Friday, 5 February 2016

A perverse finding

A man fleeing two charges of serious sexual misconduct in an EU country which is a signatory of the EHCR voluntarily holes himself up in the embassy, to another signatory of the EHCR, of a nation which has a poor human rights record. A valid international arrest warrant has been issued. Yet a UN Working Group has found that he has been unlawfully detained. I am among the first to condemn the authoritarian bent of the Conservative administration here, but I believe that, in the case of Julian Assange, Theresa May and Michael Hammond have it right.

One of Assange's supporters claims that the charges are fabricated, that the complainants were coerced by the Swedish police and that Sweden is the creature of the CIA who will have Assange extradited as soon as he sets foot on Swedish soil. This ignores the evidence that the upholding of human rights is more robust in Sweden than it is in the UK, where Assange chose to reside for some time before his trip to Sweden. If the US authorities wanted to eliminate him, they could have done it in a country which is more friendly than most to the USA.

Julian Assange's integrity as a witness on his own behalf may be assessed by reading Ian Hislop's report of a conversation he had with him back in 2011.

If an international group wants to criticise the UK for threatening detention of peaceful protestors, they could start with how the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 is being applied.

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