According to recently revealed emails, the UK Crown Prosecution Service allegedly dissuaded Swedish prosecutors from dropping extradition orders against Julian Assange in 2013.
The Guardian reports that in recently revealed emails between Swedish prosecutors and the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the prosecutors attempted to drop extradition proceedings against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange in 2013. The Crown Prosecution Service dissuaded the Swedish prosecutors from dropping the charges. The correspondence between the two groups also seems to challenge previous statements made by the CPS that the Assange extradition case was not live when key emails were allegedly destroyed.
The Swedish case against Assange relates to allegations of sexual assault and rape brought against the WikiLeaks founder in 2010. Assange has denied these allegations and traveled to the UK in late 2010, Swedish authorities then began extradition proceedings. Assange skipped bail but was granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012. Stockholm dropped their arrest warrant for Assange last year, but he still faces arrest by the UK government for breaching his former bail conditions, meaning he is unable to leave the Ecuadorian embassy located in Knightsbridge, London.
Newly discovered emails reveal that Swedish prosecutors were eager to drop the case against Assange in 2013, four years before they would officially drop the charges against him. The prosecutors allegedly continued proceedings at the encouragement of the CPS. The CPS lawyer who handled the case against Assange commented on an article that suggested Sweden may drop the case in 2012 saying, “Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!”
In October 2013 the Swedish Director of Public Prosecutions, Marianne Ny, contacted the CPS stating that the prosecutors had few options left to explore in the case against Assange, stating: “There is a demand in Swedish law for coercive measures to be proportionate.”SHe continued, “the time passing, the costs and how severe the crime is to be taken into account together with the intrusion or detriment to the suspect. Against this background, we have found us to be obliged to lift the detention order … and to withdraw the European arrest warrant. If so this should be done in a couple of weeks. This would affect not only us but you too in a significant way.”
In December 2013, the CPS lawyer replied to Ny stating, “I do not consider costs are a relevant factor in this matter,” at this point, the Metropolitan Police had revealed that security operations to prevent Assange from leaving the Ecuadorian embassy had already cost approximately $5.2 million. “I do wonder occasionally if the police just make public comments because they think it will somehow progress a case,” wrote the CPS lawyer, “All we can do is wait and see [and perhaps be eternally grateful that neither of us have to share a room in the embassy with him over Christmas!].”
The same lawyer told Ny in 2013, “It is simply amazing how much work this case is generating. It sometimes seems like an industry. Please do not think this case is being dealt with as just another extradition.” Many have claimed that the CPS has been inconsistent in their statements regarding whether or not the case against Assange is live. CPS dismissed a personal data request by Assange in April 2013 stating that they could not provide any information, “because of the live matters still pending.” But, while defending the deletion of key emails relating to the case in 2014, CPS defended the email deletion saying that “The case was, therefore, not live when the email account was deleted.”
When reached for comment on the case a CPS spokesperson stated, “As there are legal proceedings still underway it would be inappropriate to comment.” It’s expected that Westminster magistrates court will deliver a judgment on Tuesday relating to arguments from Assange’s lawyers that the continued enforcement of the arrest warrant against him is disproportionate after so many years in the Ecuadorian embassy.