The prosecutor seeking to have WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange extradited to Sweden on sexual assault allegations is a “well-known radical feminist” with a “biased view” of men, a court heard yesterday.
The accusation against Marianne Ny was made by a retired Swedish appeal court judge, Brita Sundberg-Weitman, who was giving evidence at Mr Assange's extradition hearing at Belmarsh Magistrates Court in London.
Mr Assange (39) is wanted in Sweden on suspicion of rape and other sexual offences said to have taken place in August last year. Ms Sundberg-Weitman said Ms Ny was mounting a “malicious” and “hostile” prosecution of Mr Assange.
She told the court: “She (Ms Ny) has a rather biased view against men in her treatment of sex offences. (She) seems to take it for granted that everyone under prosecution is guilty. I think she is so preoccupied with the situation of battered women and raped women that she has lost her balance.”
About Ms Ny's failure to interview Mr Assange before he left Sweden, five weeks after the allegations were made, she added: “It looks malicious. It would have been so simple to have him heard when he was in Sweden. And once he left Sweden it would have been so easy to have him questioned via telephone or videolink.”
Clare Montgomery QC, for the Swedish authorities, rejected the claims, saying that attempts to have Mr Assange questioned in Sweden had been thwarted by his lawyer who said he was unable to reach his client.
Ms Montgomery also responded to the defence's claim that Mr Assange risks being extradited to the United States, where his organisation's leaking of diplomatic cables has made him a political target, if he is first taken to Sweden.
She said there were no human rights issues to stop the UK surrendering Mr Assange to the Swedish authorities.
But Geoffrey Robertson QC, defending, said that as a rape suspect, Mr Assange was likely to be tried behind closed doors, as is normal practice in Swedish rape cases. He said this would amount to a “flagrant denial of justice”.