW against Assange would be disproportionate, while the prosecutor involved is currently unprepared to interview him. Therefore, recent events clearly vindicate Assange’s defence during his previous appeal: they indicate the 2010 EAW against him was for an interview, and not a prosecution, therefore, the British courts were wrong. In effect, the courts legitimised the overt abuse of the EAW. If justice were now to be applied fair and evenly, then Assange would be due compensation and remedy for this injustice, as indicated in the UNWGAD statement.
Flexing Swedish Muscle through Mainstream Media
The very same prosecuting services that invited every Tom, Dick and Harry reporter in mainstream media and put on a full media spectacular to announce the re-opening of the investigation against Assange has announced its latest step in a statement on its website. When the opportunity arises to showcase Sweden’s role in bringing down Assange, bring on the pressers, but when the world discovers an alternative narrative – an incompetent or most likely compromised prosecuting authority, then suddenly a statement appears on their website.
Here was the media extravaganza showing Sweden flexing muscle over Assange:
It should also be noted that the absence of this story in mainstream media is also by design. Reuters and a couple of outlets mentioned the back-tracking, but the silence in British media is once again deafening, particularly when the cracks in their narrative are exposed.
We wait to see the next steps by the Swedish prosecuting authorities, which, according to the website statement, will be August at the earliest.
Whatever they decide to do, the significance that a request for an EIO is not currently “on the cards” should not be lost – because Julian Assange has already lost nine years of his life from this legal hustle.
Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
Nina Cross is an independent writer and researcher, and contributor to 21WIRE. To see more of her work, visit her Nina’s archive.
Featured image is from 21CW
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.