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Professor Mads Andenæs: "Assange is exposed to several human rights violations"

John Y. Jones
John Y. Jones
Cand. Philol, freelance journalist affiliated with MODERN TIMES
WEBINAR / Oxford professor Liora Lazarus recalled the situation for Julian Assange. "Human rights are not for the flawless, but for all."


[A BETTER TRANSLATION WILL APPEAR SOON!]. Liora Lazarus participated in a webinar 5.2. together with i.a. the Norwegian lawyers Mads Andenæs and Eva Joly. It emerged in the webinar that there are several violations of Assange's human rights: there are violations of the law on freedom of expression, freedom from torture, arbitrary deprivation of liberty and freedom of movement.

"When Judge Baraitser believes that Julian 'could leave the embassy' at any time 'where he sat for seven years, she is wrong," Andenæs stated. He referred to the widow of peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo who was prevented from leaving his home for eight years. Dozens of threatening civilians surrounded Liu Xia, 59, as soon as she set foot outside her house. Formally, she could move freely, but in practice she was prevented: "It was a form of punishment with deprivation of liberty", Andenæs thought. The UN has blamed Liu Xia's situation on China. [Liu Xia was allowed to leave China to receive medical treatment in Germany in 2018, following an extensive support campaign, editor's note]

Illegal deprivation of liberty

On 5 July 2015, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UN-WGAD) stated that Julian Assange had been subjected to unacceptable and illegal detention by the British and Swedish authorities. Professor Mads Andenæs had led the work and thought Assange was exposed to something similar to Xiaobo's widow. Later, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, also concluded that Assange had been treated illegally, in a way that led Assange to show the same symptoms as torturers.

Assange's fears were justified

South Americans have a long tradition of respecting the right to asylum at embassies. It was therefore not unnatural for Assange to seek refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy on 19 April 2012. His reasoning was to prevent him from being extradited to Sweden with the risk of being extradited to the United States. British and Swedish authorities, the press and politicians ridiculed this as "conspiracy theories".

"When Judge Baraitser believes that Julian 'could leave the embassy' at any time 'where he sat for seven years, she is wrong." Andenæs

Seven years later, on April 11, 2019, at the same time as British police arrested Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy, ​​British authorities from the United States received a request for extradition. And Sweden was urged by the British not to withdraw their extradition declaration. It turned out that Assange's fears were well-founded.

Eva Joly was especially upset about Marianne Ny at the Swedish prosecution, who blogged that she could not travel to London to interrogate Assange. He had to come to Sweden physically for questioning. Either Ny was unaware of ordinary European case law, or she blogged against knowing better, Joly thought. That Ny would not meet her about this either (Joly is a Member of the European Parliament and a lawyer), Joly interpreted as a confirmation that there was something underneath that could not stand the light of day. (See comment page 8.)

"In the Nordic countries, we believe that 'we are the good ones'," said Andenæs. "Human rights violations only happen in 'other countries'. And it is unfortunately almost impossible to get the Swedish authorities and leaders to take seriously that serious mistakes have been made against Julian Assange. "

Sweden's lack of respect for the UN

UN-WGAD are UN experts on deprivation of liberty. When the Swedish authorities ignore the working group, it is a sharp signal to the countries of the world about Sweden's lack of respect for the UN, the panel said.

The Setjulianfree campaign earlier this year criticized precisely that the Swedish authorities have arrogantly ignored the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. But many prominent Swedish personalities have gone against the flow and joined the campaign, among them Carl Tham, Sven Hirdman, Paulina Reyes and Hilda Hellwig.

British media are against extradition

The leader of the Non-Disclose-Assange campaign, John Rees, recalled that British newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and The Times have changed their minds and oppose the extradition of Assange to the United States. "This is ultimately what the trial against Assange is about, and therefore this change is particularly promising," Rees concluded.


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