CALL TO ACTION IN SUPPORT OF JULIAN ASSANGE

OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - COUNCIL OF EUROPE


Background information:
Following the ruling from the Royal Courts of Justice on 2
nd
November 2011 that ordered Julian Assange,
founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, be extradited to Sweden in regards to allegations of rape and
sexual molestation, we feel we, supporters of WikiLeaks, MUST act to gain more public attention for his legal
case.
We feel, in fact, that the current public climate, particularly affected by partial and biased media coverage of
the legal case, has not permitted an extensive and detailed discussion of the possible consequences of
sending Julian Assange to Sweden and, thanks to rendition agreements, to the United States of America to
face possible treason charges following the release of diplomatic cables by alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower
Bradley Manning.
We have selected a few international organisations that we feel might help, with their relevance and
reputation, in moving attention onto the irregularity of the current European Arrest Warrant (EAW), of which
Julian Assange's case has become a famous example.
More background information on the case and the court ruling can be found on
http://www.swedenversusassange.com.
The first we have selected was Fair TriaIs InternationaI. Their Call to Action letter can be found here
http://www.scribd.com/doc/71508473/CALL-to-ACTÌON-in-Support-of-Julian-Assange and on the Facebook
page Justice for Assange UK.
This letter/email is to be sent to Thomas Hammarberg at the CounciI of Europe, Office of the
Commissioner for Human Rights.
CaII to Action:
e wouId ask every supporter or generaI member of the pubIic concerned about the handIing of the
case to write a Ietter or an emaiI to CounciI of Europe, Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
to the contact we have seIected beIow. The text that follows is an idea of what you might want to say, but
you can add or amend to make it more relevant to you. Emails are welcome but we feel letters carry more
weight. With letters they might feel more compelled to act and take notice. Ìmagine if they started receiving
letter upon letter asking for the same thing! How it would even make a visual statement!
Please remember that this case might set a precedent for future prosecutions involving EAWs so our action
is needed, not only for Assange, but also for every other future case that might be affected by this one. Ìt is
for justice, human rights and the right of every individual to a fair trial.


Letter/EmaiI to send:
Thomas Hammarberg ÷ email: commissioner@coe.int
Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex
FRANCE

Dear Thomas Hammarberg,
On 15 March 2011 you released a statement criticising the overuse of the European Arrest Warrant in which
you directly referred to the extradition request made by Sweden against Julian Assange. Following the UK
High Court judgment last week that his extradition should go ahead, Ì am particularly concerned about the
use of pre-trial detention in Sweden and the impact this will have on Julian Assange's right to a fair trial.
Under Swedish law once a decision to indict has been reached ÷ which has not yet happened in this case ÷
for a person in pre-trial detention the trial must commence within two weeks. Ìt is only once formally indicted
that defendants receive the full prosecution case paperwork. This system creates a serious imbalance and
gives Mr Assange's defence lawyers two weeks to review a case file that the prosecution has compiled over
a full year and which may be hundreds of pages long ÷ a woefully inadequate timeframe to do the job
properly.
Mr Assange is even more disadvantaged because Sweden is not taking seriously its obligation to provide
defendants with the charges against them in a language they understand and to do so promptly at all stages,
as set out in Directive 2010/64/EC on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings
(especially Article 3, documents) and in Article 6 of the ECHR.
Ìn their ruling, the High Court judges relied heavily on the Svea Court of Appeal hearing of 24 November
2010 as providing the proper "judicial authority¨ oversight of this extradition request. The Svea Court
dismissed Julian's appeal against the issuing of the EAW. However, the Swedish prosecutor's failure to
make the evidence against him available in English in good time for that hearing severely hampered his
ability to make his case to the Svea Court. The UK judges' ruling therefore compounds a serious human
rights infringement.
Ìn your country visit report of 2007 you identified detention in isolation as a particular concern in Sweden and
concluded that not enough progress had been made to reform this practice (Recommendation 1). As he has
not yet been charged, pre-trial detention in Mr Assange's case is at the moment effectively indefinite if his
extradition goes ahead. The UK High Court judges have somehow ruled that this is acceptable. Ìt is not. The
Swedish prosecutor in this case, Marianne Ny, has been criticised for excessive use of incommunicado pre-
trial detention to 'soften up' those accused of sex crimes.
Ì am also concerned that, if Julian's extradition from the UK goes ahead, Sweden will use a temporary
surrender mechanism for onward transfer to the USA in order to circumvent the safeguards of a formal
extradition. See here for details: http://www.swedenversusassange.com/US-Extradition.html. Ìn your 2007
country visit report you also called on Sweden to stop relying on "diplomatic assurances¨ regarding detainee
transfers (Recommendation 5). Ì therefore feel this too is an appropriate issue for you to take up.
Ìt states in your mandate that "the Commissioner's Office cannot act upon individual complaints, but the
Commissioner can draw conclusions and take wider initiatives on the basis of reliable information regarding
human rights violations suffered by individuals¨. Ì am calling for your personal intervention to take such wider
initiatives, based on the points Ì have outlined above. For example, you are mandated to make third-party
interventions to the European Court of Human Rights on your own initiative based on your country
monitoring and thematic activities.
Ì therefore call on you to intervene on behalf of Julian Assange, before rather than after the fact of a potential
miscarriage of justice.
Yours sincerely,