OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS – COUNCIL OF EUROPE

Background information:
Following the ruling from the Royal Courts of Justice on 2 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 http://www.swedenversusassange.com. the case and the court ruling can be found on
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The first we have selected was Fair Trials International. Their Call to Action letter can be found http://www.scribd.com/doc/72040700/FTI-Letter and on the Justice for Assange UK facebook page.

Call to Action:
We would ask every supporter or general member of the public concerned about the handling of the case to write a letter or an email to Council of Europe, Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights to the contact we have selected below. 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. Imagine 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. It is for justice, human rights and the right of every individual to a fair trial.

Letter to send:
Thomas Hammarberg Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights Council of Europe F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex FRANCE If you wish to send an email: commissioner@coe.int

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, I 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. It 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. In 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. In 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. It is not. The Swedish prosecutor in this case, Marianne Ny, has been criticised for excessive use of incommunicado pretrial detention to „soften up‟ those accused of sex crimes. I 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. In your 2007 country visit report you also called on Sweden to stop relying on “diplomatic assurances” regarding detainee transfers (Recommendation 5). I therefore feel this too is an appropriate issue for you to take up. It 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”. I am calling for your personal intervention to take such wider initiatives, based on the points I 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. I therefore call on you to intervene on behalf of Julian Assange, before rather than after the fact of a potential miscarriage of justice. Sincerely, __________________________

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