'No fair trial for Assange in Sweden': lawyer
Published: 3 Jul 12 17:22 CET
Julian Assange's Swedish lawyer on Monday reiterated fears that the WikiLeaks founder would not receive a fair trial in Sweden, where he stands accused of sex crimes allegedly committed against two women.
Assange, who is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, has little chance of a fair trial in Sweden due to the “poor treatment” that suspected criminals receive in the country, wrote his lawyer Per Samuelson in on opinion piece published Monday in the Guardian newspaper.
“Sweden routinely imposes severe restrictions on suspects held on remand. Pre-trial, suspects are often held in detention, or even in isolation. This treatment is unnecessary and humiliating and thwarts the defendant's ability to prepare their case,” he wrote.
Samuelson claims that detainment and isolation should be reserved for criminals such as Norwegian serial killer Anders Breivik, but that less serious allegations like those leveled at Assange should be exempt from such treatment.
“Sweden insists on Assange's forcible removal to Sweden. Once there, he will immediately be seized by police and put in jail. He will be taken to the detention hearing in handcuffs, and will almost certainly be detained. He will remain in custody for the duration of the proceedings. This is unnecessary,” Samuelson wrote.
“This treatment is degrading. No one should be treated as guilty until proven innocent. There has been no trial, let alone conviction. Assange has not even been charged with any crime. And the situation makes it difficult for him to prepare his defence.”
Furthermore, Samuelson argued that remand prisons in Sweden do not allow suspects any kind of “proper contact” with anyone outside the prison, with any communication often taking weeks due to application forms and the censorship of letters.
“The treatment that the Swedish legal system has inflicted, and would be likely to inflict on Assange would mark him out as guilty and prevent him from preparing a proper defence and, for that reason, having a fair trial.”
Meanwhile, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa claims that Ecuador is still considering whether to grant political asylum to Assange.
"We are analyzing the case with full responsibility and, as we have said a thousand times, we have no deadline to make a decision," Correa said Saturday.
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