Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Julian Assange is no hero

The Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is trending worldwide on Twitter as I write in reaction to the news that broke last night (UK time) that he was seeking political asylum inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Swedish prosecutors want to question him over allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two female former Wikileaks volunteers. Mr Assange denies any wrongdoing and his lawyers have fought against his extradition since his arrest in Britain in 2010 which he has every right to do.

It is ironic however that a man who has made his name campaigning for transparency should attempt to run away from clearing his name through the courts by seeking asylum in the way he has. Twitter reaction includes a lot of people who are painting Assange out to be a hero and some kind of political freedom fighter. This is further illustrated by the front page of the Wikileaks site which counts how many days Assange has been in custody without charge - failing to mention that this is because he has been fighting extradition from the UK to Sweden during this time, so by delaying any formal proceedings.

Assange's innocence or guilt must be decided by the courts in the proper way. The allegations against him are too serious for this not to happen. Those who are portraying him as a hero base this on the work of Wikileaks over the past few years. They are wrong to do so in this current context; Julian Assange is not above the law and must be extradited to Sweden.


  1. You completely ignore that the reason he doesn't want to go to Sweden is that he believes it is likely to lead to his extradition to the US. It is not to avoid answering the rape and sexual assault charges. Also, the things he has been charged with in relation to the women, however unsavoury, I don't believe would be an offence in the UK. You don't have to believe Assange is a hero to have sympathy with his reasoning.

  2. Considering the UK's close ties with the US I can't see how Sweden is more likely to extradite him than we are. The whole thing smacks of double standards - he calls for transparency from politicians and businesses around the world but doesn't live by the same rules.


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