London court defers decision on Assange extradition
Evidence on behalf of the Swedish Prosecution Office has been heard at London’s High Court on Wednesday in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s fight against extradition to Sweden. Extradition is seen by many as a means of the US to getting its hands on him.
After the first day of the hearings, Assange left the court appearing completely exhausted. He did not wave to any of his supporters waiting for him outside, which also could have been the result of a direct instruction from the new legal team he has hired to deal with this hearing.
Investigative journalist Tony Gosling thinks the case against Assange is focused more on destroying his name than on any substantial evidence.
“Assange still has not been properly charged with any crime in Sweden. This is the crazy thing about the entire case. They want to extradite him for questioning, but he hasn't been properly charged. It seems that the European arrest warrant has been used for this,” says the journalist.
Gosling believes final prosecution can never take place in Assange’s case.
“We can draw a comparison with what we have seen with the Dominique Strauss-Kahn / IMF case. This looks to me some kind of sting operation. The political people who don’t like what Assange is doing have a chance to get at him. This is becoming quite clear now that with Dominique Strauss-Kahn there may be actually no prosecution finally in New York against him. And I think we may see the same with Assange,” he says.
Assange’s new legal team has taken a new, much more conciliatory, strategy for the court case, and is more concerned with European law and specifically the arrest warrant under which Julian Assange’s extradition has been requested.
The team is arguing that the European arrest warrant is invalid because of the discrepancies essentially between the allegations that have been made and the testimonies of the two alleged victims.
There are four counts to be considered, ranging from unlawful coercion up to rape. The defense team has said that there is nothing in the victims’ statements that amount to that; there is no evidence and no lack of consent in these statements. Three of the four allegations, they say, would not even amount to crimes in the UK. All this does point to a new approach to the case.
Due to the fact that Julian Assange has not even been charged in Sweden, where he is simply wanted for questioning, his legal team says that if their client has not been charged with any crime, then the European arrest warrant is invalid.
The British judge might announce the decision on Wednesday evening, but he could also put the ruling off for a few days or even weeks.
Watch earlier report by RT's Laura Emmet