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Australian government’s hypocritical pretense of ‘helping’ Julian Assange

Assange,-Julian-1Australia could seek an assurance from Sweden that following the completion of all Swedish legal proceedings that Assange would be deported to Australia. This would be an entirely appropriate outcome for an Australian citizen who has been subject to extradition to a foreign country.

If the Gillard government was able to obtain these diplomatic assurances, which are consistent with international law, then Assange would face his accusers in Sweden and not face the prospect of onward extradition to the United States.

How Australia can end the Assange stalemate The Drum Australia can help Julian Assange negotiate his legal problems while remaining consistent with the norms of international law and with the level of assistance that would be offered to other Australians, writes Donald Rothwell. …….. the UK has indicated that it does not recognise Ecuador’s granting of asylum and if Assange were to leave the Embassy he is liable to arrest and extradition to Sweden.

Ecuador revealed in mid-August – as the Assange matter reached a pivotal point- that Britain had threatened to rely on its Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act and revoke the Ecuadorian Embassy’s diplomatic protection so as to enter and seize Assange.

This threat was extraordinary and without modern precedence and it was unsurprising that the Ecuadorian Government responded with such fury. British Foreign Secretary William Hague has now downplayed any suggestion that the Ecuadorian Embassy will be raided, and emphasised Britain will act consistently with international law.

Nevertheless, Hague and the British government have made it clear that they have a legal obligation to Sweden to extradite Assange and that they will continue to seek his arrest for breach of his bail Carr,-Bob-two-facedconditions……..

Australia has been remarkably silent on some of these recent developments. Throughout the year Assange has been highly critical of what he claims has been a lack of support from the Australian government, but Foreign Minister Bob Carr insists that Assange has received more consular assistance than any other Australian in similar circumstances.

The reality is that Australia can still play a proactive, and perhaps even pivotal role, in seeking to bring about a resolution to the current stalemate.

There are a least three options open to Australia, all of which fall within the ambit of consular support for an Australian citizen and are broadly consistent with some of the initiatives the Gillard Government has taken in 2012 to support other citizens.

First, the Australian High Commission in London can continue to support Assange and provide him with consular assistance and where appropriate seek consular access to check on his welfare. Regular visits of this nature would also give to Australia some independent capacity to monitor Assange’s health.

Second, Australia could seek diplomatic assurances from Stockholm that if Assange is extradited to Sweden he will be subject to due process under Swedish law, that any trial would be conducted consistently with international human rights norms, and that Australia would enjoy full consular access to Assange during this time.

These assurances would assist in ensuring that Assange was treated in the same manner as any other person under Swedish law. A possible outcome of this process is that the Swedish prosecutor may determine that Assange has no case to answer and all potential criminal charges against him are dropped.

In addition, Australia could seek an assurance from Sweden that following the completion of all Swedish legal proceedings that Assange would be deported to Australia. This would be an entirely appropriate outcome for an Australian citizen who has been subject to extradition to a foreign country.

If the Gillard government was able to obtain these diplomatic assurances, which are consistent with international law, then Assange would face his accusers in Sweden and not face the prospect of onward extradition to the United States.

This would ensure the dual aim of Assange facing justice while also ensuring his protection from any extra-legal process that could see him removed from Sweden to face an American court.

Donald R. Rothwell is Professor of International Law at the ANU College of Law, Australian National University. View his full profile herehttp://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4408852.html

August 7, 2013 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster

2 Comments »

  1. how hard is it for Ecuador to arrest Julia Asage first , and bring him o equator after al what Sweden does they can do better , they will not override Ecuador arrest warrant . two can play the game

    Comment by oswald | August 9, 2013 | Reply

  2. “while also ensuring his protection from any extra-legal process that could see him removed from Sweden to face an American court”.

    Unfortunately that ignores the reality that any Australian government, of any political persuasion, would render up Julian Assange to the USA on any pretext whatever.

    In a heartbeat. Our compliant, sycophant politicians are all deeply enamoured with the USA, which can do no wrong whatsoever. Being an Australian citizen is merely an inconvenience to be brushed aside in a heartbeat.

    Comment by Ian C. Purdie - Sydney | August 9, 2013 | Reply


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