Thursday, December 09, 2010

International arrest

Depending on who you read Assange (he of Wikileaks) has been detained either via a Red Notice issued by Interpol or using an European Arrest Warrant both of which originate from Sweden.

Has he be charged with anything - nope; he's wanted for questioning. What's heating this up are the rumours that the USA are already in discussion with Sweden about extraditing him despite the fact that, as of this moment, the US have levelled no charges against him.

What is this a face-saving exercise - the US want to ensure the Swedes will say yes before they try to charge him?

Now I've touched on so-called International law before and just how little sense it can make in this electronically connected world so consider how it works in this context. The US can't prosecute for hacking; Assange didn't hack the systems. Receipt of stolen goods? But they were given to the company not him personally. Espionage - but Assange isn't a US citizen nor was he in the US at the time the 'crime' happened; but hey when has that ever stopped them before?

So let's assume they'd charge using the Espionage Act in that Assange copied documents pertaining to national security - great except that law doesn't exist outside the USA - so they have to ask his host country to extradite him; so why should they?

Consider if an American tourist in the UK is robbed, and the culprit found. Should the USA ask for them to be extradited to be judged and convicted there? The crime happened in the UK. How about a UK citizen robs an American in the US then flees back home? The crime happened in the US.

All simple so far, but what if we have the first instance that of a 'crime' against an American (or America as a person) that is only considered such in the native country of the victim and not the host country? That's the situation here; well hey just wash our hands and turn them over. Except now consider the case of Aasiya Bibi in Pakistan sentenced to death for blasphemy.

So what - well take a look at the internet for American preachers proclaiming that their Christian faith is the one true faith and exhorting readers to let in Christ etc. What happens if an Iranian or a Pakistani read these sites? Under their law, it seems, these preachers have committed a crime. Would the US willingly extradite them all? I think not.

So if it's the case that the US are attempting to prosecute under a law that doesn't exist outside their own country - no country should extradite him and Assange is perfectly safe unless he visits the US or the CIA rappel through his window and kidnap him. Of course that won't be the case and I'm betting Sweden would happily uphold America's request while at the same time America would refuse to uphold the blasphemy charges of Pakistan.


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