Thursday, December 9, 2010

Theater of the absurd, London-style

An arrest warrant and an international manhunt all for someone who may very well not have broken a law. Add another country's judge's decision to deny bail and you have all the ingredients for a production in the theater of the absurd.

The judge said he had concerns that Mr. Assange might flee the jurisdiction and fail to appear in court. Well, Your Honor, Mr. Assange made the arrangements to turn himself in -- that doesn't exactly sound like the workings of a man intending to flee.

Wikileak head Julian Assange is being held without bail in London for having sex in Sweden either with a condom that broke or with no condom at all -- which apparently isn't a criminal offense in Sweden. Or maybe he's being held on suspicion of "sex by surprise" (which carries a $715 dollar fine). Or maybe it's rape. No one appears to know. We do know that the complaining witnesses went to the police only after Mr. Assange refused to go to the hospital to be tested for a sexually transmitted disease. The two ladies claim they never wanted Mr. Assange arrested -- they just wanted him tested.

The whole scenario sounds vaguely similar to the way men accused of domestic assault are treated in Harris County. The police are called to the scene and arrest the man. He's taken downtown and booked into the jail with either no bail or an excessively high bail so that he can't bond out before a magistrate reads the charge against him and issued an emergency protective order. And, just as with Mr. Assange's case, the complaining witness will sometimes (often?) turn around and say she never wanted her man arrested, she only wanted the police to tell him to leave.

Whatever the case may be, holding a man in one country for an alleged offense that may or may not have occurred in another country that only carries a fine and denying bail does seem a bit much.

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