The termination of the Swedish investigation is, in one sense, good news for Assange. But it is unlikely to change his inability to leave the embassy any time soon. If anything, given the apparent determination of the Trump administration to put him in a U.S. prison cell for the “crime” of publishing documents, his freedom appears further away than it has since 2010, when the Swedish case began.
“Today is an important victory for me,” Assange says, adding that his seven-year legal ordeal, which he calls unjust detention, “is not something that I can forgive.”It was “extremely regretful” that he was still being threatened with arrest if he leaves the embassy, he added,
Julian Assange has taken refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London to avoid extradition from Sweden. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images
Lawyers for Julian Assange have claimed victory after a Swedish prosecutor bowed to pressure from the courts and agreed to break the deadlock in his case by interviewing the WikiLeaks founder in London.
Marianne Ny, who heads the investigation into accusations of rape, coercion and sexual molestation against Assange, made a formal request to interrogate him in the Ecuadorian embassy – the first sign of movement in a case that has been frozen since August 2012.
The prosecutor will also ask the UK government and Ecuador for permission to carry out the interviews at the embassy in London, where Assange has been staying for more than two-and-a-half years to avoid extradition to Sweden, from where he fears being handed over to the US to face espionage charges.
Ny said she had changed her mind because the statute of limitations on several of the crimes of which Assange is suspected runs out in August 2015.
“My attitude has been that the forms for a hearing with him at the embassy in London are such that the quality of the interrogation would be inadequate and that he needs to be present in Sweden at a trial. That assessment remains,” Ny said in a statement.
“Now time is running out and I therefore believe that I have to accept a loss of quality in the investigation and take the risk that the hearing will not take the investigation forward, because no other option is available as long as Assange does not make himself available in Sweden,” she said.
Per Samuelson, a Stockholm lawyer for Assange, said: “It is a victory for us. We have been asking for this to happen for over four years. That is the route to acquittal.”
La Fiscalía de Suecia ha planteado al fundador de Wikileaks, Julian Assange, la posibilidad de interrogarle en Londres por los delitos sexuales que se le imputan en el país nórdico, por los que también se ha solicitado una prueba de ADN. Con ello, la justicia sueca espera poder esclarecer las cuatro denuncias que pesan en su contra y por las que dictó una orden de presión preventiva en ausencia de Assange en 2010.
El motivo del cambio de decisión de la fiscal superior de Suecia, Marianne Ny, que hasta ahora se había negado a viajar a Londres apelando a la legislación sueca, es que varios de los delitos de los que Assange es sospechoso prescriben en agosto de 2015, explicó la Fiscalía en un comunicado.
Assange permanece encerrado en la Embajada de Ecuador en la capital británica desde junio de 2012. En este tiempo, el fundador de Wikileaks ha evitado su extradición a Suecia aprovechando el limbo legal en el que se quedó tras saltarse los requisitos de libertad vigilada en Reino Unido.
Assange ha negado cualquier responsabilidad en estos delitos, pero se niega a dar explicaciones en Suecia porque no existen garantías de que no vaya a ser extraditado con posterioridad a Estados Unidos, donde sería juzgado por la filtración masiva de documentos oficiales a Wikileaks.
Pirate Bay’s revival seems certain after the torrent site has started to display a logo of phoenix with a timer counting down to 1 February.
The timer was unveiled last week along with a revived but non-functioning site. Now the phoenix, a symbol of rebirth used by the Pirate Bay in previous relaunches of the site, has replaced the iconic battleship logo and the animated waving pirate flag.
On the homepage, the Pirate Bay battleship travels towards a cartoon of an island harbour named “welcome home”, now positioned overlapping the island.
Swedish police have raided and seized computer and server equipment in Stockholm, taking the notorious piracy site the Pirate Bay offline.
The site, which has survived the arrest and jailing of its founders, several attempts to remove it from the internet and blockade by internet service providers (ISPs) in the UK and internationally, has been unavailable for more than 24 hours.
“We had a crackdown on a server room in greater Stockholm because of a copyright infringement, and yes it was Pirate Bay,” said Paul Pinter, national co-ordinator for intellectual property crime at Stockholm County Police.
He said that Rights Alliance, a Swedish anti-piracy group, had made the complaint. Sara Lindback, its head, said that Pirate Bay was “an illegal commercial service” making “considerable earnings by infringing the works of others”.
Servers and computers seized
Sources quoted by BitTorrent news site TorrentFreak have confirmed that the servers seized in the raid belonged to the Pirate Bay. Despite several sites appearing to be the piracy site briefly coming back online, it has not yet been resurrected.
Several sites affiliated with the Pirate Bay, including EZTV, Zoink, Torrage, Istole, bayimg.com, pastebay.net and Pirate Bay’s internet forum suprbay.org, have also been taken offline.
Fredrik Ingblad, a Swedish intellectual property crime prosecutor, said: “There were a number of police officers and digital forensics experts there. This took place during the morning and continued until this afternoon. Several servers and computers were seized, but I cannot say exactly how many.”
It is not known whether Swedish authorities also seized the Pirate Bay domain names as part of their action against the piracy site.
The Pirate Bay has been blocked at the ISP level in the UK since 2012. Users of the site have been able to circumvent the court-ordered block by accessing proxy sites, which replicate the Pirate Bay services and pull data from the main site when a user accesses them operating as a relay.
Many of these proxy sites are still operating despite the primary Pirate Bay site being taken offline, but they have no data of their own and are essentially crippled by the removal of the Pirate Bay from the internet.
Edward Snowden issues a recorded statement after being awarded Sweden’s Right Livelihood Honorary Award, dubbed the ‘alternative Nobel Prize’. The National Security Agency whistleblower says he accepts the award on behalf of those who risked their lives to help ‘resist unlawful and disproportionate mass surveillance’. He says the award serves as a ‘vindication’ for such efforts
For Immediate Release: 16 June 2014
59 International Organizations Call Upon UN to Remedy Human Rights Violations in Pre-Charge Detention of Wikileaks Publisher Julian Assange
Geneva, Switzerland – Before the United Nations this Sunday, 26 international human rights, fair trial, and jurist organizations, and 33 Latin American civil society organisations, condemned Sweden’s violation of the fundamental human rights of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who has experienced protracted pre-charge detention stemming from a Swedish investigation which has yet to charge him. Mr. Assange’s pre-charge detention has spanned nearly four years as US Federal Grand Jury prepares a criminal case against WikiLeaks and it’s officers.
Two Swedish organizations, as well as jurist organizations from around the world including the American Association of Jurists (AAJ), the National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG), the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), and the Indian Association of Lawyers submitted two reports —one in English and one in Spanish— each highlighting various procedural rights violations of Julian Assange, Sweden’s longest running case of pre-trial deprivation of liberty.
A third report, signed by 33 human rights groups, media and civil society organisations, and unions, including the Global Women’s March (Marcha Mundial das Mulheres, MMM), petitioned the Human Rights Commission in Geneva to intervene to free the ’political prisoner’, Julian Assange.
The reports were submitted to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the peak UN human rights review mechanism that investigates each country’s human rights record every four years. The submissions expose numerous systematic deficiencies in Swedish pre-trial procedures like the routine placement of persons who have not been charged with any crime in indefinite, isolated, or unexplained pre-charge detention.
According to the English report, signed by 16 organizations, “The methods employed by the prosecutor in Mr. Assange’s case are a clear violation of his fundamental human rights, yet they remain beyond the reach of judicial review.”
The second submission, signed by 10 international human rights, fair trial, and jurist organizations, says that “the Swedish Authorities’ demand that Mr. Assange be physically present in Sweden for questioning… would imply that Mr. Assange would have to renounce his inalienable right [to the protection afforded by his asylum in relation to the United States], but also means in practice that Mr. Assange would have to risk his life and physical integrity”.
The third submission, signed by 33 human rights groups, media and civil society organisations, and unions, from Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Ecuador, petitioned the UN Human Rights Commission to intervene with Sweden in order to secure the immediate release of Julian Assange:
“The entire international community has witnessed the opportunistic manipulation of the accusations against Mr. Assange, in an attempt to destroy his reputation and to prevent his freedom and his ability to act politically. It is obvious that this unprecedented situation has not come about as a result of the alleged acts committed in Sweden, but rather due to the clear political interference by powerful interests in response to Mr. Assange’s journalistic and political activities. This situation has turned Julian Assange into a political prisoner, who is effectively condemned to house arrest without any charges having been brought against him, without being able to exercise his right to due process.”