It has been known for years that Julian Assange was given a special treatment, in a negative sense, in Sweden. However, there is a collective silence in Sweden, especially in government and parliament, regarding the abuses done to Assange. Hardly anyone there will stand up for the rights of Assange. An exception is Amineh Kakabaveh, who has asked a critical question about Assange (all links in this post are to content in Swedish).
The famous journalist Günter Walraff says about the Swedish culture of silence:
– The treatment of Assange can be seen as a yardstick, a litmus test for the future global boundaries of journalism and freedom of speech. It’s a scary perspective. Nils Melzer calls the ongoing treatment of Assange in Belmarsh Prison a deliberate form of psychological torture. Normal prisoners, including those convicted of murder, may receive children and relatives. They may hold confidential talks with their lawyers. Assange is denied all this. You consciously create difficulties in his daily life. You want to make him desperate through a conscious form of disorientation. The strength of the abuse is constantly increasing. Assange is barred from attending the trial on normal terms. In the courtroom, he is placed behind a glass wall, much like an animal to be observed and at the same time kept separate from humans. He can be isolated eleven hours a day. He is not even allowed to hug his own children. And he was denied contact with his lawyers for several months.
– All this is about depriving him of his dignity, of breaking him down as a human being.
The biggest revelation of Assange and WikiLeaks is perhaps the treatment of Assange himself, which shows that our freedom of speech, and thus our democracy, failed this “litmus test”. It also reminds of how Swedish authority cooperated with Gestapo.