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Op-Ed: Swedish court rejects delay in hearing due to Assange’s illness

Assange reported to be quite ill

Per Samuelson Assange’s Swedish lawyer claimed to the press: “Assange’s health situation on Friday was such that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him.”

Samuelson added: “One of the reasons is that Assange’s health situation on Friday was such that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him. I meant that it should be postponed until I had time to meet again and go through the issues in peace and quiet. I suggested no specific date and meant it should be postponed until everything was ready, but the district court has now decided that this won’t happen.”

The hearing is in Sweden at the Uppsala district court. No one from the court had any comment on the issue to Reuters nor did the Prosecutor’s office. Sweden just reopened the rape investigation in early May. It was begun in 2010 but dropped two years ago after Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK. Assange feared that if he were extradited to Sweden this was an excuse to have him further extradited to the US. There are no charges against Assange, he is wanted for questioning about rape allegations.

Assange spent seven years in the embassy but after a change in government Ecuador allowed UK police to enter the embassy and arrest Assange. The hearing would be a first step in having Assange extradited from the UK if a court order is issued.

Assange is serving a 50 week sentence in jail in the UK for skipping bail. Assange would not be at the hearing in Sweden but presumably his lawyer would be there representing him. However, if Assange cannot speak normally because of his health his lawyer can hardly prepare himself adequately. No doubt, Assange was assumed to be able to participate through some hookup from the prison though not present at the court.

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Few news outlets are covering the issue

Most outlets covering the issue emphasize the fact that the court rejected any delay and if they cover the issue of Assange’s health it is as an aside. A recent post on Medium by Caitlin Johnstone notes: “As of this writing I’ve been able to find very few news outlets reporting on this at all, the most mainstream being a Reuters article with the very tame headline “Swedish court rejects delay of Assange hearing over ill-health: lawyer”. The Sydney Morning Herald also covered the story without even mentioning illness in headline, instead going with “Swedish court rejects effort to delay Assange hearing”. The much smaller alternative media outlet World Socialist Website has been the only outlet I’ve found so far which reports on Samuelson’s statement in anything resembling its proper scale, publishing a good article titled “Despite Assange’s ill-health, Swedish court rejects delay to hearing” a few hours ago.”

Assange has been transferred to the hospital wing of Belmarsh prison

Samuelson said in a letter to the court that he had visited Assange in the hospital wing of his prison. He said that Assange’s health was such that he could not hold a normal conversation.

Assange’s health had already been failing when he was in the Ecuadorean embassy. Doctors who visited him in January of 2018 said he badly needed care but could not get it. Johnstone concludes that given their actions authorities are in effect causing what could be called the slow assassination of Assange: “We have been watching the slow-motion assassination of Julian Assange. They have been choking him to death by tactical psyops, siege tactics, and wilful neglect as surely as if they placed a noose tied around his neck, not just in Belmarsh Prison but in the embassy as well. ”

However it seems that if that does not work plan B is to have him extradited to the US to face 18 charges and a jail term if found guilty on all charges of up to 170 years. Death now or in jail. That is US justice for a whistle blower who revealed many of the US dirty deeds which include shooting a Reuter’s journalist and his driver from a helicopter in Iraq as shown on the appended video.

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