02 February 2012
Extradition of Assange would set a disastrous precedent
Experts quoted by British media are convinced Julian Assange will be extradited to Sweden in a dubious sexual assault case. Normally this paragraph would have said to face charges, but none have been filed.
After several appeals of a lower court decision to grant extradition failed the case went before the U.K. Supreme Court on Wednesday. The hearing is scheduled to be completed after two days. A decision would be released later, though no time has been set. Assange could take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if he loses.
The British experts quoted by the Guardian and others say to not extradite Assange would bring down the entire European justice system. And well it might, but not necessarily for the reason they give. Most countries around the world have set up restrictions on extradition to prevent a political refugee from being dragged back to a dictatorship that will harm him, and deny a fair trial.
An extradition of Assange could result in a disastrous precedent for the European Union by making it possible for extradition requests without the approval of anyone outside the prosecutor's office. The process of extradition varies from country to country but a judge usually must approve, or even a high-ranking executive such as a state governor in the U.S. For instance, A prosecutor may not order an extradition in Britain. Instead, he/she would only begin the process.
In the U.S., an extradition would require that a charge had been filed. To refer to such restrictions as technicalities is to demean the law. Both Britain and Sweden likely will be embarrassed. So far, more questions have been raised than answered. It is widely believed the extradition is meant to keep relations between the CIA and Swedish intelligence agency cordial.