For more than three years Julian Assange has been living in Ecuadorean soil in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. He is prevented from leaving by a twenty four hour guard maintained outside the Embassy by the Metropolitan Police at a cost to Londoners of millions of pounds. He has been ordered by the English Courts to go to Sweden where he will be questioned about sexual assault allegations but Mr Assange does not trust Sweden; he fears that if he leaves the Embassy he will be taken to Sweden and thence to the United States where after a trial will be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a Federal prison for having been party to leaking information about what probably amounts to war crimes by the United States in the course of its conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq. He thinks that the sexual assault allegations are simply a device to get him to the USA.
He is probably right because until now the Swedish prosecutor has refused to take the short flight from Stockholm to London and question Mr Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. That refusal, inexplicable to me, has costs Londoners millions of pounds. It would have been cheaper by far to hire a private jet, fly over the Swedish prosecutors, put them up in the most expensive hotels, provide chauffeurs and give them a few million pounds each, than it has been to maintain the guard to keep Mr Assange locked up in the Embassy.
Today Sweden has indicated that its prosecutors are now prepared to travel to London to question Mr Assange. It seem that the statute of limitations that applies in Sweden to the sexual assault claims means that after August this year Mr Assange cannot face any trial on those allegations. Now the prosecutors, who have always maintained that the “quality of the interview” (whatever that means but which sounds somewhat sinister to me) will be lower in London than it would in Sweden, have reached the view that a poor quality interview is better than none.
Presumably at some stage Mr Assange would have lived on Ecuadorian soil in London long enough to qualify for Ecuadorean citizenship; once a citizen I would commend Ecuador to appoint him to their diplomatic staff, which would enable him to travel to Ecuador where he may continue to make mischief for the USA by exposing wrongdoing.