Back to article index


Assange was sent to Belmarsh - Britain's highest security gaol - on the basis of his indictment for skipping bail when he had sought asylum in 2012. That was to avoid extradition to Sweden, hence the oft-repeated smear that he was 'hiding' in the Ecuadorian embassy in order to avoid extradition to Sweden in order to avoid the Swedish investigation of an accusation of sexual assault. But when the accusation was made, Assange had waited four weeks in Sweden to be interviewed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Marianne Ny, for the 'preliminary investigation' which had to be conducted before any charges could be brought. The most important accusation, that of rape, had been quickly dropped by the Stockholm prosecutor, Eva Finné, for lack of evidence, though not before it had been splashed all over the Swedish, and hence world press. It was taken up again by Finné's superior, Ny, on 1st September after an application by the lawyer Claes Bogström. According to Gary Lord's history of Wikileaks, quoting the Australian Swedish-speaking journalist Guy Rundle: 'Claes Borgström was "not only the Social Democratic Party’s gender equality spokesperson, but a major driver of Sweden’s Sexual Offences Act 2005". And the new prosecutor, Marianne Ny, was a sex crime expert who "had headed a crime development unit whose brief was to explore ways in which sex crime law might be changed or extended."' (8) Borgström, Ny and Anna Ardin were all members of the broderskapsrorelsen. (9)

(8)  Gary Lord: Wikileaks: a true history, Chapter six: mid 2010,

(9) A footnote in Prof Marcello Ferrada de Noli: Sweden vs Assange, human rights issues, Sweden, Libertarian Books, 2014, p.244, informs us that 'Mr Claes Bogström advocates for the institution in Sweden of a ”man tax”. Meaning that the totality of the male population of Sweden should pay a special, separate tax to the state, in compensation for the ”patriarchal” situation that would have existed in Sweden back in hundreds years, and thus affected women as a gender. He has quite recently abandoned the Social Democratic Party to enter the “Vänster” Party (formerly the Communist Party of Sweden), an organization that in spite of its origins has voted favourably in the Swedish Parliament for C. Bildt’s propositions to intervene militarily on behalf of NATO in the recent Libyan war.' [I have made some minor grammatical corrections - PB]

A fortnight later, on 15th September, without yet having interviewed him, Ny told Assange's Swedish lawyer that he was free to leave Sweden. He left on 27th September. On that very day, according to the account by the Swedish political commentator Marcello Ferrada de Noli, unbeknownst to Assange, Ny issued a detention warrant for his arrest. It was issued at 14.15. Assange arrived at the airport at noon but took a later flight than expected, which left at 17.15. Since on his arrival in Berlin his laptops and checked-in suitcase were missing, the security services were well aware of who he was and could have arrested him if they had been properly notified of the warrant, as normally they would have been.

De Noli argues that had he been detained at the airport 'The prosecutor would have had to interrogate Assange within a few hours. Assange would have requested the presence of a lawyer or that the interview was videotaped. Afterwards he would have been released because in terms of the evidence available to the prosecutor there would have been nothing new that had not already come up in the preliminary investigation conducted by prosecutor Eva Finné (who had previously dismissed the case on this evidence). He would have never been held incommunicado, as he will certainly be if he comes to Sweden under the extradition terms that resulted from the EAW.' (10) In other words, the whole point was to let Assange leave Sweden in order then to be able to produce a European Arrest Warrant and indeed an Interpol 'red notice', normally only issued for dangerous criminals and 'terrorists'. To take up Melzer's account (p.161): 'The plan clearly does not appear to be to arrest Assange but to create and perpetuate the public narrative of a fugitive sex offender, all the while denying him an opportunity to defend himself. Although Prosecutor Ny was obliged by law to issue an arrest warrant against Assange as soon as she had reopened the rape investigation on 1st September, she only does so once he appears in the passenger monitoring system a few hours before his departure. She then allows him to leave the country and thereby gets him to inadvertently confirm the alleged flight risk by his own action.'

(10) Sweden vs Assange, p.30.

Assange offered through his solicitor to come to Sweden any time during the week beginning 10th October but Ny, who had kept him waiting for four weeks between her taking the case up and calling him for interview, declared that that was too late. Assange presenting himself voluntarily for interview didn't fit the desired scenario. 

By the time the European Arrest Warrant was issued, on 18th November 2010, Assange was insisting on a guarantee that his removal to Sweden on the sexual assault charge, where he could now be immediately imprisoned as a flight risk, would not be followed by his removal to the United States, where the consequences could be a great deal more serious. A 'Grand Jury' had been convened in Alexandria, Virginia, to investigate Wikileaks. Grand Juries meet in secret and have the power to issue sealed indictments but, more openly, Assange was the object of what a statement issued by Wikileaks in January 2011 called: 

'unprecedented violent rhetoric by US prominent media personalities, including Sarah Palin, who urged the US administration to “Hunt down the WikiLeaks chief like the Taliban”. Prominent US politician Mike Huckabee called for the execution of WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange on his Fox News program last November, and Fox News commentator Bob Beckel, referring to Assange, publicly called for people to "illegally shoot the son of a bitch." US radio personality Rush Limbaugh has called for pressure to "Give [Fox News President Roger] Ailes the order and [then] there is no Assange, I’ll guarantee you, and there will be no fingerprints on it.", while the Washington Times columnist Jeffery T. Kuhner titled his column “Assassinate Assange” captioned with a picture Julian Assange overlayed with a gun site, blood spatters, and “WANTED DEAD or ALIVE” with the alive crossed out. John Hawkins of has stated "If Julian Assange is shot in the head tomorrow or if his car is blown up when he turns the key, what message do you think that would send about releasing sensitive American data?" Christian Whiton in a Fox News opinion piece called for violence against WikiLeaks publishers and editors, saying the US should "designate WikiLeaks and its officers as enemy combatants, paving the way for non-judicial actions against them."'

Melzer (p.81) explains why it was thought that Sweden was more likely to extradite Assange than the UK. The extradition arrangements both Sweden and the UK had with the US included a provision, which could obviously be used by a defence lawyer, excluding political reasons for the extradition. However Sweden, unlike the UK, had a 'mechanism of "temporary surrender", a loophole in the US-Swedish extradition treaty permitting the United States to "borrow" a suspect from Sweden for the purposes of criminal prosecution without full extradition proceedings. While such surrender must remain "temporary", its duration is to be agreed by the two governments on a case-by-case basis - enough room for a tailor-made arrangement ensuring Assange's permanent disappearance into the black hole of a US Supermax prison.' That Wikileaks supporters were fully aware of this possibility is shown in a series of tweets issued by Assange's mother, Christine, explaining the dangers faced by her son. They included these:  

'11. The Swedish/US Bilateral Treaty gets around safeguards of normal extradition with a fast-track "Temporary Surrender" clause.

'12. The US Grand Jury convenes in secret. There are 4 prosecutors, no defence, and no judge. It can issue indictments for Extradition with no proper legal process.

'13. Sweden has not refused an Extradition request from the USA for over 20 years.

'14. In 2001 Sweden gave two innocent Egyptian refugees to the CIA for rendition to Egypt, where they were tortured.

'15. The Swedish Justice Minister who signed off on the CIA rendition torture flight was Thomas Bodström.

'16. Thomas Bodström is now the business partner of Claes Borgström, the politician/lawyer of the two Swedish women in the Assange case.' (11)

(11) Gary Lord: Wikileaks, Chapter thirteen,

The US, however, carefully refrained from issuing any indictment or request for extradition so it was easy to accuse Assange of paranoia or reluctance to face up to the Swedish sex allegations. Assange's Swedish lawyer, Björn Hartig, tried to have the 'preliminary investigation' conducted in London, but Ny insisted: 'The interview planned with Assange must take place in Sweden for investigative reasons. These include, among other things, that the interview with Assange must be conducted in the same manner as the interviews with other persons in this investigation, and that these interviews are likely to lead to other investigative measures.' Melzer comments (p.169): 'This is a rather brazen justification, given that the initial interviews with most witnesses and one of the alleged victims had been conducted by phone, whereas Assange had personally come to the police for questioning on 30th August 2010.'