Julian Assange, Asylum and all that…

Right, let’s be clear.

If Julian Assange is determined to be a rapist by a court of law under the auspices of due process, then once that has come to pass I will having nothing left for him but contempt. Rape is a horrific affront to humanity and anyone who perpetrates it is to be despised.

Until the above comes to pass he is a man ACCUSED of rape (and sexual assault), and as such deserves all due protections and due process under the law as anyone else would.

Therefore I think that two things are pretty important:

1. Public figures in particular (Louise Mensch I’m looking at you here) and everyone else in general need to take a long hard look at their rhetoric and choices and accept the fact that as yet Julian Assange is an ALLEGED rapist, not actually a rapist.

Allow me to re-iterate, I am in no way an apologist for rape or rapists, but I do believe in the ideas of due process, innocence until guilt is determined under the burden of proof and the idea that only the courts get to brand anyone with any label as loaded and serious as “rapist”.

2. IF it is true (and I am having serious difficulty verifying this, hence the “IF”) that were Julian Assange to be successfully extradited to Sweden (to face the charges that I completely agree he should face), that there is a real likelihood that the Swedish authorities could re-extradite him to the US to face charges of Espionage (which carry the death penalty), then the government of Ecuador has struck a blow for justice and due process today.

There is no doubt in my mind that regardless of whether or not Mr. Assange has indeed committed unspeakable crimes against two women in Sweden, the pressure being brought to bear on our government, here in the UK, the Swedish government and now the Ecuadorian government has little in actual fact to do with those alleged crimes and a lot more to do with the American government wanting to get their hands on him. If the players cared about the charges he faces in Sweden they would have long ago stipulated that he would not be extradited to the US, or allowed him to be tried in the UK (or other essentially neutral country) on the facts of the case. I would like to believe that the charges he faces in Sweden are considered more serious by all people and entities than any charges arising from his activities with Wikileaks (I know that I consider them more serious), but I fear that this is unlikely to be the case.

Until it is a matter of public record that the Swedish government make guarantees that Julian Assange will not be removed from Sweden under duress / the auspices of extradition (i.e. under the cover of apparent legality) to the US, and that he will face a fair and transparent trial in Sweden, under all due process of the Swedish judicial system with regard to the charges levelled against him there, then there can be no doubt that any government, UK or Ecuadorian, that delivers him to Sweden either directly or indirectly has served no justice at all.

One day soon this will all come to a head – when it does I hope that my country can hold its head high on the issue, though I fear the worst.

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