A British judge has ruled that Julian Assange must return to Sweden to face questioning on allegations of sexually assaulting two women. Assange's lawyers said they'll appeal. The ruling examined and dismissed some of the major claims Assange and his lawyers have made about Sweden and its allegedly draconian, anti-male rape laws and prosecutors.
Maybe England is also the Saudi Arabia of feminism.
According to The New York Times, Assange has taken to comparing himself to Martin Luther King Jr. and, in a recent speech compared "the struggles of WikiLeaks to those of African-Americans who fought for equal rights in the 1950s, of protesters who sought an end to the Vietnam War in the ‘60s and of the feminist and environmental movements," adding, "For the Internet generation, this is our challenge, and this is our time." Outside the London courthouse, supporters chanted, "We love you, Julian."
Assange's defense against extradition had been roughly as follows: The investigation of the two women's rape charges was conducted in an improper fashion, and no attempt had been made to interview him while in Sweden, he had been unfairly tried in the media through tawdry leaks, and anyway, Sweden's wacky definition of rape wouldn't be recognized in the United Kingdom. Oh, and he feared that Sweden would then extradite him to the U.S. and he would be tortured at Guantanamo Bay. Looking over the the decision, the judge seems decidedly unimpressed by these arguments.
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For example, here is the judge describing the cross-examination of one of the defense's experts in Swedish law, regarding Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny:
She was then asked what material she has to justify the conclusion that Ms Ny "is a well-known radical feminist". She did not produce any further evidence to substantiate that conclusion and thought it was well known. It was suggested to her that the nature of Ms Ny's job, child protection and prosecution of sex crimes against women, justified her taking a stand on crimes against women. It was not clear whether she accepted this proposition.
Witnesses for the defense repeatedly claimed that Marianne Ny had not tried to interview Assange while he was in Sweden, or had refused to speak with him in England. They said they had been told this by Assange's lawyer. Except then they found several instances of Ny trying to meet with him in Sweden, conveniently forgotten. "For the sake of completeness, I add that none of the accusations made against the conduct of Ms Ny comes close to establishing impropriety on her behalf," the judge wrote.
He also saw no evidence that Sweden would promptly hand Assange over to U.S. torturers, or that there was any major issue with the fact that Sweden has closed courts for sexual assault.
What about the proclamation, popularized by Assange's lawyers in the media as well, that what Assange was accused of was some weird feminist-radical Swede thing? One Assange lawyer had said in court, "If Sweden [said] sucking toes without washing.. is rape..then that would be an extradition offense? No."
The judge begged to differ. In parsing the several allegations, he wrote of the charge that Assange had penetrated a woman who had agreed to sex only with a condom:
The obvious and straightforward way of reading that allegation is that the complainant had made it clear that she would not consent to unprotected sex, and yet it occurred without her knowledge and therefore without her consent. Mr Assange was aware of this. Unprotected sex is wholly different from protected sex in that its potential repercussions are not confined to disease and include pregnancy.
Of another charge:
However [the defense] then developed a sophisticated argument that the conduct alleged here would not amount to rape in most European countries. However, what is alleged here is that Mr Assange "deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep, was in a helpless state". In this country that would amount to rape.
But... toe-sucking! Rabid pro-Guantanamo feminist conspiracies! Sorry, Julian, apparently even male British judges are in on it.
London Court Grants Swedish Request to Extradite Assange [NYT]
The Judicial Authority In Sweden Vs. Julian Paul Assange [UK Judiciary]
Earlier: UK Court Debates Extradition And The Meaning Of Rough Sex
Assange: Sweden Is The Saudi Arabia Of Feminism