IN RESPONSE | THE JULIAN ASSANGE CASE
It is obvious that an interrogation with Julian Assange would gain everybody, including the injured parties.
Thomas Olsson och Per E Samuelsson
Many people have recently pointed out that Julian Assange's situation is embarrassing to Sweden and should be resolved, while some still seem to believe, as Elisabeth Massi Fritz (
Brännpunkt 5 february), that Julian Assange demands to be treated differently from everybody else when he asks to be interrogated at Ecuador´s embassy in London.
This is a misunderstanding. Assange only requests to be treated according to Swedish law.
According to section 23, chapter 4, of the Swedish Procedural Code, a preliminary criminal investigation should be performed as quickly as possible and in such a way that the suspect is not unnecessarily inconvenienced.
According to section 5 of the preliminary investigation code, an interrogation shall be held at such a time and place as can be expected to carry the least inconvenience for the investigated party.
The significance of these rules is, that every preliminary investigation should be adapted to the situation in which the investigated party finds himself.
Julian Assange stays at Ecuador´s embassy in London since June 2012. The reason that he went there was a worry to be extradited to the US. That this worry is well founded is clear since American authorities have stated that a pre-investigation is ongoing regarding the publishments of Wikileaks. The seriousness of this became apparent during the trial against Chelsea (former Bradley) Manning who was conducted to 35 years in prison as alleged source to Wikileaks.
To prevent that this risk of extradition is realized Ecuador has granted Julian Assange political asylum. Thus the somewhat unusual and – to say the least – an akward situation has occurred: A person is locked up in an embassay in Western Europe to avoid being prosecuted for having used his freedom of speech to critize, as a journalist, how the US conducts it´s war against Irak.
According to Swedish law, the prosecutor is, as previously stated, obliged to adapt to Assange’s situation and with this as a starting point, quickly press on with the investigation without causing unnecessary inconvienence to the ones involved.
The next step in the investigation is to interrogate Assange. Such an interrogation can be held at the embassy in London but not in Sweden. But Marianne Ny refuses to go to London. Instead she does nothing. One would be hard pressed to find any rational reason for her passiveness. After the interrogation of Julian Assange the prosecutor can decide how to proceed. Drop the suspicions in whole are partly or move on to an indictment. Before the interrogation Marianne Ny can do nothing.
Assuming that the prosecutor does not have a prejudiced opinion regarding the question of guilt, and is prepared to treat the different versions objectively, it is obvious that an interrogation with Julian Assange would gain everybody, including the injured parties. They would receive a decision, whichever it may be, and would no longer have to live with the uncertainty what will happen with the pre-investigation.
Up to now Marianne Ny has not been able to present any solution of the problem, instead she has only emphasized difficulties. Perhaps it would then be a good idea to what has been suggested, to let a superior prosecutor look at the case with new fresh eyes. If so one will hopefully see the possibilities with the problem instead of the problems with the possibility.
Why Elisabeth Massi Fritz (and Claes Borgström) does not concur with our demand is to us incomprehensible. Fritz writes that her client “does not want this prolonged procedure to go on for several years to come”. By backing the prosecutor’s inactivity Massi Fritz contributes to this, exactly contrary to her client’s wishes.
PER E SAMUELSON
Julian Assange's Swedish defense lawyers