Stefan Lindskog is a respected Swedish jurist and lawyer who currently sits on Sweden’s Supreme Court, and who has served as the president of the Swedish Bar Association from 2004 to 2007. For him to weigh in on Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and Julian Assange, is as if Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the US Supreme Court were to have offered comments on the case; their professional and intellectual attainments are similarly impressive.
In the video above, filmed on April 3 of this year, Justice Lindskog delivers the keynote lecture for a program and panel discussion called “The Assange Affair”, which was held at the University of Adelaide in Australia. While he makes it clear (around 33 minutes into his talk) that his remarks are informal in nature, the mere fact that he is speaking out at all, much less so strongly criticizing the way the Swedish criminal justice system has handled the case, is quite suggestive. Taken with the fact that in March, prosecutor Marianne Ny quit or was forced out and replaced by another prosecutor, even as Anna Ardin (who Justice Lindskog refers to by name) fired her lawyer, Justice Lindskog’s remarks are yet another indication that the case against Assange may be falling apart. It may well be that the Swedish authorities are seeing if they can make this embarrassing case go away without causing more of a furor.
As my co-blogger Charles states in his post on this video:
* Justice believes there are not any formal US charges against Assange.
* He presents the case from the point of view of the Swedish police report obtained from–if I understand him correctly– leaked Polish [intelligence?] documents (!9:00ff)
* The leaking of the police report was a crime.
* The leaking was not prosecuted because of the privilege granted to sources of the press.
* Assange was defamed in the press.
* Hypothetically, if the women have told the truth, the case is entirely based on the use of condoms. How legally binding was that conditionality?
* Would a lie about a condom be charged as a sexual crime? If one lies about having HIV, no. It’s charged as assault.
* Two courts have held that there’s probable cause for sexual molestation (I believe this is also called “minor rape“).
* Swedish law forbids extradition for political offenses or if there is a reasonable fear that someone could be punished for political offenses as a consequences.
* The UK court did not try the merits of the case against Assange.
* Extradition to US: extradition is only possible if Swedish courts would charge the offense.
* It is debatable whether Swedish law would regard Assange’s leaks as treason or espionage
* Source privilege is protective only for business secrets, not military secrets.
* Still, Sweden’s enemies may not be America’s.
* Justice must not only be done, it must also be seen to be done.
Speaking of Supreme Courts, here is the Agreed Statement of Facts and Issues from the UK’s Supreme Court in the Assange case.
By the way, the condom in question did not contain Assange’s DNA. And Ardin’s new lawyer, Elisabeth Massi Fritz, is the family lawyer for Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt.
Finally, isn’t it interesting that you who are now reading this are probably only finding about this April lecture via this very blog diary? So strange that something so intimately connected to the cases of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, who have replaced Jimmy Carter and Al Gore in the US media’s eyes as History’s Greatest Monsters, was never mentioned by the mainstream US press, normally so hungry for the tiniest tidbits about these two.