Fair Trial for Julian Assange? - Sweden vs. Assange
Criticism of Swedish justice system
Of all the signatories to the European Convention of Human Rights, Sweden has the highest per capita rate of cases brought to the European Court of Human Rights relating to article 6.1 (right to a fair trial). It also has the highest rate of adverse rulings when it comes to the fair trial.
Fair trial as a ground for challenging the EAW - February Hearing
In the February Hearing, Julian Assange’s lawyers argued that the UK should not extradite him because he would not face a fair trial in Sweden. If extradited, Assange will be:
Held in prison in solitary confinement when he is returned, despite not having been charged (likely to spend up to a year in custody). There is no time limit to detention in Sweden.
There is no bail system, so he would remain in detention indefinitely.
If there is a charge and a trial, it will be held in secret.
He will not be judged by an ’independent and impartial tribunal’, a fundamental requirement under the European Convention of Human Rights (article 6.1). Three out of the four judges are lay judges, who have been appointed by political parties and have no formal legal training (see Lay Judges).
The Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, has not given Julian Assange or his lawyers information on the allegations against him in writing, which violates the Swedish Code of Procedure (RB 23:18) and the European Convention of Human Rights (article 5), and the EU Fundamental Charter on Human Rights.
There has been political interference with the Prime Minister’s statements to the Swedish Parliament during the trial (see Political Interference, and constant press attention has been given to the complainants’ lawyer (see Media climate in Sweden).
The bilateral agreement between the United States and Sweden allows Julian Assange to be extradited to the US as soon as he arrives in Sweden (see section on US extradition). Under US custody, Julian Assange risks kidnapping, torture, and execution.