For the second time in less than half a year, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on torture etc. has accused Sweden of serious crimes against the human rights of Julian Assange.
The first time was on 23 May, when rapporteur Nils Melzer wrote to the four governments, among them Sweden, which for nearly a decade have collaborated in plaguing and persecuting Assange. The Swedish government responded with a brief letter consisting largely of untruths, evasions and glaring omissions.
Nils Melzer therefore wrote a follow-up letter to the government to convey ”additional observations and clarifications, and to reiterate or further detail my queries”.
That letter was sent on 12 September and, in accordance with U.N. praxis, made public after 60 days. [You can read it here, or embedded below – ed.]
The follow-up letter includes Melzer’s conclusion that ”the manner in which the preliminary investigation against Mr. Assange has been conducted by the Swedish prosecution appears to have contributed significantly, if not decisively, to various patterns of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment which Mr. Assange has been exposed to since 2010”.
Among other things, ”the Swedish prosecution appears to do everything to maintain the unqualified ’rape suspect’ narrative it has been disseminating, while at the same time avoiding to expose the evidentiary merits of this narrative to transparency and independent public scrutiny”.
For these and other reasons, rapporteur Melzer concludes that ”acts or omissions of the Swedish authorities defeat the presumption that the preliminary criminal investigation against Mr. Assange has been, and currently is being, conducted in good faith and in compliance with the fundamental principles of due process and of justice”.
There ”appears to have been a deliberate, sustained and concerted effort by the United States, Sweden, the United Kingdom and, more recently, Ecuador, with a view to isolating, demonizing, harassing and, ultimately, silencing Mr. Assange.”
”I am gravely concerned that Mr. Assange is being prosecuted and abused for having published evidence for serious misconduct of State officials, including international crimes involving torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, whereas the incriminated officials themselves are being granted impunity in flagrant violation of the most basic principles of justice, human dignity and the rule of law.”
That and much more is documented in a detailed bill of particulars, including sections on:
- Proactive manipulation of evidence
- Disregard for exculpatory evidence
- Disregard for requirements of necessity and proportionality
- Pervasive procedural procrastination
- Arbitrary detention and torture.
The government responded on 11 November with a brief note which referred the U.N.’s rapporteur to the above-noted disgraceful reply to his first letter: ”The Government has no further observation to make”.
[Since this article was written, Sweden has announced it has halted the investigation into the accusations of rape against Mr Assange, citing “lack of evidence” – ed.]