julian assange

Legal expert: "Under Swedish law it is possible to interrogate people abroad"

Polis och mediauppbåd utanför Ecuadors ambassad i London. Foto: Mona Hambraeus/Sveriges Radio.
Police and media outside Ecuador's embassy. Photo: Mona Hambraeus/Swedish Radio

Legal expert Ove Bring says to Radio Sweden that it is now "too late" for Swedish prosecutors to question Julian Assange in London. It has become a "matter of prestige" to not give the Wikileaks founder "special treatment."

But he also says that if Assange did come back to Sweden the most likely scenario is that he would be questioned, and then released.

Published fredag 17 augusti 2012 kl 15:07

"As a rule Swedish citizens who are suspected of criminal behaviour should be interrogated in Sweden", says professor emeritus Ove Bring, of the Swedish national defence college. "And now it's too late to make an exception for Mr Julian Assange. That would not be a very good precedent for the Swedish legal system."

He says that prosecutors could have decided to question Assange in London earlier on in the case. "It would have been possible to go to London directly, many months ago, when he had just arrived there. But now it's a matter of prestige, and it's a matter of prestige not only for prosecutors, but for the Swedish legal system. To make an exception for him, because he is a famous person, is not a very good idea now. The exception should have been made earlier on, when it was less dramatic." 

"Under Swedish law it is possible to interrogate people abroad." 
Ove Bring also says that the Assange case is "very exceptional. I don't know if it has happened before", that so much effort has been put into chasing someone merely suspected of a crime, but that he doubts that the case is costing the prosecution authority much.

Professor Bring says that the Ecuadorian decision changes little, since Julian Assange is still in the UK, with British police waiting to seize him and hand him over to the Swedish authorities. But that the most likely scenario is that, after questioning, Assange is released.

"If he goes to Sweden, is interrogated, then I expect the case would be dropped, as the evidence is not enough to charge him with a crime. Then he could go to Ecuador, to take advantage of the asylum that he has been granted."

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