High Court rejects Julian Assange’s extradition appeal

// 2 November 2011

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Warning: this post contains references to sexual violence.

Today the High Court has rejected Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s appeal against extradition to Sweden to face charges of rape and other sexual violence. The full reasoning in the case can be found here and a summary of some of the grounds here.

Assange’s guilt or innocence on these allegations is a matter for the investigatory and judicial processes in Sweden to address – hence the extradition request in the first place. However, even if he is wholly innocent of the charges, in the course of these proceedings, Assange has shown a reprehensible willingness to promote numerous specious forms of rape apologism in a bid to get himself off the hook. His lawyers have argued, variously, that it isn’t rape to penetrate a sleeping woman, and that there are no charges to answer if a man pins down a struggling woman and tries to penetrate her without a condom, despite her objections to this.

The good news is that the High Court has rejected all of this garbage, stating, in its ruling:

“It is quite clear that the gravamen of the offence described is that Mr Assange had sexual intercourse with her without a condom and that she had only been prepared to consent to sexual intercourse with a condom. The description of the conduct makes clear that he consummated sexual intercourse when she was asleep and that she had insisted upon him wearing a condom. …… it is difficult to see how a person could reasonably have believed in consent if the complaint alleges a state of sleep or half sleep, and secondly it avers that consent would not have been given without a condom. There is nothing in the statement from which it could be inferred that he reasonably expected that she would have consented to sex without a condom.” (para 124)

Or, to use the more concise words provided by the Student Activism tumblr:

British court in Assange ruling: No means no. Not without a condom means not without a condom. And no, you can’t just screw her in her sleep.

Comments From You

HarpyMarx // Posted 3 November 2011 at 11:41 am

Unfortunately, there are still some on the Left who believe that Assange has been “set-up” by the state, conspiracy theorists working over time on this. They just come across as rape apologists. I wonder if there woulda have been the same reaction if Assange was some rabid right-winger, who knows? But some on the Left need to reassess who they hold-up and worship as demigods, faux messiah, of progressive politics. Assange is neither progressive nor a champion of fighting oppression. He isn’t wikileaks. Assange maintained that he would like to give his side of the story, well, he can. He can face his accusers in a court in Sweden and give his side of the story where the evidence can be tested. Btw I would have thought that Britain was worse than Sweden re extradition to the USA.

What has appalled me is that some Left-wingers have accused these women of being involved in some “honey trap” organised by the CIA and other surreal theories, while they do this an injustice is being done to these women with all this vilification and demonisation.

I was not impressed either that he spoke at the Occupy LSX at the original protest outside St Paul’s. He’s divisive to the movement.

I am so so disgusted with these poster boys of the Left who do no wrong and are worshipped a la cult of the personality and when allegations of rape and sexual assault are made the poster boy is believe unconditionally while the woman/women are vilified. So much for being against oppression and for women’s rights.

Laurel // Posted 3 November 2011 at 3:43 pm

the honey-trap argument is hilarious in this case. so what? someone way paid so refuse sex without a condom and take it? or to pretend to be asleep? a straightforward ‘i said no and he didnt listen’ story would have worked better in that case.

if there WAS any conspiracy argument to be had, its that he’s likely to go to court and prison over it, unlike the vast majority of people accused of rape and sexual abuse, as many survivors will be only too aware of. that’s the only thing that is suspect about this case; that it’s being taken seriously.

looking at the defense notes it makes me wonder if any of the ‘free assange’ crew has actually read the case before making assumptions of his innocence. of course if they worry hes going to get the bradley manning treatment then i understand that, but this ‘free assange’ business is far too simplistic when such a terrible thing has allegedly been done.

perfectblack // Posted 5 November 2011 at 7:04 am

I also don’t think there was a conspiracy from the state but I’m also quite disappointed with feminists who are so quick with their judgement and see only one side.

A no is a no, but it should also be uttered in a way the man understands what she wants.

quote from A’s testimony (sorry if that’s offensive for anyone)

“A said that she felt quite tearful when she was held fast and could not get hold of a condom and felt that “this could end badly.” On a question A says that Assange must have known it was a condom that A was reaching for and he therefore held her arms to prevent her.

After a moment Assange asked what A was doing and why she had closed her legs together. A told him that she wanted him to put on a condom before he came into her. Assange released her arms and put on a condom that A took out for him.”

You quoted that in your blog about the hearing in July and left the last part out.

Possibly you classify this also as a rape excuse and you think a women doesn’t need to resist. But I think when a woman goes for a one night stand she should state from the beginning what she wants.

[Note from Jolene Tan: edited to remove references to the complainant’s name]

Jolene Tan // Posted 5 November 2011 at 4:37 pm

@perfectblack

I’m all for everyone involved in sexual encounters – one night stand or otherwise – making their wishes and desires known as clearly as possible to any other people involved. But why do you place the burden on A to state that she wants to use a condom rather than on Assange to say that he intends not to? And how can any of that justify or excuse physically restraining someone else in order to attempt to penetrate them as they try to move away? Which is still – in the testimony you’ve quoted – exactly what Assange is said to have done.

perfectblack // Posted 9 November 2011 at 6:37 am

Because she started the whole encounter by coming home when she was said to be away and by suggesting to sleep together in her bed. She initiated sex and found out that he is a cad. So why is it a “burden” to say that she feels abused, it is normal

Jolene Tan // Posted 9 November 2011 at 2:50 pm

Initiating a sexual encounter does not mean consenting to every single variety of sexual act conceivable; nor does it license another party to physically hold you down while acting on the assumption that consent to a particular act has been given.

Laurel // Posted 12 November 2011 at 9:32 pm

i think itd be unusual to have never shared a bed with a male friend (or lover even) without sex playing a part in it. im quite the ‘promiscuous’ person and yet some of the time which ive shared a bed with others i have not had any interest in sex and would have seen initiation further than i wanted as assault of some kind or another, whether or not id see it as worth taking legal action over personally, and both the cases put forward about Assange i most definitely would. when youre asleep? you cant consent to that. bare in mind as well that not everybody is straight so you could say the same about sleeping in the same bed or room as ANYbody.

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