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Stockholm District Court Protocol 2014-07-16

[UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION]

THE COURT
Chief judge Lena Egelin

KEEPER OF THE MINUTES
District court law clerk Sanna Ordenius

PARTIES (present unless stated otherwise)

PROSECUTORS
Prosecution director Marianne Ny and chief prosecutor Ingrid Isgren
Development Centre and Southern prosecution office Stockholm resp

SUSPECT
Julian Assange 1971-07-03
Deprivation of liberty: detained in his absence
Unknown address
Not personally present

Counsel and defenders:

1. Attorney Thomas Olsson
Fria Advokater AB
Box 12706
112 94 Stockholm

2. Attorney Per E Samuelson
Law firm Samuelson, Schönmeyr & Wall HB
Fleminggatan 17
112 26 Stockholm

OTHERS PRESENT
Complainant counsel Claes Borgström, substituted by attorney Emma Persson, present for open part of hearing

Interpreter Malin Safioti

Investigator Cecilia Redell

THE MATTER
Unlawful coercion et al; now a question of re-detention


Because Julian Assange is not present at the hearing, there is no need for an interpreter, Malin Safioti leaves the hearing.

The prosecutor requests that Julian Assange continue to be detained in his absence. The prosecutor submits that there is still probable cause that Julian Assange is guilty of the deeds for which he has been detained and that the specific reason for detention, flight risk, is undiminished.

Julian Assange’s defenders request that the decision for detention be rescinded. They dispute that there is probable cause on both objective and subjective grounds. They further dispute the specific reason for detention.

Julian Assange’s defenders also allege that the prosecutor has not shown the care, efficiency, and expediency a prosecutor should have in cases where the suspect is deprived of liberty, and that this condition, together with the prosecutor’s negligence in attempting to conduct interrogations with Julian Assange in Great Britain, which consequently has caused that this matter has been drawn out an unreasonably long time, mean that it is disproportional and in violation of Julian Assange’s fundamental right to personal freedom to maintain the decision for detention.

The prosecutor requests that the hearing be held behind closed doors for that part pertaining to the probable causes for the criminal suspicions.

Julian Assange’s defenders have no objection.

Directive per chapter 5 procedural code et al.

The court directs that the hearing, as far as pertains to the question of whether there are probable causes for the suspicions, shall be held behind closed doors (chap 5 § 1 procedural code, chap 18 § 1 and chap 35 §§ 1 and 12 secrecy act).

The spectators leave the courtroom. It is noted that the investigator may remain.

The prosecutor explains her opinion that there is probable cause for the suspicions. See the sealed appendix.

Julian Assange’s defenders explain their opinion in the matter of probable cause. See the sealed appendix.

The court announces that the hearing is again public.

The prosecutor explains her request in the remaining matters.

Julian Assange’s defenders explain their request in the remaining matters. They submit and explain the decision of the Ecuador foreign ministry and post from Ecuador’s embassy in Sweden, appendices 56-57. They further play a film with various statements about Julian Assange as well as submit notes on what is being said in those statements, appendix 58.

The parties conclude their statements, save concerning the probable causes for the criminal suspicions, which has taken place behind closed doors.

The hearing is hereby concluded.

After considerable deliberation, the court announces the following

DECISION

Julian Assange is still on probable cause suspected of

1. unlawful coercion 13-14 August 2010 in Stockholm
2. sexual molestation 13-14 August 2010 in Stockholm
3. sexual molestation 18 August 2010 or thereabouts in Stockholm
and
4. rape, lesser crime, according to chap 6 § 1 paragraph 3 criminal code, 17 August 2010 Enköping.

There is a risk that he will abscond or in some other way evade legal process or sentence. The reasons for detention outweigh the intrusion or harm which the measure otherwise means.

Julian Assange shall therefore continue to be detained in his absence for the same suspicions and because of the same specific reasons for detention as before.

The court shall be immediately notified when the detention decision is carried out.

Motivation

Background

Stockholm District Court issued an order to remand Julian Assange in custody on 18 November 2010. The Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal of the decision 24 November 2010. On 2 December 2010, the Supreme court decided to not grant a leave to appeal, which meant that the ruling of the Court of Appeal was in effect. A European Arrest Warrant was thereafter issued; a review by the British courts was completed on 14 June 2012. Neither the remand decision nor the arrest warrant have been enforced.

Conditions for remand according to chap 24 § 1 procedural code

Any person suspected on probable cause of an offence punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or more may be placed in detention if, in view of the nature of the offence, the suspect’s circumstances, or any other factor, there is a reasonable risk that the person will:

1. flee or otherwise evade legal proceedings or punishment;
2. impede the inquiry into the matter at issue by removing evidence or in another way; or
3. continue his criminal activity.

If a penalty less severe than imprisonment for two years is not prescribed for the offence, the suspect shall be detained unless it is clear that detention is unwarranted.

Detention may only occur if the reason for detention outweighs the intrusion or other detriment to the suspect or some other opposing interest.

If it can be assumed that the suspect will only be sentenced to a fine he must not be detained.

Is Julian Assange suspected on probable cause of a crime?

According to the court, Julian Assange is, based on the current investigation, still suspected on probable cause of the crimes for which he was previously arrested in his absence.

Is there a risk that Julian Assange will evade his legal process or sentence?

The court finds that there is still a risk that Julian Assange will evade his legal process or sentence.

Is it proportional to keep Julian Assange under arrest in his absence?

On 2 December 2010, the prosecutor issued a European Arrest Warrant with a request that Julian Assange should be apprehended and surrendered from Great Britain to Sweden. As the basis of the warrant, the Court of Appeal cited the decision for remand of Julian Assange in his absence. As a result of the issuance of the arrest warrant, Julian Assange was deprived of liberty on 7 December 2010. He was released on 16 December 2010, and was instead required to submit to electronic surveillance with an ankle bracelet and to report daily to the police, and forbidden to be outdoors of his residence 22:00 – 08:00. His passport was confiscated and he was forbidden to acquire travel documents.

The arrest warrant was reviewed by the British courts, and on 31 May 2012, the Supreme Court in Great Britain ruled that Julian Assange should be surrendered to Sweden as per request. Julian Assange submitted an objection to the legal framework of the decision. The court’s final ruling, to not resume the case, was announced 14 June 2012.

On 19 June 2012, Julian Assange visited Ecuador’s embassy in London. The Ecuador government have granted Julian Assange political asylum. Julian Assange has, as far as one knows, been at the embassy since 19 June 2012.

In judging the intrusion and harm that the arrest in absence has meant and means for Julian Assange, it can be established that as a result of the European Arrest Warrant he has been deprived of liberty for the period 7-16 December 2010 and thereafter has been subjected to restrictions. These have, without being comparable to deprivation of liberty, of course been very significant for Julian Assange. That he has chosen to remain at the Ecuador embassy in Great Britain is, in the judgement of the court, not to be seen as a deprivation of liberty, and shall therefore not be regarded as a notable consequence of the decision to arrest him in his absence.

The deprivation of liberty and freedom to which Julian Assange has been subjected in Great Britain during the court reviews of the European Arrest Warrant are not, according to the court, sufficiently extensive that they can be regarded as disproportional.

Julian Assange’s defenders have submitted that Julian Assange’s status as a political refugee means that the arrest warrant and thereby the remand decision cannot be enforced as long as he is protected by Ecuador, and therefore the remand decision should be rescinded. A surrender is assuredly not possible at present, because Julian Assange, as far as is known, is resident at an embassy, but the court does not find this a sufficient reason to rescind the decision that he be remanded in his absence.

Julian Assange’s defenders have also submitted that the prosecutor has not shown requisite care, efficiency, and expediency. They have submitted that the prosecutor has not shared all investigative materials. They have also submitted that the prosecutor’s opportunities to question Julian Assange in Sweden were wasted. They have further submitted that it is possible to question Julian Assange in Great Britain, and that the prosecutor has such a duty, considering the requirement for an effective investigation.

The prosecutor has submitted that the circumstances which are the basis for the arrest have been well known by Julian Assange through the information submitted at the remand hearing and through the prosecutor’s previous statements to the Court of Appeal. The prosecutor has further submitted that the purpose of requesting Julian Assange to be arrested in his absence was to make it possible to continue the preliminary investigation and a possible legal process, that is to say not only for the purpose of conducting interrogations. The prosecutor has submitted that the question of conduction interrogations by telephone and other matters continually in Great Britain has been reviewed, and this has resulted in the judgement of the prosecutor that Julian Assange must be in Sweden during the investigation and, should there be a trial, for the trial itself.

The court does not find that what has emerged regarding the prosecutor’s review of the question of conducting interrogations in Sweden or Great Britain, or her conduct otherwise, can lead to the arrest warrant being rescinded.

In conclusion, the court thus finds that the reasons for arrest outweigh the intrusion or harm which the measure otherwise mean for Julian Assange or for any other opposing interest. Neither does the court find that the ruling is in conflict with the directives in article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Therefore shall Julian Assange remain detained in his absence.

As soon as this decision is executed, at the latest within four days of Julian Assange arriving in Sweden, the court will hold a remand hearing.

HOW TO APPEAL

This decision can be appealed to the Svea Court of Appeals. The right to appeal is not limited to a certain time.

Sanna Ordenius
District court law clerk
Shown to

Lena Egelin
Chief judge