Prosecutors have interviewed 44 people in UK since 2010. Why not Assange?
London, UK – 10 August 2015
“The Swedish prosecutors are guilty of double standards and victimisation. They’ve interviewed 44 people in the UK since 2010. Why not Assange? They are making an exception of him. He’s being singled out and treated differently. It is wrong to deny Assange the option to be interviewed in the UK, which has been extended to others and which he has been offering for five years”, said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
He was commenting on a Freedom of Information request revealing that Swedish prosecutors have interviewed 44 suspects in the UK since 2010, while for five years declining Julian Assange’s offer to be interviewed at the Ecuadoran Embassy in London. They have long insisted that he must go to Sweden to be interviewed about the sex allegations against him.
Mr Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, has supported Julian Assange for the last five years, on civil liberties grounds and on the grounds that he is a legitimate whistleblower.
“The Swedish authorities are not applying the law about overseas interviews consistently and fairly. They are acting in an exceptional and discriminatory way towards Assange,” added Mr Tatchell.
“A few weeks ago, a prosecutor from Sweden confided to me that the Assange case has been handled badly by Marianne Ny. He said she should have come to London to interview him five years ago. It is not unusual for Swedish prosecutors to interview suspects overseas, he confirmed, so it doesn’t make sense for them to not interview Assange in London.
“In November last year, the Swedish Court of Appeal found Ny in breach of her duty to proceed the case at maximum speed and efficiency. It took another seven months, until June this year, for Ny to request an interview with Assange in London. She then cancelled the interview at the last minute. The Swedish prosecutor is the main roadblock in the case. She is not only denying Assange the right to swift justice, she is hindering the legal process and should be taken off the case.
“Julian Assange has been in various forms of detention for five years, without ever having been charged with any offence. This amounts to pre-trial punishment and is a gross abuse of his human rights and the legal system.
“The Swedish prosecutor has still not made a decision on whether Assange should be charged, which makes his treatment all the more shocking.
“Assange’s case is an important civil liberties and human rights issue,” said Mr Tatchell.