A ssange est dans le Embasssy

20 Aug

This whole Julian Assange thing is confusing me and I have a question for people more knowledgeable than I, and who have more patience reading long long news articles.* It’s quite a long question, and involves my setting out my understanding (which may well be what’s flawed).

Crime one

Leaving aside actual conspiracy theories (which I otherwise give a fair bit of weight to) about why he’s been accused at this ‘convenient’ time, or what the likelihood of his being guilty of rape actually is, the fact remains that he is either:

a)      guilty of rape or

b)      not guilty of rape

If he is accused, for good reason, of a crime, then he should stand trial for that crime within the jurisdiction of that crime. If he is guilty, he should be punished.

Crime two

However, if he is sent to the country where he is accused of this crime, to have a said trial, the worry is that he will also be extradited to stand trial for a different crime in a different jurisdiction (revealing state secrets? I’m not clear on exactly what crime this falls into). He is again either

a)      guilty of that crime

b)      not guilty of that crime

The above still stands: if he is accused, with fair reason, of a crime under a certain jurisdiction, he should stand trial for that crime, and is he is guilty, he is guilty. The mitigation comes in sentencing, where his motives etc should be reviewed.

The sticky wicket

However, what appears to be the problem is that:

  • the jurisdiction under which his accused crime falls is unclear
  • the US, who are claiming it under their jurisdiction, essentially isn’t considered to be a place where he will receive a fair trial. It’s not considered to be a civilised country, basically. The theories about what might happen to him if he goes to the US range from ‘he’ll be shot on sight’ to ‘they’ll throw the book at him’.

The question: why not try him in Ecuador?

Again leaving aside a fairly crucial point ie will Sweden really extradite him (evidence seems that no), what is it that prevents his being tried in Ecuador? (either within the Embassy or in Ecuador itself).

Option one: He is tried in Ecuador under Ecuadorian law

There seem to be two reasons why this is not a good idea:

Ecuador’s sentencing and punishment system is different from Sweden’s, and he may endure a harsher sentence

Frankly, them’s the breaks, kiddo. If he is guilty of rape then he has to face his crimes and if he for whatever reason doesn’t want the first offer of how to do this. Personally, I’d argue that if he’s an international hero but in fact a sexual predator then maybe he deserves a harsher sentence.

He won’t have a fair trial in Ecuador (so will either be found guilty or not guilty where the same result wouldn’t stand in Sweden)

This seems to be more legitimate. So:

Option two: He is tried in Ecuador by a Swedish judiciary

If he’s found guilty, then they get to punish him in the way they see fit, which will probably be incarceration in a Swedish jail. If part of this process also sees him extradited to the US then, again, tough nougies. Don’t rape people. And don’t rape people and then set yourself up as the innocent superhero fighting the power. If you rape people, you are the power, and that makes him a fucking hypocrite.

If he’s found not guilty, then the situation remains as before. Ecuador, UK, Sweden, or the Moon can offer him asylum with total clarity as to what’s he being asylumed from. Sorted.

So, why is this not an option I’m seeing talked about? Have I not read into it enough? Is it just ‘not done’? Is there a legal reason you can’t do this? What’s the score, people?

*I’m happy to read a long long news article if I’m told it will answer my questions. I’ve spent too much time reading long news articles from which I gain nothing more than from reading the standfirst, so have generally given up.

One Response to “A ssange est dans le Embasssy”

  1. Ari August 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    He’s not accused of rape. The crime he’s actually accused of is consensual sex, but without a condom, which in Sweden is counted as assault.

    There’s very good reason to think he wouldn’t ever see the light of day if he was sent to America. Not ever, ever again. The guy who helped Assange release the files from the US military has now been held in jail without a trial for over 800 days. So America is not a civilised country. It is, however, a very powerful country, so the UK and Sweden have their puny pale little European arms twisted up behind their backs. Whether Assange is a freedom fighter or a terrorist is a lexical matter for whoever happens to have the greatest political and military heft. So there is probably some merit to the idea that when the two women who’d dropped their charges picked them up again suddenly, it was probably because America told Sweden they’d just bloody well better. Which makes issues of coercion at this point rather nauseatingly moot.

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