Friday, December 17, 2010

a few little thoughts on the Assange case

I haven't been following the Julian Assange case too closely, but of course I'm interested in it, with its issues of freedom of information, the exercise of power and the nature of diplomacy, as well as the other issues around sexual assault, the justice system and the likelihood of political interference. Since I've only heard bits and pieces about the assault issue, including claims that it was a borderline case, that it had already been dropped some months ago for lack of evidence, and that the Swedish judiciary have been behaving with a sudden unwonted heavy-handedness, I thought that I might try to get my head around what's been going on, for my own sake. For the fact is that it's, dare I say, fun like a thriller, but of course with a great deal more reality in terms of weight and repercussions.
However, I don't think I will write extensively on it, as so many others are doing so, people better qualified than myself. This brief piece at three quarks captures some of my concerns though.
Questions arise. Since the assault case was dropped for lack of evidence last August [the day after the charge was issued], is there new evidence in this new charge? Charge or charges? If there are are no new charges, how can the case be reopened? What exactly are the charges? Why is this case so obviously being treated differently from other sexual assault cases? I happen to have some familiarity with such charges and accusations. A person accused of sexual assault - and he hadn't even been charged, he was merely taken into custody at the request of Swedish authorities - would not normally be placed in solitary confinement while in custody. Whatever for? It's the sort of treatment you'd expect to be meted out to someone suspected of espionage or something.

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