Swedish Court Denies Julian Assange’s Appeal To Quash Detention Order

Assange @ Ecuadorian Embassy
Assange @ Ecuadorian Embassy

On November 20, 2014, a Swedish appellate court denied Julian Assange’s application to quash the lower court’s four-year-old order for his detention for questioning about allegations of sexual misconduct with two women in Sweden in 2010.[1]

Assange had argued that the order could not be enforced because he has been and still is in Ecuador’s embassy in London, U.K. under a grant of diplomatic asylum and that the order was restricting his civil rights.

The Swedish court, however, was not persuaded. It said, “In making this assessment, account must be taken of the fact that Julian Assange is suspected of crimes of a relatively serious nature.” Moreover, “there is a great risk that he will flee and thereby evade legal proceedings if the detention order is set aside. In the view of the court of appeal, these circumstances mean that the reasons for detention still outweigh the intrusion or other detriment entailed by the detention order.” In short, the court could not “set aside the detention solely because Julian Assange is in an embassy and the detention order cannot be enforced at present for that reason.”

On the other hand, the court noted that Sweden’s investigation into Assange had come to a halt and that the prosecutors’ failure to examine alternative avenues of investigation “is not in line with their obligation – in the interests of everyone concerned – to move the preliminary investigation forward.”

An alternative avenue of investigation previously had been proposed by Assange: interview him at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Last month in the House of Commons the U.K. Foreign Minister, Hugo Swire, said, “These are matters for the [Swedish] prosecutor to decide on, but if she wished to travel here to question Mr Assange in the embassy in London, we would do absolutely everything to facilitate that. Indeed, we would actively welcome it.”

Assange’s attorney said the decision would be appealed to Sweden’s Supreme Court. A more likely outcome, in this blogger’s opinion, would be the Swedish prosecutor’s interrogating Assange at the Embassy in London and then determining whether criminal charges would be brought against him.

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[1] This post is based upon Crouch, Julian Assange: Swedish court rejects appeal to lift arrest warrant, Guardian (Nov. 20. 20, 2014); Dickson, Swedish appeal court upholds Assange detention order, Reuters (Nov. 20, 2014); Cowell, Swedish Court Rejects Appeal by Julian Assange, N. Y. Times (Nov. 20, 2014), ; This blog has a number of posts about Assange’s grant of diplomatic asylum by Ecuador and the legal skirmishes over whether, when and where he would be interrogated by the Swedish prosecutor.

 

 

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

2 thoughts on “Swedish Court Denies Julian Assange’s Appeal To Quash Detention Order”

  1. Comment: Assange To Be Interviewed at London Embassy by Swedish Prosecutor

    On March 13, 2015, the Swedish Prosecutor issued a statement reporting that she had asked his attorney if he would consent to being interviewed at Ecuador’s Embassy in London and to providing a DNA swab.

    Although the prosecutor always has thought that such an interview in London would be undesirable, she now is prepared to do so because the statute of limitations for some of the crimes for which he is a suspect expire in August 2015.

    One of Assange’s attorneys said he most likely would accept the request. The British Foreign Office last November said it would welcome such a request, and Ecuador’s government has repeatedly stated it approves of such a step.
    ============================================

    Swedish Prosecution Authority, The prosecutor requests to interview Assange in London (Mar. 13, 2015), http://www.aklagare.se/In-English/Media/News-in-English1/The-prosecutor-requests-to-interview-Assange-in-London/; Castle, Swedes Offer to Question Julian Assange in London, N.Y. Times (Mar. 13, 2015), http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/14/world/europe/julian-assange-sweden-london-sexual-assault-allegations.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news; Crouch, Julian Assange to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in London, Guardian (Mar. 13, 2015). http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/mar/13/julian-assange-wikileaks-swedish-prosecutors-london-interview.

  2. Comment: Sweden’s Supreme Court Rejects Assange’s Appeal

    On May 11th the Supreme Court of Sweden rejected the appeal by Julian Assange challenging the lower court’s issuance of a warrant for his arrest for questioning. The Court noted that investigators have begun efforts to question him at Ecuador’s Embassy in London and found “no reason to lift the arrest warrant.”

    Assange appeal rejected by Sweden’s supreme court, Guardian (May 11, 2015), http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/may/11/julian-assange-appeal-rejected-sweden-supreme-court; Sweden’s Supreme Court, The Supreme Court affirms the Court of Appeal decision on the continued detention of Julian Assange, (May 11, 2015), http://www.hogstadomstolen.se/Mer-om-Hogsta-domstolen/Nyheter-fran-Hogsta-domstolen/Hogsta-domstolen-faststaller-hovrattens-beslut-om-fortsatt-haktning-av-Julian-Assange/.

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