October 30, 2012

Assange affair: Throw prestige, Reinfeldt!

Locking is still overall, in terms of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's extradition to Sweden. The British have agreed to release him, according to the European Arrest Warrant. Ecuador has granted him political asylum - and since then he sits at the country's embassy in London, without being able to leave the building.

Assange fears that Sweden will extradite him to the United States if he is sent here. And he may have good reasons to fear the United States, after revealing a lot of Americans would prefer to keep secret.

One can of itself find that the risk of being sent to the United States is at least as high in the UK, maybe even bigger. But let's focus on the Sweden. Here is the case against Assange is still an infected wound.

The Swedish government claims that it can not and may issue any guarantee against extradition. The reason is that politicians should not interfere in and control cases. Which is an extraordinarily wise principle.

The question is whether this principle is relevant in this particular case. Information has crept up on the fact that the U.S. government, or at least the U.S. military, consider Julian Assange as "enemy of the state". And if he branded as hostile Kombatant (if only to free speech as a weapon) - then it's pretty obvious that he risks being subjected to torture and possibly even be threatened with the death penalty if he is extradited to the United States.

Since Sweden has pledged not to send people to countries where they risk torture or death - there is an entirely proper legal opportunity for Sweden to provide a guarantee against extradition in this case.

What is it that prevents it happening?

One possibility could be that Sweden actually want to send Assange to the U.S.. But it does not seem particularly likely. Furthermore, would it violate international conventions mentioned above. It can also be pretty sure that the government understands the hell circus would start if it even considered putting Assange on a CIA plane at Bromma.

Far more likely is that it is about prestige. Prime Minister Reinfeldt has had a war of words with Assange in the media about the Swedish judicial system reliability. And Reinfeldt can be a real mule. For him, Assange is an enemy. It leans therefore to the problem lies in the Prime Minister's and the Government's mindset.

If Reinfeldt would prove to be the statesman he so intensely trying to portray himself as - then he should throw prestige, swallowing your disappointment and issue the said guarantee against extradition to the United States.

But as anyone who has studied Reinfeldt closer to know, it will hardly happen. It does not change the fact that the ball (or at least one of this story all the balls) lies with the government.


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