Letter to the Swedish Parliament Seeking Answers to Questions to Foreign Minister by Nils Melzer

On the 25th March, the Support Committee for Julian Assange (Sweden) handed a letter to the Swedish Parliament demanding answers to Nils Melzer questions to the Swedish Foreign Minister

A delegation from the Support Committee for Julian Assange in Stockholm handed over a letter demanding the Swedish Parliament to investigate the legality of government official’s actions in the case of Julian Assange. They met with Peder Nielsen, the Chancellor of the Swedish Parliamentary Committee on the Constitution, and Marilena Cottone, the Committee Assistant, from the Swedish Riksdagen´s Parliamentary Administration.

The Letter

To the Members and Deputies of the Constitutional Committee 
Karin Enström(M), Hans Ekström (S), Marie Granlund (S), Lars Jilmstad (M),Matheus Enholm (SD), Per-Arne Håkansson (S), Per Schöldberg (C),Mia Sydow Mölleby (V), Ida Drougge (M), Fredrik Lindahl (SD), LailaNaraghi (S), Tuve Skånberg (KD), Daniel Andersson (S), Tina Acketoft(L), Camilla Hansén (MP), Erik Ottoson (M), Sofie Eriksson (S), LarsBeckman (M), Alexander Ojanne (S), Annicka Engblom (M), Per Söderlund(SD), Ingela Nylund Watz (S), Linda Modig (C), Jessica Wetterling(V), Pontus Andersson (SD), Patrik Björck (S), Lars Adaktusson (KD),Maria Strömkvist (S), Bengt Eliasson (L), Lars Andersson (SD),Rasmus Ling (MP), Ann-Sofie Alm (M), Jörgen Grubb (SD), Allan Widman(L), Nina Lundström (L), Anna Sibinska (MP), Malin Björk (C), AliEsbati (V), Andreas Carlson (KD),Mikael Oscarsson (KD), Erik Ezelius(S), Kalle Olsson (S), Amanda Palmstierna (MP), Ulrika Karlsson (M). 

The Swedish Government’s action in the case of Julian Assange must now be treated in a proper manner after the letter with 50 questions that the law professor Nils Melzer, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, has sent to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).  According to the Convention Against Torture that Sweden has ratified, Sweden is obliged to answer these questions, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not done so in a satisfactory way. 

In his acclaimed book The Case of Julian Assange, published in German, English and Swedish (Karneval publishing house 2021), Nils Melzer describes what he calls “the greatest legal scandal of our time”, as an international, but also a Swedish, one. Sweden’s political and legal actions including numerous  delays, missing answers and the systematic shift of focus became a way to neutralize one of the most important whistleblowers of our time who revealed  very strongly suspected war crimes. Former Secretary General of the Swedish Bar Association Anne Ramberg and former Chief Prosecutor Sven-Erik Alheim are among the well-known lawyers who have sharply criticized Sweden’s handling. 

The author Jan Myrdal claimed in a letter to the Constitutional Committee on 11 December 2014 that the then Prime  Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s statement to the press on 8 February 2011 not only constituted “a gross attempt to mislead public opinion” and “a blatant example of the cabinet rule that Chapter 12 of the Constitutional Instrument of Government § 2 shall prevent”, which damaged Julian Assange’s reputation. 

Jan Myrdal also noted that documents revealed by Edward Snowden and reproduced in facsimile on page 230 in Glenn Greenwald’s book Big Brother Sees You: Edward Snowden and the Global Surveillance State (published in Swedish by Leopard 2014) show that on August 10, 2010, the United States asked nations with forces in Afghanistan – which included Sweden – to consider prosecuting Julian Assange. Three days later, on 13 August 2010, legal proceedings against Assange were initiated in Sweden. According to a reply from Tony Holmstedt, a Committee Assistant, to the author and journalist Stefan Lindgren, the Constitutional Committee had not processed Jan Myrdal’s letter. 

Today we know that Sweden’s handling of the case later further resulted in Julian Assange being held in the high-risk prison Belmarsh in Great Britain where he, without being convicted of any crime, remains imprisoned under extreme torture-like conditions and runs a great risk of being extradited to the United States and a threatening life sentence. 

 All major human rights organizations and journalists’ federations have demanded the release of Assange and that U.S. Government under President Joe Biden drop the charges. Since the summer of 2018, the Support Committee for Julian Assange has, among other things, held some thirty manifestations in central locations in Stockholm and outside the U.S. and U.K. embassies as well as at mass media sites. We urge the Constitutional Committee to in turn urge the Government to answer the questions posed by Nils Melzer in accordance with Sweden’s obligations under international law. 

The Swedish Support Committee for Julian Assange
Stockholm 23 of March 2022

Arne Ruth
Sigyn Meder 
Kristina Hillgren
Aliro Cerda
Vania Ramírez
Anders Romelsjö
Christer Lundgren

Stödkommittén för Julian Assange
Support Committee for Julian Assange

Note: The Swedish constitution prohibits the interference by cabinet ministers (“minister rule”) in decisions to be made by independent government agencies/departments which are responsible that their decisions are guided by existing law and not by political interference.