Julian Assange (remember him?) update

When we last visited our friend Julian Assange, he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, with bobbies out front, waiting to arrest him on a Swedish extradition warrant if he stepped out the door and back into British jurisdiction.

It sounds as if a UN panel is going to rule in a few hours that the four years he’s been in the Ecuador embassy is arbitrary detention: Julian Assange is in arbitrary detention, UN panel finds.

I"m trying to get my head around this: there’s been nothing stopping him for four years from leaving the Embassy, except his own fear of being arrested and sent to Sweden. But the Swedish and British courts have upheld the original rape investigation in Sweden, and the extradition warrant in Britain, so where’s the arbitrariness? He’s just avoiding answering legal process that anyone else would have to respond to.

I will be interested in reading the piece from the UN body. It sounds as if it is purely advisory, and the UK and Swedish governments plan to reject the findings.

And where’s the detention? The whole point of the charade at the Ecuadorean embassy is that he’s not in the custody of either the UK or Sweden.

No, he’s effectively detained by the threat of immediate arrest (and formal detention) if he leaves the embassy. He’s detained just as much as if he were under house arrest.

I don’t have any issue with the notion that state action which effectively confines him to the embassy is functionally equivalent to detention. The issue is whether it’s arbitrary detention.

I’d like to know the membership of that panel. It may be alike to when the Human Rights panel being peopled by representatives from Iran and North Korea…

Interesting twist in any case.

So Sweden can easily ignore the findings, but that would make their big mouth on human rights cases in Africa or China a little awkward next time around …

Wow, I can’t believe he’s still in there.

Surely in all these years they’ve lightened up on the 24/7 perimeter, no? If they haven’t, that’s some serious commitment (and seems like kind of a waste of police resources). I bet he could have escaped if he really wanted to but I guess he has some sweet digs in there.

Assange pissed off some very powerful people. Unhappily (switching to the vernacular) ain’t no UN panel gonna save his sorry ass.

I don’t think it is. I’m still reading up on this matter, but there seems to be some semantic confusion creeping into the news articles. As far as I can tell the panel on arbitrary detention finds that he has been de facto detained for the past years … I’m not sure they actually said this detention was arbitrary

The charges are rotten as hell. If Assange was not a man who members of the US federal government were literally threatening to murder for airing their dirty laundry, whose organisation had been targeted by policies created to suppress various forms of constitutionally protected acts, then I have no doubt that this investigation into what appears to be a couple of consensual sexual relationships, an investigation which was already closed once with the prosecutor saying there was no reason to suspect that Assange had committed rape, would never have been reopened.

In other news, the UN panel also finds that the Bundy gang were arbitrarily detained in that Federal building in Oregon. They are urging the US Government to apologize.

Neither of whom have recently invaded other countries on false pretenses or operated a chain of torture centers on three continents.

The question here is more a political one rather then a legal one.

The interesting question is what this panel expects anyone to do. The UK is obliged to honor a European arrest order, and Sweden has the right to bring charges according to its laws as it sees fit.

Assange says that the UK should give him back his passport and leave him alone. In effect he’s saying that the UK should renege on international agreements to which it is a signatory.

The only potential issue I see here is that Sweden may have been pressured into laying bogus charges, perhaps by the US, but that’s not what this panel is addressing. The whole thing is bizarre.

Quite. Why would the US bother to go about it in such a roundabout way, when they could have applied for extradition from the UK while he was still at liberty here (and the extradition treaty with the UK and the UK courts interpreting it are, shall we say, highly unlikely to be less responsive to the US than the equivalent arrangements with Sweden). He’s entirely the author of his present situation, and has always had a perfectly simple remedy to hand.

My guess is Assange found a sympathic ear on someone at the UN panel, who is trying to help as best he can. His detention isn’t arbitrary. He’s accused of sexual assault, not some mysterious bullshit charge like dishonoring the king’s goldfish.

Again, the composition of this UN panel could be instructive here. It’s also possible the membership trends toward parts of the world where sexual assault & rape aren’t taken very seriously.

And as for the US shipping him off to some black site, if we haven’t done that to what’s-his-name who leaked the info and fled to Russia, why would we bother over his worthless ass?

From what I’ve read, Assange is basically a professional freeloader, living with whoever will take him. He’s probably perfectly happy living at the Ecuadorian embassy. Free room. Free food. Free internet access. It would just be nice to be able to go for a walk every now & then.

Here are the members. Thr Aussie recused herself since Assange is a Australian national. Except for the Ukranian guy, everyone seems to have an extensive background in Human Rights law, the rep from Benin worked on the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal. Of course, according to **Malden Capell **and wolfpup, they the only thing that matters is that they are not white European/N Americans.

AK84, have you been able to find the actual opinion? I’ve just found a media release from the UN committee.

WTF is that even supposed to mean? Did you confuse me with someone else? I have no interest whatsoever in who the members of this working group are, nor am I even either agreeing or disagreeing with them. My only question is who they expect is in a position to take any action on their ruling, and what they expect them to do.

Sorry; I meant **Diceman **not you.

Northern Piper they have a search function for documents, but its worse then fucking LexisNexis was.

SNL is going to have to get Bill Hader back for a guest appearance.

Bzzzt-Bzzzt…Hello. It’s me. Again. I’m back! Bzzzt-Bzzzt…