Friday, June 29, 2012
The ‘Running Man’ that is Julian Assange ignores surrender notice ordering him to police station to be locked up, Assange declines, its Friday!
This is funny, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been asked to give himself up to the British Police after they popped by the Embassy of Ecuador in London and chucked in a surrender notice.
You can see the funny side straight away, stay put in relative comfort or leave and be locked up in a prison.
It is a toughie but I think Assange will stay put; he has done so for the last nine days since seeking political asylum.
Assange is wanted for extradition to Sweden, where he is to be questioning about alleged sex offences against two women.
The 40-year-old told the BBC's Newsnight programme that he will not be heeding the note to attend Belgravia police station at 11.30am today.
Assange has better things to do and who wants to be arrested on a Friday anyway?
Asked if he would be going to the central London police station, he said:
“Our advice is that asylum law both internationally and domestically takes precedence over extradition law so almost certainly not.”
And since the Police cannot violate the Embassy of Ecuador, it was a rather pointless exercise by Police in the first place.
Police said they had formally “served a surrender notice upon a 40-year-old man that requires him to attend a police station at date and time of our choosing”.
“He remains in breach of his bail conditions, failing to surrender would be a further breach of conditions and he is liable to arrest.”
The statement is in line with UK police policy.
The embassy still considering Assange’s claim for political asylum has declined to comment.
Assange has called for diplomatic guarantees he will not be pursued by the US for publishing secret documents if he goes to Sweden to face allegations of sex assault.
He won’t get it, if the Americans get their hands on him; he is facing a lengthy prison term, probably life without parole.
However, interestingly, Assange says he is prepared to go to Sweden to face questioning over the claims, but fears Stockholm will turn him over to the U.S. where he could face espionage and conspiracy charges over revelations by WikiLeaks.
The Assange case is a real diplomatic problem for the British Government, they are stuck, and it looks possible that the Embassy of Ecuador could grant asylum.
It isn’t in the interests of justice that Julian Assange cannot have his day in court in Sweden, but he believes he has real concerns that once in Sweden; he will be shipped off to the US.
Will the US give up their claim?
I don’t think so; American foreign policy is rather a clumsy instrument at the best of times.
A solution is that the US Government gives a guarantee not to seek extradition from Sweden or while Assange is in transit between Britain and Sweden via any third country.
He gets a pass; the upside for the Americans is perhaps Assange gets tried and convicted in a court of law which destroys his reputation, the downside; they wait longer for him to stick his neck out somewhere else.
If I was the Americans, I would give him the guarantee and let Swedish justice have a clear run.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University