By Lisa Gardner Jul 09, 2012
- Julian Assange’s precarious legal battle continues. Since lodging his request for political asylum on June 19, the WikiLeaks founder has remained inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London while his application is considered. Susan Benn, of the Julian Assange defense fund, said on June 29 that Assange would not honor a notice served to him by UK police requiring him to turn himself in to authorities.
Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sit outside the Ecuadorian Embassy, in London. Pic: AP.
The UK Supreme Court dismissed a bid to reopen Assange’s appeal against extradition to Sweden on June 14. In a press statement, Sweden’s Prosecution Authority advised that “Mr Assange will be surrendered to Sweden within 10 days after the 14th day” (in effect, July 6).
That deadline has come and gone, yet Mr Assange remains ensconced within the Ecuadorian Embassy. It remains unclear whether his request for political asylum will be granted.
Here we spoke with Christine Assange, Julian’s mother, regarding these recent developments in her son’s case.
Christine Assange pictured in London in late 2010. Pic: AP.
On Julian’s request for political asylum…
“I spoke to him (while) he was inside the Ecuadorian Embassy. His exact words were: ‘tell them I’m humbled and buoyed by the support worldwide, and I’m in good fighting spirits.’ I listened to his voice, and I have not heard him sound that relaxed for a long time, and I think that’s because he feels safe inside the Ecuadorian Embassy. When he was on the outside, he was always subject to an attack.
“I spoke to people at the Embassy in Australia, and I found them to be very warm, non-bureaucratic people… I think he’s surrounded by warm and caring people, and for the moment, regardless of how this turns out, he’s feeling cared for and safe… I think at this time, to be able to offer him both safety and a warm heart, is very comforting to me as a mother.”
On extradition to Sweden…
“I’m against that, because I wouldn’t trust the Swedish government as far as you can throw them. They’ve given assurances before, and broken them. The Swedish government are not to be trusted, under any circumstances….
“The Swedish prosecutor has shown absolutely no bona fides in this case. The original prosecutor has had no basis for this whatsoever. The Swedish prosecutor has continued to refuse every reasonable legal way to interview Julian, from day one, including even at the Swedish Embassy in London, or Scotland Yard. So the motivations are, that if she has to interview him, then she either has to drop the case, or charge him. If she charges him, she has to give evidence. And she’s got no evidence.
Julian Assange. Pic: AP.
“You know, Julian’s biggest character flaw? It’s trust… He trusts people. It’s abused, often… You don’t trust someone whose untrustworthy.
“I think what should happen at this point is the Swedish prosecutor should perhaps go to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and question to Julian there. And then produce her charges and evidence, for everybody to see.”
“I’ve got the reactions of a mother, and I’ve got the reactions of a citizen…
…and they’re quite different. My reactions as a mother is I wish to hell he’d never gotten involved in it. I am very, very frightened for him. I’ve had sleepless nights, and I pull myself together to realize that the biggest weapon I have to fight for him are the facts. Once the people know the facts, they’re immediately supportive…. My jobs are to get the facts out. I have a specific job. I just get down and do it.
“My part as a citizen – I’m very glad to see what Julian has done. It’s been a great service to the world. There’s been people fighting third world corruption, for human rights, environmental degradation and so on – never understanding the actual causes, just the band-aid treatment. But WikiLeaks has provided the actual cause, which is first-world exploitation of the third-world, and of the people of the first-world. The world has come to an understanding of the cause… then you can apply the correct solution. That’s what they’ve shown via the cables…
“I used to believe the media, not everything they said, but almost. I don’t trust them anymore. I believed in Julian, but I did a lot of studying before I came out swinging to support WikiLeaks. I had to be assured that I was backing a right cause. Obviously, you support your son emotionally, and their right to a fair trial anywhere. But when I came to a full understanding about Wikileaks when I read the cables… I have no faith anymore in the governments to do the right thing by Julian. But as a citizen, I am so glad for what WikiLeaks has done.”