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Britain bungles Assange asylum bid

The latest chapter in the Assange case is a misstep on the part of the British. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

So things have once again hotted up in the continuing story of Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy.

In a fiery press conference in Quito, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño claimed that Britain had threatened to “storm” its embassy in order to get hold of Assange and fulfil its obligation under a European Arrest Warrant to extradite him to Sweden. This “threat” was contained in an aide memoire in which the UK informed Ecuador that under its domestic law, namely the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987, it could revoke Ecuador’s embassy status. Such a move would then presumably remove its inviolability under the law of diplomatic protection, enabling the British police to enter in order to seize Assange.

The British Act was amended in 1987 in light of two incidents in which major crimes were committed under the shield or attempted shield of diplomatic immunity. In April 1984, British policewoman Yvonne Fletcher was killed by shots fired at protesters from inside the Libyan embassy. Though British police laid siege to the embassy for eleven days, they did not enter, and the matter was eventually resolved by all Libyan diplomats being expelled and diplomatic relations severed. No one has yet been arrested for Fletcher’s murder.

In July 1984, Nigerian authorities, assisted by Israeli agents, attempted to kidnap one Umaru Dikko, a former Nigerian government minister living in the UK, by drugging him and smuggling him out of the country in a diplomatic bag. The plot failed as the crate in which Dikko was stashed did not have the appropriate diplomatic markings, so police could open it.

The aide memoire indicates that British authorities believe that the Assange affair is serious enough to give rise to the possibility of revoking Ecuador’s embassy status under its amended law. Yet the behaviour of Ecuadorian embassy staff hardly compares to the homicidal behaviour of someone inside the Libyan embassy in 1984, or the subterfuge and complicity in an attempted kidnapping by Nigerian diplomats in the Dikko incident. Furthermore, we must remember that Assange has not been charged with any offence anywhere, apart from skipping bail in the UK by launching his asylum bid in June. Furthermore, Ecuador is no more responsible for Assange seeking asylum in its embassy than the US was responsible for Chen Guangcheng’s decision to seek refuge at the US embassy in China in May.

The revocation of Ecuador’s embassy status, followed by the entry of police to seize Assange, might be legal under British law. But it seems very unlikely that it is legal under international law, namely the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961. At best, it is an open question.

Indeed, given the highly dubious legality of the “threatened” British action, it is wrong for our Attorney General, Nicola Roxon, to once again timidly claim that there is little Australia can do to help its own citizen. Australia should at least make it very clear to the UK that it would be unacceptable for it to take unprecedented action and perpetrate a likely breach of international law in order to seize our citizen.

I seriously doubt the UK government ever intended to escalate matters to this extent. Does the UK really want to jeopardise its relations with Ecuador, and probably all of South America and much of the developing world, by “storming” an embassy? Does it really want to set a precedent which might endanger its own embassies in many countries in the world? Does it really want to commit a likely violation of international law?

The actual chances of Assange escaping extradition to Sweden are small. Ecuador may well grant him asylum (it has stated that it will announce its decision at 10pm AEST) but it is now quite clear that the UK will not facilitate safe passage out of the country. No breach of international law arises if the UK arrests him once he finally stepped outside the embassy’s environs.

The aide memoire may have been meant more as a clarification of UK law than an actual threat to use that law. But then again, why was it stated at all? It is a major bungle on the part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as it has unnecessarily antagonised Ecuador and revealed to the world a somewhat cavalier stance on the inviolability of embassy premises. It is another instance of bizarre behaviour by a country in relation to Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

POSTSCRIPT: Ecuador has granted political asylum to Assange. The UK refuses to grant safe passage out of the country, and remains committed to executing the European Arrest Warrant. So the diplomatic standoff continues.

Join the conversation

102 Comments sorted by

  1. Douglas Guilfoyle

    logged in via Twitter

    Great summary. I had not appreciated that Assange had not been charged with anything. If he is extradited it will give a much wider scope to the European Arrest Warrant framework decision than I had appreciated. (Art 1: "The European arrest warrant is a judicial decision issued by a Member State with a view to the arrest and surrender by another Member State of a requested person, for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution ...")

    I see his lawyers have criticised the EAW request on the basis that his surrender has been sought merely for the purposes of questioning a suspect who has not yet been charged: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14120464. Eye-opening.

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    1. Marilyn Shepherd

      pensioner

      In reply to Sarah Joseph

      They know very well he has not been charged with a single thing.. The notion that any country can extradite the national of another country to a third country just to answer questions that have been answered about 3 billion times publically is ridiculous.

      I love our pontius parliament though - can hear the hand washing all the way out in the Barossa Valley.

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    2. Jonathan Maddox
      Jonathan Maddox is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Engineer

      In reply to Marilyn Shepherd

      There is no possibility of Assange being charged before his arrest in Sweden, the law just doesn't work that way in that country. And he has not yet been arrested in Sweden. Therefore the warrant is for his arrest on suspicion of a crime, which is necessary and sufficient for execution of the EAW. The absence of a "charge" is all but irrelevant.

      www.newstatesman.com/blogs/david-allen-green/2012/08/legal-myths-about-assange-extradition

      Extraditions of nationals of one country, from a second…

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  2. Anthony Nolan

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    My understanding of Ricardo Patino's statement, just ceased, is that Ecuador takes the view that the UK, Sweden and the US have just about torn up the international human rights rule book and totally trashed any possibility of a diplomatic resolution. Bravo Ecuador!

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    1. William Bruce

      Artist

      In reply to John Phillip

      Hello Ol;d Grumpy. In fact in this case, they certainly are.

      Me Gran might say..."Have you ever hear anything like it in your life"...

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  3. Kate Rowan-Robinson

    Registered Nurse/Sexology Student

    Great result today. The UKs course of action is baffling and Ecuador have every right to be outraged. Having watched the scene unfold by live streaming since 2am London time up until now, I often wondered why it was so necessary for such force.

    I shall echo Anthony Nolan and congratulate Ecuador on a good and brave decision. There's still hope for a free press and transparancy.

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  4. Kim Jong Deux

    logged in via Twitter

    I don't believe the revocation of the status of the Ecuadorian Embassy would be legal under British law - I think the British threat (which makes me thoroughly ashamed to be British) is bluster. I compare it to a policeman telling a member of the public not to photograph him beating someone in the street. Both parties know it's legal to film the policeman, but the latter hopes to intimidate the photographer. You can't do that to a country!
    First, international law would take precedence;
    Second, the British law in question only allows the revocation of diplomatic status if that is consistent with international law. In this case it would not be.

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    1. Rich DRich

      Analyst

      In reply to Sarah Joseph

      IANABL, but I think that should they give notice under the Diplomatic Premises Act, that would be subject to judicial review on the grounds that the Minister erred in certifying that the revocation is consistent with international law. That would, I suspect, wind up at the UK Supreme Court, if not Strasbourg.

      An interesting point is that if the UK snatched Assange without resolving this point, the legality of this could be challenged. If they did not have the legal right to arrest him, then it becomes abduction/false arrest. What I don't know is whether UK law allows an abducted person to be prosecuted/extradited?
      (I can't find a case when this has ever happened, certainly since the era of (Johnny Depp type) pirates).

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    2. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Sarah Joseph

      Sarah, how on earth is England incapable of acting against an abuse (or perceived abuse) of diplomatic protocol by an ostensibly friendly government?

      How does International law "PREVENT" a sovereign nation engaging in diplomacy, or withdrawing diplomatic status, as and when it sees fit?

      What, the EU is going to impose sanctions on England? Spain and Italy are going to refuse to allow the English to bail them out? Or is it illegal like traveling over half the planet with a massive fleet to liberate the Falkland Islands? Perhaps, illegal like the sinking of the General Belgrano? I think you might find that pushed to extremes, Her Majesty's government will do as it pleases and damn the torpedoes.

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  5. Dalit Prawasi

    Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

    Now at least if the British let him go, one day he may be able to arrive here from Ecuador on a boat or a plane without docs and seek asylum or refuge. But then will he be granted PPPPPPRRRR?. This has to be seen with other similar events. The Chinese dissidents or is it a tax evader seeks asylum in US Embassy Commos let him go. When a new Australian from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) Mr Mudalige, alias Kumar alias Gunanam, alias this and that overstays in Sri Lanka, the Australian High Commissioner pulls out his passport from her hand bag. The Greens (socialists after a green vinyl paint bath) go crying (our cry baby Hon. Sara) for him. ABC goes on bleating for ever for his return to Australia. Shame on us for not protecting one of our own sons from his fear.

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  6. David Arthur

    resistance gnome

    I have heard that the Swedes have rejected offers to interview Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy while under Ecuadorian protection. What's their problem with that?

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    1. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to David Arthur

      What happens if they find there is sufficient evidence to say there is a case to answer? They cannot arrest him and try him and they certainly cannot jail him unless he is in Sweden, no?

      Same deal with Roman Polanski in England and Ronald Biggs in Brazil.

      One very interesting thing about this is the credulous belief extended on behalf of Mr Assange by some very prominent people, very intelligent people and even feminists. Even more bizarre is the willingness of those people to automatically dismiss the allegations made against him and to disbelieve the 'victims' of sexual abuse. Extremely out of character for most I would suspect.

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    2. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      Aaron Troy Small:

      If, after interview of Assange by the Swedish in the UK, the Swedish prosecutors determine that there are grounds for charges to be laid ,then they issue an arrest warrant on the basis of those charges. It's called due process. Then they seek to extradite him for hearing.

      No-one has automatically dismissed the allegations that have been made. Like many others I've read as widely and as deeply as is possible on the matter of Swedish law and sexual etiquette and have formed the view that the only grounds for grievance that the complainants have is that Assange is uncouth. An uncouth lover is an undesirable and unattractive person who should be put out with the garbage or left in the carpark. I'm sure you'll understand what I'm talking about.

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  7. Chris Booker

    Research scientist

    Interesting also that Ricardo Patiño specifically mentioned that Australia had offered him little in the way of legal assistance or protection against further extradition, and that the lack of assistance from his own country was a factor the Ecuadorian authorities considered when assessing his request for asylum.

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    1. William Bruce

      Artist

      In reply to Chris Booker

      "Interesting also that Ricardo Patiño specifically mentioned that Australia had offered him little in the way of legal assistance or protection against further extradition...."

      So either Patino or Bob Carr is lying....who does one believe?

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  8. Anthony Nolan

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    The bizarre behaviour applies to Australia as well. Australian diplomatic and political complicity in persecuting Assange, including apparently a preparedness to see him held by the US in similar conditions to those imposed on Bradley Manning (ie, tortured by isolation and the humiliation of being kept naked for long periods), sends a very chilling message to dissidents and those Australians who think that freedom of speech is not curtailed by privilege.

    It is impossible to underestimate the fury…

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  9. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first drive mad.

    Seems that at least one deity has got it in for David Cameron. What sort of public school bullying was going on there?

    The Ecuadorian foreign minister's statement - which read increasingly like the opening address in a European Court - catalogued an extraordinary list of skullduggery and too-smart-by-half shenanigans ... none the least the refusals by the Brits, the Swedes and finally the Yanks to offer the Ecuadorians the simple assurances of due process and human rights they requested.

    What a great little place to have such political leadership and courage - must keep my eye on them.

    If only we could have a bit of that here instead of the gutless fawning callow forelock-tugging our local politicians have demonstrated.

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  10. Patrick Stokes

    Lecturer in Philosophy at Deakin University

    This may be an utterly ridiculous question - in fact I'm quite willing to bet it is - but a) if the box Dikko was held in in 1984 had been given the proper diplomatic markings, would the UK have been obliged to let it continue unimpeded out of the country and on to Nigeria? And if the answer to a) is 'yes', does that mean all the Ecuadorians have to do is put Assange in a suitably-marked container and carry him out of the embassy to a waiting plane? Can you, in effect, smuggle a human in a 'diplomatic bag'?

    Apologies if this seems asinine; I guess I'm mostly just wondering whether the Dikko abduction would have succeeded even if it had been detected but if the boxes had been properly marked. And the 'safe passage' question seems increasingly urgent given recent developments.

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  11. Dianna Arthur

    Environmentalist

    The cast of Spooks would have this mess sorted out in time for afternoon tea (or a scotch or 2).

    Have to agree the behaviour of Britain, Sweden, America and Australia (in no particular order) is very, very odd. There is something going on that has yet to give a hint of its existence.

    Well, its either that or all the governments of the above mentioned are completely barking mad.

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    1. Patrick Stokes

      Lecturer in Philosophy at Deakin University

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      "There is something going on that has yet to give a hint of its existence. Well, its either that or all the governments of the above mentioned are completely barking mad." - Can't it be both? :)

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  12. Aaron Troy Small

    Student

    Does the UK have any real alternative?

    Mr Assange has had his day in Court in the UK with regard to the extradition to Sweden, he exhausted his avenues of appeal and was on bail awaiting extradition (ie. the culmination of criminal process as far as the UK is concerned).

    He proceeds to jump bail and enter the embassy of a third Country in order to avoid execution of UK law. That Country, seeing some advantage proceeds to grant asylum.

    So any criminal that dislikes the outcome of the criminal…

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    1. Sarah Joseph
      Sarah Joseph is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      Britain does have an alternative, which is to wait for him to leave the Ecuadorian embassy.

      I don't share your concerns that people will use this to commonly seek asylum in embassies. Not everyone wants to live in an embassy for months or years on end. Not everyone will be granted asylum (I have no reason to think Assange paid money for this). Few cases will confer an "advantage" as you put it. This case is highly unusual.

      If the UK takes steps to enter the embassy, it will probably find that…

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    2. William Bruce

      Artist

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      Aaron says:- "As for Assange himself, he is an unprincipled charlatan."

      With respect Aaron, have you considered this matter might not be about sex at all and might really be about "politically discrediting" and "getting" Assange for exposing crimes?

      And, that at least one of the Girls might be benefiting by setting Assange up?

      And that Assange might be really trying to prevent unnecessary future wars which some, perhaps profiteers, don't want?

      It's Political....

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    3. Sarah Joseph
      Sarah Joseph is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University

      In reply to John Phillip

      My point is that Britsh diplomats would be upset at their own government taking what seems to be a cavalier approach to the inviolability of embassies. As it's likely to backfire on them. (it is already as they'll all be being grilled about it in South America).

      I think they care much more for that principle than any grudge they hold against Assange.

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    4. Sarah Joseph
      Sarah Joseph is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University

      In reply to John Phillip

      I'm being careful. The UK said it could revoke the embassy's status as an embassy. If it did that, it wouldn't be an embassy and therefore would have no diplomatic immunity.

      Such a situation is unprecedented. I strongly suspect it would breach IL but can't be sure due to lack of a precedent.

      This law was apparently used in 1988 to evict squatters from the Cambodian embassy in London. I don't know enough about that instance, but it sounds like the embassy wasn't really being used as an embassy. In which case, a very different situation to this one. I'm not aware that Cambodia complained.

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    5. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Sarah Joseph

      Sarah, thanks for the reply above. I just think that the view of many respondents appears to be that this is just a big 'get-square' with Assange for his activities and forms part of some clandestine intergovernmental conspiracy to do ill to the man. Really, if the Yanks ('cause they are cast as the Great Evil in this saga) wanted to 'get him' surely they'd quietly bump him off? Maybe the truth is that Julian's been a bit of a naughty boy and has used his wealth and power to avoid accountability…

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    6. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      Curious isn't it the way these characters have Assange pegged as a criminal? He is wanted for "questioning" by Swedish prosecutors. He has offered on many occasions to be questioned in England and in the Ecuadorian Embassy. The Swedes have refused to do this.

      Neither Sweden, nor the UK, nor the US will give any undertaking that Assange will be accorded his legal rights - that is that he will not be extradited to the US to face trail on an as yet unreleased charge.

      I don't know why we bother trying to explain stuff to these sort of characters or present them with facts - they just make stuff up to suit.

      Modern witch-hunting.

      Imagine having contempt for the UK's legal processes!!! Only those with a very selective memory would not. Too many Irish "terrorists" imprisoned illegally ... or don't they count either?

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    7. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Sarah Joseph

      Have you any examples of when British diplomats deliberately abused their diplomatic standing to ridicule the host nation? Presumably they are very careful not to do so, as most nations would be only too quick to take offence.

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    8. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to William Bruce

      So let's simply disbelieve the victims entirely and not allow the matter to be subjected to judicial scrutiny? I mean, sex offenders would never manipulate public opinion or deny their crimes, would they? I tell you what, go to the nearest prison and talk to a few of them, I bet money that they will deny any wrong doing and insist they were set up.

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    9. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mr Roman Polanski can also be called a criminal (based upon an English Court of Appeal judgment) without defaming him, until he actually travels to the USA and clears up the outstanding matter. Assange is in the same boat, if people want to call him a criminal they can, quite legally.

      Doesn't it seem strange to anyone else that someone who is so proud of his reputation and international standing would 'allow' the question to remain unanswered? I personally think the USA should give a binding undertaking not to extradite him from Sweden unless he is found guilty of sexual assault.

      It is past time for Julian Assange to put up or shut up in my honest opinion. I think those who seek to punish him for other acts should first let him have the opportunity to clear this matter up (I honestly doubt he'd appreciate it though).

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    10. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      No Mr Small, Polanski had been charged with an offence and skipped. He refused to talk to police or to return. Assange has not been charged with anything at all and is wanted for questioning, prior to the prosecuitors determining if a crime has actually been committed. He has offered to be questioned on several occasions. Swedish authorities have refused this. They do not simply want to question him - they want him back in Sweden. They refuse to explain why.

      Now as a recent law grad I would expect you to understand the difference here. I would have thought your previous experiences in the NT might have suggested a more suitable career path myself.

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    11. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yet they both have fugitive warrants out on them, no? Both for sexual assault? My previous experiences in the NT include standing up for the NAP when not a single lawyer in the NT would touch them, bouncing the CJ in Court when he tried to ignore Coleman v Powell, etc. It also included being made to look like a prick for taking action v police when they decided to ignore the presumption of innocence.

      I've also spent 20+ years working for native title (voluntary), gone into a burning building three times and carried someone out just before the roof caved in and worked my ass off for other people.

      When you've done ANY of that, you just let me know.

      Weak gutless little troll

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    12. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Also, understand due to those events, the aggravated assaults at Gregory Downs (in which I saved two Aboriginal elders from being beaten to death, then arrested the Aboriginal person doing it, providing first aid to the elders and protecting him from drunk tradies for 7 hours, 3 March, 2000) and the fire at the Mud Hut Hotel (Escaping with smoke inhalation, barefoot, minutes before the roof caved in on May 29, 2000) I suffer PTSD. That is what happened on that day in Alice Springs and I wasn't attempting…

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    13. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      In fact, and I hope you'll appreciate the irony hear, when the US went after Polanski because he had been convicted but skipped the country prior to sentencing, you'll recall that the victim of his assault, residing in Hawaii, stated that it was all in the past and she wished not to engage with the matter any more. You'll recall at the time that there was some controversy around whether or nt Polanski ought to return for sentencing and quite a few European and other cultural producers (writers, film…

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    14. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I didn't punch a woman over a rubbish bin. You graduated, really?

      I punched a woman a week earlier when she threatened my fiance in the same carpark, that is what I said and what I repeated under oath. Am I proud of it, no. Did I attempt to deny it or change my story in Court? No.

      Did I get charged? No? Whyever not? Because I was merely trying to avoid things escalating beyond where I had the ability to stop it? Must be, no?

      What I did do was lose my job because I was trying to avoid a…

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    15. Sarah Joseph
      Sarah Joseph is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      Once the sanctity of an embassy is broken, for whatever reason, I believe that that precedent would be used by other countries to break that same sanctity.

      By definition, every claim of asylum in an embassy is a rebuke to the host State. No host State appreciates it if asylum is then granted. Every host State would be tempted to say that the grant of asylum is ridiculing it. Do you seriously think China would ever openly admit that Chen Guangcheng's asylum claim was valid? No, they'd probably much rather say he was a criminal trying to escape justice.

      Indeed, the British precedent could be followed by other States as a matter of course for every such asylum claim. As otherwise it'd be interpreted as a concession that the asylum claim is valid - a State condemning itself!

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    16. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      http://www.supremecourt.nt.gov.au/archive/doc/judgements/2006/ntsc/20061215ntsc97.html

      Classic - can't argue, so attempt to castigate, denigrate, demonise or marginalise anyone who hands you your arse.

      Now, also be aware, I can say whatever I like about the current Chief-Justice of the NTSC, in order to take action against me, he'd have to go to the FCA and the entirety of the matter would be reviewed.

      As for reinvent, I don't have to invent a fucking thing Peter and have too much self-respect to bother. When you grow a set, contact me and we'll arrange a meeting.

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    17. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      Mr Small,

      The other day on this site in a discussion of asylum seekers you posted a rabid, racist eugenicist tirade about the weak, sick and stupid who are genetically inferior and deserving of their fate. Your disgusting rant could have been torn straight from the pages of Völkischer Beobachter.

      So I decided to find out who I was talking to as I often do. And it does not make pretty reading Aaron. Don't push your luck.

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    18. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      HAHAHAHA, you decided to take that seriously and then try and tie it into asylum seekers? What a fucking joke, I was poking fun at your statement immediately above it and stating that in my opinion it wasn't bicycle helmets but negligence that had screwed up evolution, by removing the natural disincentive for doing stupid things.

      As for pushing my luck, the entirety of the judgment is linked to the post above. Go your hardest boyo, I intend to.

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    19. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      Aaron, read this link:

      http://rixstep.com/1/20101119,02.shtml

      It is an account of how Nye, the Swedish prosecutor, evades answering whether or not she had declined offers by Assange for interview.

      And this:

      http://rixstep.com/1/20110130,01.shtml

      It is a transcript, a record of Assange's initial interview about the matter of Anna Ardin and the dreaded condom controversy.

      And this:

      http://rixstep.com/1/20110131,00.shtml

      Which is the unsigned record of interview by Sofia Wilen, one of the complainants.

      At best Assange is uncouth, like I said above. For this he has been under house arrest for 620 days in total. There is no proportionality in this or your insistence that if he is not guilty then he has nothing to be worried about. I don't think even Dreyfus thought like that.

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    20. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      I believe the Swedish laws are based upon the proposition that consent is vitiated by the non-performance of a condition precedent, ie. no condom when a condom has been agreed to removes the consent from the rest of the act.

      As the police transcript suggests the woman is saying he deliberately destroyed the condom (ie. not accidentally, not inadvertently, but deliberately), then that is what must be proved. If there is proof that he deliberately destroyed the condom, then he should fear going to Sweden, if there isn't, why the kerfuffle?

      As for proportionality, rape is rape, if he did it he deserves to pay for it, or explain it, either way he does deserve his day in Court. The longer he tries to hide from it the more people are going to question his reasons for so doing. For the USA, the simplest thing is to make a binding agreement NOT to seek extradition unless the case is proved, thereby removing his soapbox unless he goes there and faces the accusation.

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    21. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      What sort of proof might there be to substantiate the allegation that Assange deliberately 'destroyed' the condom in question?

      The law is rich with theories and statements as to proportionality. He's had a long time under house arrest without a charge being laid, has repeatedly offered to be interviewed but not on Swedish soil because he fears extradition to the US to face Grand Jury charges some of which may carry the death penalty.

      His unwillingness to return to Sweden, I suggest, has…

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    22. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Moreover, from the transcript of interview between Mattas Gehlin (MG), police interrogator and Assange:

      "MG: The accusation is the condom, a condom, was damaged after the act and Anna is of the opinion that at one point when you withdraw your penis there was a sound like you first removed the condom but when you entered her again she reached down and felt and she could feel you still had the condom on. Then you ejaculated and she feels amongst other things that she has semen in her. And she looks…

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    23. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      If there is a valid explanation, under the Swedish (like many European systems), it is up to him to provide it. It is uniquely within his knowledge, no-one else's and if the accusation is accepted as is, then it will be up to him.

      As for the allegation made in the transcript, the original question is whether he removed it during intercourse.

      Like I say, if the USA has the wit to make an arrangement like the one suggested above, I suspect Mr Assange would have nowhere to go.

      As for fear of execution, I strongly doubt Mr Assange has any reason to fear execution, yes, he was in charge of publishing an awful lot of information, but he didn't access it and didn't engage in accessing it, he merely published it. I do suspect a medium length prison sentence in one of the less enjoyable jails would be his for the asking though.

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    24. William Bruce

      Artist

      In reply to Sarah Joseph

      I don't know how you now this?
      What about Dr Kelly then?
      Might have been a VERY convenient accident or VERY convenient suicide?

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    25. William Bruce

      Artist

      In reply to John Phillip

      John, Thankyou however I note again, it seems clear:-

      He HAS been interviewed by Police and the matter was dropped by them.
      Even days after "the incidents" when the Girls spoke to police they did NOT want any action taken by Police MERELY an STD test.

      The matter was RE-Opened by and after political intervention.
      I repeat ...."The matter was RE-Opened after political intervention."

      Assange has always been virtually TOTALLY co-operative with Swedish Police...
      Due to some US OPEN THREATS…

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    26. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Sarah Joseph

      Ok, I see he's listed as having a net worth of $1.3million - certainly not rich rich. Perhaps I should have been more articulate and said that he is using his fame and position as a 'robin-hood' (not quite the exact metaphor) type who has cultivated an image of having the best interests of the 'world' at heart to avoid answering the questions of a legitimate and recognised legal system. I think that the responses on this page alone would indicate that Mr Assange holds more power than most.

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    27. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      Riiight:

      "As for fear of execution, I strongly doubt Mr Assange has any reason to fear execution..."

      I'll pass on your reassurances.

      While he's feeling warm and fuzzy because you reckon he's safe give some time to considering what he's done ... which is expose the absolute criminality of the Iraq war, in which Australia participated on the basis of a lie about Hussein having weapons of mass destruction. This makes him the 21st century's first major peace activist and, thanks to his astonishing technical competence and anarchist competence at (dis)-organisation, totally unstoppable. As an old activist I lifts me hat to the boy.

      I've noticed over the years a lot of jealousy about Assange from those who reckon that they're lefties. You sure you're not just a tad ... jealous? All that attention; all those women; all that cred ... and none of it coming your way.

      "

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    28. William Bruce

      Artist

      In reply to Sarah Joseph

      Sarah, Sarah, Sarah...with all due respect....
      Ok, it is "unlikely"...but would YOU want to take the risk bearing in mind what they HAVE done over past 10 or so years?

      You of all, might consider that they don't always play by the rules...

      You must suspect the whole thing is fishy?

      He might be extradited for one thing and THEN something else pops up..."some NEW evidence"...who the hell knows?

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    29. William Bruce

      Artist

      In reply to Sarah Joseph

      Sarah, I did some clicking re Dr Kelly...Worth the read from Murray Ex UK Ambassador.
      ----------------------
      http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/01/david_kellys_mu/
      ---------------------
      David Kelly’s Murder by craig on January 24, 2010 5:44 pm in War in Iraq

      The Iraq Inquiry has taken us back again to that period where the government had engaged in a massive military build up ready to invade Iraq, and was desperately looking for evidence on WMD to trigger the invasion – an invasion…

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    30. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Credibility? Really? If he wanted credibility he'd be prepared to stand up for what he has admittedly done. Or he'd do something, anything, to try and help PFC Manning, or he'd have never published the bulk cables identifying people in some of the most dangerous Countries on earth, because the truth is too important. Well yes Julian, the truth is more important than any one person, go to Sweden, tell the truth and justice can and will be done. If he ends up in the USA, then he has the opportunity to say what he believes needs to be said and gain enormous credibility.

      I personally believe we can all say and do as we please, but we gain no credibility or honour unless we are prepared to stand behind what we say and pay for it. While ever he continues to act like a craven coward, cringing, hiding and paying lip service to people who treat the human rights of others as a joke, he gains no credibility except with gullible fools.

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    31. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      "Innocent until proven guilty" just isn't in your lexicon, is it?

      Sweden has had ample opportunity to establish Assange's innocence or guilt, while he was still in Sweden and again while still on bail on British turf.

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    32. Chris Booker

      Research scientist

      In reply to William Bruce

      I think this is actually a really key point and provides the backdrop against which this Assange saga is playing out:

      Iraq - The US, with the UK as key partners, launched an illegal war, and there is substantial evidence to suggest they were well aware there were no WMDs and thus misled the public of both countries (and the rest of the world) to justify an invasion.

      Guantanamo - where do start? Extraordinary rendition, torture, creating new legal definitions such as 'illegal enemy combatant…

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    33. William Bruce

      Artist

      In reply to Chris Booker

      Chris,
      Well said indeed. Thanks for the reminders...WE have seen the infrastructure of kleptocracy/totalitarianism set up before our eyes in the name of "Democracy".

      Also I think THERE HAVE BEEN OPEN THREATS ON ASSANGES LIFE by a US Congressman & some Media toadies....

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    34. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to John Phillip

      I have stated nothing that has not been given airing by others far more qualified than I. The opportunities to question Assange have been squandered by the Swedish legal authorities.

      Whereas, you are the one who has judged Assange and found him guilty.

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    35. Dalit Prawasi

      Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

      In reply to Sarah Joseph

      Death could be imposed through other means, like Heywood in China or Cesium on UK.

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    36. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Dianna, as to Assanges innocence/guilt re the sexual assault charges - I don't know if he's guilty or not. That's why he needs to cede to the Swedish extradition and go here to answer them. I do know that he has skipped bail in the UK. Whether or not this constitutes a crime i also don't know. I do know that he has published stolen confidential military and intelligence information. Whether or not this is a crime, I also don't know. I DO hope that the US seek his extradition and charge him in an open court and in that way we all will know if he is guilty and if so , of what he is guilty.
      True, I , like you, have a particular position or belief in this regard but we can argue about which of us is correct in those beliefs until the cows come home. Until he is charged and then goes to court all of our beliefs are just that.

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    37. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to John Phillip

      Sigh

      Assange was in Sweden - they let him go.

      Sexual assault? No charges have been made, the Swedes just want further talk, this can be done in Britain.

      And we have discussed at length Assange's legitimate concerns for returning to Sweden. As you said "till the cows come home."

      And this?

      "I DO hope that the US seek his extradition and charge him in an open court and in that way we all will know if he is guilty and if so , of what he is guilty."

      Assange will be treated like Manning or Hicks before him. And, again like the Swedes, the USA have not made any charges at all - so why are you asking for a trial - bit pre-emptive aren't you?

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    38. John Phillip
      John Phillip is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Grumpy Old Man

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Presumptive - not at all. I was expressing my personal opinion. We know the guy published the stuff. I think that he was wrong to do so and should be held accountable. You clearly hold an opposing viewpoint. I certainly hope that Julian is not treated in the manner of Manning or Hicks.
      If the US hasn't made any charges against him what the hell is the problem. He goes to Sweden. Answers the questions and then either faces further legal action there, or is cleared and buggers off to wherever.

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    39. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to John Phillip

      "I certainly hope that Julian is not treated in the manner of Manning or Hicks"

      You hope?

      How do you think Assange feels?

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    40. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Deeds not words count, full stop.

      I am more than a little amused by the frantic, shrill defence of this man

      Are you suggesting he didn't publish the material on wikileaks?

      He has been more than willing to accept the kudos and rewards from those actions, but he is unwilling to stand up and actually make a stand, when it looks like it might end up harming precious Julian. There is a truism, if you cannot do the time, don't do the crime that would seem to be on point.

      What amuses me is…

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    41. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Judging him and finding him guilty? Presumption of innocence? Sweden operates on the Continental system (the same one railed against by Dicey in Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution incidentally), the prosecutor is also the investigator and a junior judicial officer. The prosecutor decides whether or not to press charges, at which point they present the evidence to the benefit or detriment of both the accused and the accuser.

      One issue would be that having made the decision…

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    42. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      Ah those silly slackarse Swedes ... can't work out if a crime has actually been committed. But our own new lawyer Aaron here has got him bang to rights. Well it's just so obvious innit? And everyone is barking it, so let's all join in.

      He's not on the run - he was allowed to leave Sweden. Then they decided to reopen the investigation and want him back - for questioning. But they won't question him in England or in the Ecuadorian Embassy. They have applied for extradition without charge or…

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    43. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mr O

      How many explanations of Assange's situation do you think will be necessary for the charming Mr Small's understanding?

      The same number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin, I suspect.

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    44. Dianna Arthur

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I forgot that the angels require room to dance as well.....

      Thanks for link BTW

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    45. Aaron Troy Small

      Student

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Oh, am I a lawyer now? I thought you were the one that graduated from law school without the ability to read a case?

      Amnesty International, 'So That Noone Can Demand Anything: Criminalizing he Right to Protest in Ecuador' (2012) Amnesty International Report on Ecuador <http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR28/002/2012/en/0861616e-16e7-47a8-9c05-db5661e4fa6d/amr280022012en.pdf>;

      Maybe you can read that and explain to me how this clown is anything other than a fraud?

      As for our stalking troll, now it is merely personal attacks without the rest of the vitriol? Guess that means you took your best shot at the stab-in-the-back routine and got routed huh? Couldn't find anything else, despite your threats? Poor diddums...

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    46. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      No you are correct Mr Small - I assumed - obviously wrongly - that you had completed the law course you began when you were taking on the dark forces of the state up in the Northern Territory.

      Here's the judgement in the case brought by yourself against Constable Mahony in the NT Supreme Court http://www.supremecourt.nt.gov.au/archive/doc/judgements/2006/ntsc/20061215ntsc97.html Pars 14, 15, 17 and 27 are of interest.

      It appears your understanding of the law has deteriorated even further than was evident in that matter and your conduct in the court. And you've jumped sides.

      Not stalking you Mr Small - just like to know who I am talking to - especially one who has made such an interesting collection of admissions.

      Hope the anger problems are under control now. But I seriously have my doubts.

      Incidentally my mates at the CLC have never heard of you - or won't admit it.

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    47. Patrick Stokes

      Lecturer in Philosophy at Deakin University

      In reply to Aaron Troy Small

      Let's say, purely for the sake of argument, that all of the following is true: Julian Assange is a self-serving opportunistic narcissist who will say or do anything in the furtherance of his own ends, and that he's guilty of the offenses Sweden want to question him about. Let's also say that WikiLeaks needs a far better process for making sure its disclosures don't cause harm to innocent parties, and that a cavalier attitude to redactions put lives at risk. Hell, let's further stipulate that on weekends…

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    48. Patrick Stokes

      Lecturer in Philosophy at Deakin University

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yes, it's time his appalling seal abuse was exposed. When Julian Assange invites you to 'go clubbing' it doesn't mean what you might think.

      (Thanks folks, I'm here all week. Try the veal).

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  13. William Bruce

    Artist

    I just posted this re another Conversation article & repost because I really, REALLY like this Human Rights stuff...

    The matter has nothing to do sex...or "legal process".

    Seems Wikileaks has, along with others for years now, highlighted the most serious war crimes by people in high places.....and they want, moreover NEED, to silence the exposure of them by Wikileaks' "EVIDENCE", and,... they are seriously out stop Wikileaks, discredit and GET Assange ....They don't want to end up in the dock…

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    1. William Bruce

      Artist

      In reply to Sarah Joseph

      Sorry Sarah....I was referring to omissions in The Klein Conversion article.
      Keep up the great work!!

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  14. Jeremy Dawson

    academic

    It seems the relevant law about diplomatic immunities is at

    http://www.bailii.org/uk/legis/num_act/1964/ukpga_19640081_en.html

    Would this be right?

    Article 27 of the cited convention (esp para 5) - about diplomatic couriers: could he be sent to Ecuador as an ad hoc (see para 6) diplomatic courier?

    Article 22 para 3 talks about the "means of transport" of the mission - does this mean, eg a car? Could he be simply driven onto a car ferry?

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  15. Dalit Prawasi

    Auditor, Accountant, Trade Teacher

    When drug dealers are imprisined or on the death row our Foreign ministers goes flying seeking pardon. Some on the death row are offspring of rouge refugees who have arrived here claiming asylum.If Assange had any criminality our politicians would have been following him even before he got in to trouble.
    Sweden wants him for questioning for rape related issue, not for forensic or medical issues arising of rape. If it is they would have wanted him to examine his genitalia and other body parts for being raped or being a rapist. US, UK or Sweden has not given us an Undertaking that he will not be convicted, tried, questioned or examined in relation to any other matters.
    Some times I wonder how many of us benefit from the drug trade and Human Rights related businesses.

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