Sweden Reopens Assange Rape Case

There was a bit of drama and excitement that went down in the middle of the night. The Swedish Prosecution Authority has officially reopened the case against Assange on the remaining rape allegation. Here is the official statement:

Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson has today decided to reopen the Assange case that was previously discontinued.

The prosecutor will shortly request that Julian Assange be detained in his absence suspected on probable cause for an allegation of rape from August 2010. To be able to execute a detention order, the prosecutor will issue a European Arrest Warrant. An application for a detention order will be submitted to Uppsala District Court, as the suspected crime took place in Enköping municipality.

– On account of Julian Assange leaving the Ecuadorian embassy, the circumstances in this case have changed. I take the view that there exists the possibility to take the case forward. Julian Assange has been convicted of a crime in the UK and will serve 25 weeks of his sentence before he can be released, according to information from UK authorities. I am well aware of the fact that an extradition process is ongoing in the UK and that he could be extradited to the US. In the event of a conflict between a European Arrest Warrant and a request for extradition from the US, UK authorities will decide on the order of priority. The outcome of this process is impossible to predict. However, in my view the Swedish case can proceed concurrently with the proceedings in the UK, says Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson.

Reopening the investigation means that a number of investigative measures will take place.

– In my opinion a new interview with the suspect is required. It may be necessary, with the support of a European Investigation Order, to request an interview with JA be held in the UK. Such an interview, however, requires JA’s consent, says Eva-Marie Persson.

Case number in Stockholm District Court: B 12885-10.

Here is a pdf of the full opinion and decision.

Few thoughts. It appears clear that Sweden will be filing a new European Arrest Warrant EAW), and I would expect they lodge that forthwith. Which will result in competing extradition requests from the United States and Sweden. There are many factors that will play into the decision by the UK of where to ship Assange when his sentence on the bail jumping offense is done. The final decision is in the hands of the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Several factors, but most critically the pending expiration of the Swedish statute of limitations in August 2020 militate in favor of giving the nod to Sweden over the US. Here is the excellent David Allen Green on that. Also, there is no question of “political prosecution” with the Swedish charge, where in many regards there are such concerns with the current, and potentially future, US charges.

If Assange was smart (no given), he might consider fighting extradition to the US and waiving it as to Sweden. I have always maintained that if Assange wants to fight US extradition, he is much better situated to do so from Sweden than he is from the UK. Several international law experts agree, for instance Mark Klamberg, as cited by Kevin Jon Heller in Opinio Juris gives some great background on that issue, even though Mr. Klamberg’s original post was written back in 2012.

Another interesting thing is the SwedishProsecution Authority has indicated they will request a formal interview with Assange via video link while he is in UK prison custody. That would appear to require consent by Assange, and it is far from certain he would give that.

Also, there is still the matter of what charges will be the final ones submitted by the US to the UK. The US has until June 12 to submit its final charges to the UK per a court order. As you may recall, the Rule of Specialty makes this a critical factor, as I detailed in this post a month ago. Adding to this issue is the US looks to get a long reprieve on that if Assange is sent by the Brits to Sweden first. At that point, the US would have to file a new extradition request with the Swedes, so, obviously, they would look to have a lot more time in that circumstance.

On another front, Ecuador will give Julian Assange’s embassy computers and files to the US. Not shocking, but it is news.

Lastly, the other factor is that Assange litigated extradition to Sweden previously, and lost in every court of jurisdiction. He could fight extradition to the US for a very long time, but looks dead in the water already as to Swedish extradition.

So, in closing, there was a lot of excitement early this morning, and there will surely be more to come regarding Assange

57 replies
  1. Jeff Stewart says:

    Sentence could use a quick edit to:

    “If Assange WERE smart (no given), HE MIGHT consider fighting extradition to the US and waiving it as TO Sweden.”

    Feel free to delete this comment.

    • bmaz says:

      Meh, I understand the point, but really do not care about that phrasing. There is only one Assange, not plural Assange’s. Either phrasing seems fine for a blog post, so I shall leave it as it is.

      Would appreciate substantive input on the issues presented in the post though!

      • P J Evans says:

        Not plural Assanges, but subjunctive (possibly contrary to fact) smartness. (I got run through this grammar point in two languages.)

        • bmaz says:

          The thing is, I don’t really care. That is how I wrote it, it reads fine, and that is the way it will stay. This is not a grammar blog.

        • Desider says:

          In English, use of the subjunctive here is for lofty speech, say receiving an award from the Queen, not for using by the grill on 4th of July.
          In general American English goes for the more populist, less elite version of expressions over time. *Both* are correct as per common usage, so it’s up to the speaker to decide which he/she wants to use. *Most important*, if you’ve been around here for any time, the proprietors, especially BMaz, do not care about any grammatical or technical matters, only the legal/political substance of which they write.

  2. Bri2k says:

    He’d better develop a taste for jail food. He’s gonna be eating a lot of it.

    I’d pick Sweden too. They might feed you some of those famous meatballs every blue moon.

    • harpie says:

      Thank you!
      El Pais calls JA a “cyber activist”, and his lawyer, Baltasar Garzón, a “former crusading judge”. Also:

      […] and Assange’s lawyers are not ruling out the possibility that recordings, audio files and documents taken from the activist and one of his lawyers during an alleged spy operation may have ended up in the hands of the United States government. […]

      …should be interesting, but probably quite a long process.

      • bmaz says:

        Hilariously, think both of those characterizations are accurate. Assange is almost the epitome, at least early on, of a cyber activist. And Garzon was pretty notable for his attempts to address terrorism. But he was so far out there that he not only got kicked out of his judicial role in Spain, but disbarred.

        • harpie says:

          Do you think US authorities will be hoping for him to go to Sweden first, so that they have more time to comb through this cache of new info? It seems it wouldn’t really matter to them where he’s in custody, just as long as he IS in custody.

          • bmaz says:

            Good question. My guess is the US would rather get their mitts on him sooner rather than later.

              • bmaz says:

                Theoretically, no, not at all. She is done with grand jury contempt detention the second she complies with crystal clear law and testifies, irrespective of Assange being extradited here. This is entirely up to her, and not dependent on anything else.

                • Amers says:

                  The short clip I have watched of Manning documenting her moment before entering the court building shows me her steadfast decision to disagree with the grand jurys existence. I wonder if that steadfastness leans heavily on “idolizing”Assange.

                  • bmaz says:

                    She does not even have proof of what she would be examined on in a GJ. Sure, the supposition is it is Assange, and apparently her attorneys have generally confirmed that through discussions with the pertinent AUSA’s.

                    But she has been granted immunity across the board, both in civilian and military courts. She is legally obligated to testify. If Chelsea Manning can blithely say “Golly grand juries are bad, and I object”, and blissfully get away with that, compulsory process as a fundamental block in criminal justice is done. Her, and her lawyers’ argument is in such bad faith that the lawyers ought also be sanctioned for pushing them.

                    If Manning can blithely get away with this, it not only damages the fundamental process for government probable cause determination, but also puts at severe risk the very Sixth Amendment Compulsory Process Clause that protects all criminal defendants. That is unacceptable and asinine. If Manning can blow this off, without penalty from the court, why couldn’t any witness in any criminal case?

                    The Assange cult thinks this is great. As somebody who has practiced for many decades in this system, it is not great in the least, it is incredibly dangerous.

                • Desider says:

                  I believe she is already out based on something I read the last 2 days (Grand Jury finished), though would have to Google to confirm.

                  • bmaz says:

                    Yes, the first grand jury term expired, which led to her release. But she is already served with a subpoena for a new grand jury (with a return date later this week I think). So her release looks to be pretty temporary.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        “Hilariously,” Garzon’s license was, in effect, suspended for eleven years from 2012, conveniently long enough to put him into retirement age (68). The establishment was not in favor of his zeal or his willingness to upset the elite’s apple carts. He was “so far out there,” that he thought prosecuting Pinochet and Francoists was a good thing.

        More generally, one would not be forgiven for conflating a lawyer or adviser – Garzon – with his client – Assange. But I suppose neither of us is likely to be employed as a house dean by Harvard College.

        You note that the accusations against Assange are just that – uncharged accusations – a nuance lost in much of the MSM and by the UK gubmint.

        The evidence will need a bit of work. One of the two women making accusations originally did not sign her police report. The “torn condom” that was once a key part of the evidence against Assange, was tested and no DNA was found, a physical impossibility if used, which generates something of a pristine magic bullet problem.

        The UK, far from being a disinterested executor of a EAW, actively intervened in 2013 to persuade Sweden not to drop its extradition request. For the UK, at least, cost was no object. A number of files, including e-mail records between Sweden and the UK, have gone missing or been scrubbed, allegedly because the case was not listed as active rather than because they reveal embarrassing information.

        But I agree, the UK should give precedence to the Swedish revival of its extradition request: it comes earlier in time; pertains, so far, to more serious allegations, and the statute of limitations on them runs in 2020. The US, in any case, seems reluctant to finalize its charges and might welcome the delay. What it is doing behind the scenes in the UK and Sweden is anybody’s guess.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, the “he is not even charged yet” is a load of BS by the Assange cult. Swedish criminal procedure contemplates formal charging only when the defendant is within the jurisdiction of the court. It is not like US or other criminal procedure in this regard. Every court that has touched the issue has said this line by Assange is bunk and the allegation (formerly multiple allegations) as pled in the EAW are more than sufficient. So, there “no charges yet” argument the Assange people keep making is fairly specious.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Don’t sugarcoat it, man, say what you really think. ;-)

            I believe the difference between allegation and charge is not relevant for purposes of enforcement of a EAW. And, yes, I understand the statute of limitation on the less serious charges of the original four has run, but the one for the rape charges extends until next year. Presumably, that, too, would run if the UK gives precedence to the American extradition request, another reason the Brits should give precedence to the Swedish request.

            • bmaz says:

              Yes indeed, the remaining SOL in Sweden runs in August 2020. Sorry about that, it wasn’t you, I have just been inundated for years by people on Twitter telling me that Assange has never been “charged”, so the whole Swedish case is bogus. And I get touchy on that!

              • Desider says:

                I’m kinda assuming a 5-year-old (or however many) rape trial won’t take that long, and not sure whether *charging* before statute of limitations runs out is sufficient, or if has to go to trial before then – I’d obviously think the former – but then if that’s done, can the actual trial (or the imprisonment if convicted) be delayed while Assange extradited to US for more urgent charges (ones that affect other cases) to be faced?

                • bmaz says:

                  Sweden has different criminal procedure than we have, and many other EU countries have. If it were similar to our system they could have charged on both cases before the statute ran out on the other one. So, nope, they need to get at him first.

        • Frank Probst says:

          “The “torn condom” that was once a key part of the evidence against Assange, was tested and no DNA was found, a physical impossibility if used, which generates something of a pristine magic bullet problem.”

          Geneticist here. I’d say this statement is correct if only if a good amount of semen was recovered from the condom. (Semen is loaded with white blood cells, so it has a lot of DNA in it, even in men who have had vasectomies.) You can do an analysis even if semen is NOT present, because there are epithelial cells on the condom from anyone who touched it, but you don’t get nearly as much DNA, and the analysis doesn’t always work. My guess is that whatever facility analyzed the condom looked at it under a microscope, so they know if it was used or not, but if the genetic analysis didn’t work in that setting, it just means that you didn’t get enough DNA for the testing to work.

  3. skua says:

    I am reminded of another time.
    One where an Australian Prime Minister let his friend drive drunk and invade Iraq.
    Which to date has resulted in the deaths of over 2,000,000 Iraqis, the rise and spread into Syria of ISIS and the destabilization of European politics by the resulting massive wave of migrants.
    Little Johnny also let a fellow Aussie, David Hicks, be anally raped with a broomstick by US personnel on a US naval vessel before being tortured at Gitmo and then after years of abusive custody be tried in a star chamber.

    Doubtless the current Australia government will also be doing their best to protect Assange’s interests.
    As well as proving themself a worthy ally of the USA.

  4. klynn says:

    JA is not an activist. He just pretends to be an activist. There are too many countries he fails to apply his craft of “transparency” to the detriment of other countries.

    He is a meddler.

    • Desider says:

      I often feel this way, yet there’s nothing in the Constitution or in general journalistic practice that says you have to be completely unbiased, not take on issues that interest you, spread out your investigative powers to every possible similar case to what you’re investigating…
      I think Assange went beyond what’s permissable for allowed journalistic privilege/exemptions (though that should be examined in a court), but even if he gave Putin a big old smooch, *that* part does not disqualify him as a journalist (unless proven to be an actual or de facto agent), even if it means you might no longer take him seriously.

  5. Wm. Boyce says:

    I would hope if the US gets Assange’s computers, et al, that the Dems in the House get their hands on it ASAP. Only way we might find some interesting things out.

  6. foggycoast says:

    IANAL. question: if Assange is extradited to Sweden does Sweden then have the authority to decide if he is to be extradited to the U.S. after his trial/imprisonment is completed there?

  7. Molly Pitcher says:

    bmaz, majorly OT but thought you would be interested in something I just learned. Josh Rosen is the great, great, great grandson of 19th Century industrial magnate, Joseph Wharton. Yes, the same man who founded the Business School at Penn which bears the guilt of graduating Trump.

    • bmaz says:

      Heh, I had never known that! Thank you! We shall see how he pans out in Miami, but from what I saw, he really is an incredibly bright and talented kid. Truly hope he is great in Miami.

  8. Frank Probst says:

    So what’s the statute of limitations on anything else that the USA would file against him? And what’s the penalty for what we’ve already charged him with? If I were in his position, I think I’d be making the rather bizarre request to plead guilty to everything and take the maximum penalty for it. I’d feel a lot better about both my life expectancy and my quality of life if I were in a Swedish prison rather than in US custody.

      • Michael Keenan says:

        Sorry. So the password charge could be a ruse and the charges between UK and US could end up even being different? If Swedish case was closed can the charges be refiled? That sounds nutty.

  9. orionATL says:

    thank goodness there is something to comment on other than trump-mania.

    I really don’t care what happens to Assange he is a boor and a real jerk and as self-absorbed as d.j. trump. I can’t imagine what any woman would see in the guy, but the two swedish women involved acted on their own initiative and initially publicly expressed their pride at time spent with assange. in short, as always, there are two sides to the story. both need to be heard and the two combined to get at anything close to the truth.

    as for political influence in the rape charges, my recollection of events in Sweden in 2010 is that there was indeed political influence in the charges chief prosecutor ney eventually supported against Assange, but the politics that counted was swedishinternal party politics and not primarily u.s.-sweden oriented.

    to get the details of the case that matter it probably would be necessary to go back to reporting from the summer and fall of 2010. so some history:

    background from miss wiki:

    “… Swedish sexual assault allegations…

    Assange visited Sweden in August 2010. During his visit, he became the subject of sexual assault allegations from two women.[181] He was questioned, the case was initially closed, and he was told he could leave the country. In November 2010, however, the case was re-opened by a special prosecutor who said that she wanted to question Assange over two counts of sexual molestation, one count of unlawful coercion and one count of “lesser-degree rape” (mindre grov våldtäkt). Assange denied the allegations and said he was happy to face questions in Britain.[11][182]

    In 2010, the prosecutor said Swedish law prevented her from questioning anyone by video link or in the Swedish embassy. In March 2015, after public criticism from other Swedish law practitioners, she changed her mind and agreed to interrogate Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, with interviews finally beginning on 14 November 2016.[183] These interviews involved police, Swedish prosecutors and Ecuadorian officials and were eventually published online.[184] By this time, the statute of limitations had expired on all three of the less serious allegations. Since the Swedish prosecutor had not interviewed Assange by 18 August 2015, the questioning pertained only to the open investigation of “lesser degree rape”, whose statute of limitations is due to expire in 2020.[185][186][187][188]

    On 19 May 2017, the Swedish authorities suspended their investigation against Assange, claiming they could not expect the Ecuadorian Embassy to communicate reliably with Assange with respect to the case. Chief prosecutor Marianne Ny officially revoked his arrest warrant, but said the investigation could still be resumed if Assange visited Sweden before August 2020. “We are not making any pronouncement about guilt”, she said.[189][190][17] After Assange’s arrest in April 2019, Sweden has reopened the investigation and is seeking his extradition from Britain to face trial in Sweden.[191]…”



      • orionATL says:

        missmwiki on swedish lawyer and politician claes borgstrom:

        “…Borgström earned a law degree from Stockholm University in 1974.[1] Thereafter, he started to work as a lawyer. He has worked on several high-profile criminal cases.

        Between 2000 and 2007, Borgström served the Swedish government as Equality Ombudsman (JämO).[1]Borgström expressed his dislike of this job to his client Sture Bergwall. He described the job as boring, and he would not stay for the full tenancy.[2]

        After the defeat of the Social Democrats in 2006, he resigned to start a law firm, with former Social Democratic Minister of Justice Thomas Bodström as partner.[3] Borgström himself had plans of becoming the Minister of Justice if the Social Democrats had won the election in 2010, according to his client Sture Bergwall. Claes said the following of the current Minister of Justice and his current partner: “I have no high thoughts of Thomas Bodström. It is actually unimaginable how the current Minister of Justice was chosen for his post. He is a shallow person.”[2]

        Since 2008, he’s also been the Swedish Social Democratic Party’s spokesperson on gender equality.[4]… ”

        Borgström thinks that all men carry a collective responsibility for violence against women, and has in this context supported Gudrun Schyman’s “Tax on Men”.[5]

        He also attracted attention in March 2006 when he demanded that Sweden boycott the 2006 World Cup in Germany “in protest against the increase in the trafficking in women that the event is expected to result in”.[6]

        In 2010, Borgström successfully appealed the decision to close the sexual assault case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and became the legal representative of the two Swedish women against whom the Swedish police have accused Assange of sexual misconduct.[7] However, it seems the relationship soured, and he was replaced with Elisabeth Massi Fritz.[8]…”

        • Michael Keenan says:

          Any chance we could hear from WIkileaks on Assange’s version in ANY of your posts instead of second hand reporting? What does the Guardian know?

          • P J Evans says:

            There are these sites called “search engines” where you can look for that kind of stuff.

          • orionATL says:

            m. Keenan –

            I got an idea. you seem to know a lot. why don’t you write “Assange’s version”, hot shot. submit it to Wikileaks. see how it fares there.

            personally, I am not the least bit interested in parroting either Assange’s version or his accusers’ versions. both are included above. the idea is to understand what really happened in August, 2010 between Assange and a couple of women who attended two of his speeches and presumably were interested in his ideas. that is writing history, not propaganda.

            from a legal standpoint, if I were Assange’s defense attorney I would think he’d be far better off risking a trial in Sweden based on its rather unusual sex laws rather than one in the u.s. based on some doj version of “espionage”.

    • bmaz says:

      Gosh, I did not know that rape allegations by complaining victims willing to step up is now a “political” matter. But, such is the sick power of the Assange cult to argue.

  10. orionATL says:

    bmaz wrote:

    “…Several factors, but most critically the pending expiration of the Swedish statute of limitations in August 2020 militate in favor of giving the nod to Sweden over the US. Here is the excellent David Allen Green on that. Also, there is no question of “political prosecution” with the Swedish charge, where in many regards there are such concerns with the current, and potentially future, US charges…”

    quit grandstanding with the oratory, bmaz. politics is everywhere. no one should know that better than a defense attorney.

    knowing the details of a case never hurts either.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, thanks. I know the “details” of this case quite well. Maybe you ought to study up.

      • orionATL says:

        bmaz –

        no. you really do not know the details as well as you could. otherwise you would have understood the political overtones.

        were you assange’s defense attorney, I can guarantee you would be better informed than you are now.

        • bmaz says:

          I have no idea what your petty, and belligerent, vendetta is here, but I can “guarantee” you I have a better grasp on it all than you do. Since 2010, when the Swedish EAW was originally issued, I have studied Swedish, UK and EU law on this subject, and talked to lawyers in all jurisdictions (including a couple affiliated with Assange) about the same, as well as IHL experts. You seem to have googled some Assange cult bullshit.

          At one point I helped you remain a part of this community when we first moved on from FDL. Now you seem to be on a bogus, and ill informed, mission. If you think you know everything, and so much more than I, go write your own post somewhere. I promise to respond. But stop pulling this belligerent crap here.

          • orionATL says:

            bmaz –

            if you remembered even a portion of my current views on Assange quite evident in what i wrote here, you would not blather on as you do.

            you may have studied swedish law, European law, babylonians law or whatever. that is not what I am concerned about. what I am concerned about is a balanced view of the FACTS of the case. the first citation I gave gives some of those in very specific detail. did you read that?

            as for belligerance, bmaz. you really need to look in the mirror. none of my initial comments were either belligerent or one-sided.

            guess what the first belligerent comment was, bmaz, and from whom, bmaz?

            “bmaz says:

            May 14, 2019 at 4:19 pm

            Gosh, I did not know that rape allegations by complaining victims willing to step up is now a “political” matter. But, such is the sick power of the Assange cult to argue.”

            after which belligerence comment of yours I had to remind you that you yourself had first raised the issue of “political”.

            further, the attribution to me of being a member of an “Assange cult” was uncalled for, belligerent, and dishonest.

            • bmaz says:

              Thanks for proving you understand nothing. Well done. Would you have the gall and balls to say that to Marcy, or are you just on a pissant crusade against me?

              You need not respond Orion, we all know the answer.

              • orionATL says:

                oh, bmaz –

                quit whining. you know damned well you started something that was not necessary to start. you took a useful set of comments and verbally assaulted their author as an Assange toady. big mistake, buddy!

                learn to knock it off, man.

                on another more important matter, I learned a lot from your fine post on judge damon Keith. I had not heard of him before.

                the main thought I had on my first reading was what tremendous physical courage judge Keith had, as had someone judge Keith admired, Thurgood marshall. it is hard for younger folks today to understand the level of socially authorized viciousness whites felt free to visit on their black fellow citizens in the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and early 60’s.

                my second reading of that excellent post was devoted to Mary’s excellent and riveting multi-part series on the Nixon admin’s efforts to re-write/re-interpret the 4th amendment.

                history repeats, and damned if, 30 yrs later, the g.w Bush admin and NSA officials and DOJ lawyers didn’t go and borrow,that same script to institute stellar wind.

                republicans know their party history and repeat it endlessly, e.g., using foreign governments to help them win elections. that historical fact should be used against them in 2019 and 2020.

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