Fallet Julian Assange

Sweden's Minister of Social Affairs calls Assange a 'coward' and a 'pitiful wretch'

Publicerad 17 augusti 2012 kl 03.29

Inrikes.This Tuesday, Sweden’s Minister of Social Affairs Göran Hägglund called Wikileaks founder Julian Assange a ”coward” and a ”pitiful wretch”. He added that Assange is a ”scumbag” if the accusations against him are true.

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When news broke on Tuesday that Ecuador intended to grant Julian Assange’s request for asylum, Sweden’s Minister of Social Affairs Göran Hägglund sent the following Twitter message:

”Sick. A coward who does not dare to have his case tried by the court. If the accusations against him are true, he is a scumbag.”

It is not clear what Mr. Hägglund meant by the statement that Assange is afraid to have ”his case tried by the court”, there being no charges against Assange who is merely wanted for questioning.

The Twitter message was part of a friendly conversation between Mr. Hägglund and Niklas Svensson, a journalist at the Swedish tabloid Expressen. Mr. Svensson was the journalist who, in August 2010, first reported that Assange was wanted by the Swedish police. Expressen has since published a long series of highly critical articles about Assange.

In the course of the Twitter conversation Mr. Hägglund jokingly remarked to Mr. Svensson that perhaps Expressen could smuggle Assange out from Ecuador’s London embassy in the newspaper’s bus.

In an interview in Expressen on Wednesday, Mr. Hägglund added that Assange appeared to be a ”pitiful wretch”. Mr. Hägglund also stated that he believed that Ecuador had granted Assange asylum because of Ecuador’s ”hatred against the U.S.” or, alternatively, that Ecuador had done so because the country wanted publicity.

Formally, the Swedish government cannot instruct a court or an authority as to how an individual case should be decided. However, Swedish judges are appointed by the government, often after having served for a period of at least six years in government ministries. Last week it was discovered that Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, had sent a letter to the Swedish Enforcement Authority. According to several legal experts, the purpose of the letter was to illegally put pressure on the Authority not to seize property belonging to the Russian government.

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