New evidence suggests the UK has detained Julian Assange for political reasons

assange
Support us and go ad-free

Swedish prosecutors were considering dropping the extradition proceedings against Julian Assange in 2013, new evidence shows. But the UK government pressured Sweden to keep the case against the WikiLeaks founder going.

Assange is still in the UK five years later. And these latest revelations are stoking suspicions that the government is keeping him detained for political reasons.

The case

Stefania Maurizi is an Italian journalist. She has been digging into the arbitrary detention of Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy. And she took the UK government to court in November 2017 in an attempt to force it to release information regarding the case.

Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012. At the time, Sweden was investigating a series of allegations against him of a sexual nature and had a European arrest warrant for him. Sweden dropped the investigation in May 2017. But Maurizi has obtained emails which show the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) pressured Sweden to keep Assange’s case going.

In August 2012, the CPS emailed Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny about an article that suggested Sweden may drop the case. A CPS official wrote [pdf]:

Don’t you dare get cold feet!!

Then, in October 2013, Ny wrote to the CPS saying that she was “obliged to consider to lift the detention order (court order) and to withdraw the European arrest warrant”. She explained:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

There is a demand in Swedish law for coercive measures to be proportionate. The time passing, the costs and how severe the crime is to be taken into account together with the intrusion or detriment to the suspect.

In response, the CPS asked [pdf] for some time to “consider all the angles”. And in December of that year, a CPS official wrote to Ny saying “I do not consider costs are a relevant factor in this matter”. The Metropolitan Police surrounded the Ecuadorian Embassy between 2012 and 2015 at a cost of at least £12.6m.

In response to the new revelations, a CPS spokesperson said:

As there are legal proceedings still under way it would be inappropriate to comment.

The politics

Maurizi’s probing has also revealed that the CPS destroyed key emails relating to the case. She also discovered that the UK explicitly advised Swedish representatives not to travel to the UK to interview Assange at the embassy. Assange and his lawyers had offered such an option, which is fairly commonplace.

Assange has long suspected that if he left the embassy the UK would extradite him to the US. He suspects the country has a sealed indictment ready for his prosecution because of his WikiLeaks releases. And it’s not hard to see why Assange is suspicious.

As Maurizi’s investigation has shown, the UK has taken action that ensures Assange either stays in the embassy or walks out in chains. Indeed, even though the Swedish investigation is now over, the UK still plans to arrest him for skipping bail when he entered the embassy in 2012. Assange’s lawyers will challenge this in court on 13 February.

But as investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, it very much looks like the UK is punishing Assange for publishing documents that the powerful would rather we didn’t see. That would be political persecution, which has no place in 21st-century Britain.

Get Involved!

Support whistleblowers with The Courage Foundation.

Featured image via CNN/YouTube

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed