Will the European Arrest Warrant system set a dangerous precedent?

via Wikileaks Australia

2012-05-25 Will the European Arrest Warrant system set a dangerous precedent?

On May 30th, the UK Supreme Court will rule on Julian Assange’s extradition case to Sweden, after having spent 540 days under house arrest without charge. Following an European Arrest Warrant issued in December 2010 on allegations of sexual misconduct, Assange submitted himself for arrest. Though Assange has not been charged, Swedish prosecutors have sought extradition from the UK for questioning.

The European Arrest Warrant system was created in 2002 in response to 9/11, intending to streamline the extradition process for serious crimes. It works on the basis of trust between European countries, that the judicial authority issuing the arrest warrant is correct. The validity of the allegations is irrelevant to the extradition process, and probable cause need not be shown. If an extradition order is issued, it must be carried out. As such, because of the EAW system, Britain must proceed to carry out the arrest warrant, and agree to extradition.

There are numerous examples that the Swedish prosecutors’ impropriety has affected the legitimacy of the case. The Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm, Eva Finné, initially threw out the allegation of rape after reviewing the file. However after an appeal, the investigation into Julian Assange was reopened. Information routinely made its way into the hands of the press, along with inaccurate information, which would then be repeated by media outlets around the globe. The prosecution has withheld information that is pertinent to the case, including text messages that challenge the legitimacy of the allegations, and before the arrest did not provide Assange a copy of the allegations in writing. Assange only learned of the formal allegations against him after reading the EAW firsthand on the day of his arrest.


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