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Newsflash: not being extradited

Our foreign affairs minister Uri Rosenthal made headlines today as he responded to some questions from two members of the Dutch Parliament.

Do you agree [...] that the Netherlands will not cooperate with criminal procedures of the American authorities, such as in the case of potential suspects connected to Wikileaks. If not, why not?

Answer: In case the US indicts mr Gonggrijp at any point in the future and requests his extradition, the request will be studied to see if the Netherlands can cooperate. Such a request would need to specify, among other things, the criminal offenses under investigation, such that the American interests of prosecution can be weighed against the interests of the accused. This process has adequate checks and balances. I therefore do not exclude the possibility that The Netherlands will cooperate.

This has caused yet another media storm and a lot of people getting upset to the point of even petitioning the queen. I am truly grateful to all the MPs, journalists and netizens that have shown they are right on top of this as well as to the many people who have mailed to support me in what must seem very difficult times. As we speak the international media seem to be picking up the story . I think it’s time to calm down a bit. I’m really OK and I think this is a becoming a bit overblown.

About the answers our foreign minister gave: I think there is not much else he could have said. Was anyone really expecting him to say: “We have an extradition treaty with the US, and we have laws in place that deal with extradition requests. But if there is ever an extradition request for Gonggrijp we’ll ignore all that and we’ll tell you now that we’ll never extradite him, no matter what.” ?

I may disagree with the people that signed a treaty which allows the extradition of nationals. I may disagree with the Dutch take on the US legal system as being equivalent to ours when it comes to protecting the rights of those presumed innocent and I may disagree with a lot of other things. I may disagree with there being adequate checks and balances. I also think a blanket provision for not extraditing in clearly political matters would have been very nice. But the minister is not asked for his opinion on standing laws and treaties. He is mostly stating facts and I think it’s perfectly OK for a foreign affairs minister to take a slightly legalistic stand and just clarify the current state of affairs. So give his excellency a break. (For now, anyway.)

It may be good if we all take a deep breath and get grounded a bit here. There are no new events other than a minister in The Netherlands providing rather obvious answers to questions from MPs. I really don’t think the minister giving perfectly predictable answers should be news. There is, as of yet, no indictment. Let alone an extradition request. I helped publish a video documenting war crimes. My lawyers and me have absolutely no idea what crime they could even charge me with. If they indeed want something from me, the prosecutors are likely facing the same problem.

So there may very well never be an extradition request, just a very long period of nothing much happening. Which doesn’t mean this isn’t something to worry about or keep a close eye on. But it’s probably not worthy of getting in a nationwide or even global frenzy over just yet.

I’ll try to write some more about how I’ve been and what’s going on over the next days and weeks.

25 comments to Newsflash: not being extradited

  • [...] 2 Rop Gonggrijp blogs, mentions this petition here. Explains there is no extradition request ATM and urges all to tone [...]

  • Hi Rop,
    Thank you for you blog and urge for calming and grounding. I myself got very upset about headlines on your possible extraditing. You are right about having to respect the law. However there is a difference between the xs4all way of respecting the law, requiring court orders to release information about customers and upc’s way of handing out information on the first email received. I have seen mobypicture.com go offline by networksolutions because of 1 single image. Dutch government seems to try to kill privacy over and over justified by safety and terrorism. DNA database for all dutch residents, communication taps for everybody. In this light I got upset on the idea of selling your skin before you were killed.

    Hope you and your family are well and you will still be an inspiration for us.

    Kind regards,
    Jilles Groenendijk
    NEABBS/THIS ;-)

  • Anyway – holding thumbs with crossed fingers that some enlightment finds its way to the US.

    Sascha

  • I admire your ability to look through the hype, Rop! I’m sure that in this case I’d be hopping mad and unable to be so nuanced. Keep it up.

  • Het bericht van minister Rosental is zeer zorgelijk. Daarmee opent de minister de deur voor de Amerikaanse justitie een strafklacht tegen Gonggrijp in te dienen. Bovendien stelt de minister ten onrechte dat het uitleveringsrecht met de VS met voldoende waarborgen omkleed is. Dat is het niet. Amerikaanse justitie kan vorderen wat het wil. Zolang aan formaliteiten voldaan is, wordt er uitgeleverd. Er zal geen toets op inhoud plaatsvinden. Zodra er een verzoek van de VS ligt, is het over en uit met Rop Gonggrijp. Minister Rosental heeft op voorhand de rechtspositie van Rop Gonggrijp beschadigd met zijn opmerkingen. Rop Gonggrijp is door minister Rosental vogelvrij verklaard. Minister Rosental bereid kennelijk ‘deportatie’ van activisten voor.

  • Hi Rop,

    as the guy that started the petition to the queen, let me explain for a second why I did this.

    I am fully aware there is no extradition request ATM and the minister in charge was replying to the theoretical question what would happen if such a request was logged with the dutch authorities. The answer of the minister is not satisfying. It leaves a bad taste as it implies that extradition is just a formal thingy and not a fundamental question.

    Hence I decided to put the matter upfront and asking her majesty the queen to make sure that your fundamental rights are safe and watched over.

    If an extradition request is based on clear violations of US law, it still remains to be seen if you as a ducth person can be simply put under their (local) laws while living and acting outside of their territory. This question is big enough to point out to the public.

    If you prefer to tone down the whole issue, just send me a mail and I will stop the petition. However, should th extradition request become reality, it might be good to have an impressive petition at hand to support you.

    Up to you to decide and please accept my excuses if you think I am overreacting and harming you or your cause.

    Jan Wildeboer

  • Funny what happens, wenn you decide to save the world ;-)

  • rop

    Jan:

    First of all: Thank you for standing up for me…

    > As the guy that started the petition to the queen, let me explain
    > for a second why I did this.
    >
    > I am fully aware there is no extradition request ATM and the
    > minister in charge was replying to the theoretical question what
    > would happen if such a request was logged with the dutch
    > authorities. The answer of the minister is not satisfying. It leaves
    > a bad taste as it implies that extradition is just a formal thingy
    > and not a fundamental question.

    I agree. The problem however is that that is what the treaty dictates. This is what you get if you don’t take sovereignty serious enough. But the minister was not asked what he thinks of the treaty…

    > Hence I decided to put the matter upfront and asking her majesty
    > the queen to make sure that your fundamental rights are safe
    > and watched over.

    I don’t make a big stink about it, but I am definitely a republican in the sense that I would favor a republic over a kingdom. I think the practice of passing the job of head-of-state from parent to child should have gone out centuries ago. So I guess I have some issues with asking a non-elected queen for any favors.

    > If you prefer to tone down the whole issue, just send me a mail and
    > I will stop the petition. [...] Up to you to decide and please accept my
    > excuses if you think I am overreacting and harming you or your cause.

    You asking people to sign a petition that I feel is not needed sends a bit of a double message maybe. As much as I appreciate the gesture, it’s probably much better to save the commotion for when there is a real need for it, such as when the US government is actually asking for my extradition. I’m guessing this may very well never happen though.

  • [...] stelt dat hij de Amerikaanse strafrechtelijke belangen zal afwegen tegen de belangen van Gonggrijp. Gonggrijp zelf reageert overigens erg rustig op de [...]

  • [...] Der niederländische Hacker Rop Gonggrijp, dessen Gruppe „Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet“ die dortigen Wahlmaschinen als unzuverlässig enttarnte und deren Abschaffung bewirkte, hat nun ein ähnliches Problem wie Julian Assange: Die Amerikaner möchten ihn wegen seiner Arbeit für WikiLeaks gerne in ihr schönes Land einladen, wo bereits an Bradley Manning vorgeführt wird, wie man mit Unverurteilten in einem Rechtsstaat umzugehen hat. [...]

  • @rop – I didn’t call upon the queen because I prefer royalism, I tried to make the point that if a government fails to do th eright thing, we should call upon the constitutional leader, even if she effectively cannot really make a change.

    For perspective – I am a citizen of the first transnational republic – http://www.utnr.org and I also am one of the founders of http://www.stallmanism.com ;-)

    Sarcasm is my middlename.

    Jan

  • Paul

    Strategy of the USA against Wikileaks: if we can not bring them to ‘trial’ we can always scare their supporters away.

    This is not about bringing Assange or Gonggrijp to trial; this is about effectively stopping Wikileaks by stopping Wikileaks from getting support and resources.

  • Adrianus

    Rop,

    however much I like you, I did not sign the petition for you.

    The fact that it is ‘directed towards the Queen’ does not come into play as well; it is the visibility of this item.

    And however much it may seem to be about you, it is in fact broader than that; it is the attitude with which things happen that signify a broader problem.

    Yes, you are completely right in that the Minister answered the legally correct answer.

    But the verbiage with which this happened really conveys the message that our government will, as you put it yourself, ask ‘how high?’ if the U.S. decides to say jump.

    As I know you, you do not wish to be a figurehead for issues that you have not chosen yourself, but in this matter you are interchangable for any other person (to me) that would have had the (mis)fortune to be ‘handled’ in this instance of ‘just checking’ by GL.

    The fact is that we do not have any ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ buttons for our Government like on Facebook (now there’s a thought…), but of all people, you should see that at least some of us would like to express an emotion of disapproval that will be noticed by the Government. No more, no less.

    And that emotion of disapproval is not about you personally, it is about the context in which the legally correct answers are embedded.

    Legally correct answers, AND an attitude that affects any and all citizens of The Netherlands.

    The attitude of “well, if there’s a treaty, and the letters fit, there is nothing we can do” laissez faire attitude just won’t do.

    What is next? The U.S. starts indicting people that express their opinions on the Net in a manner which is ‘illegal’ in the U.S. and we also start shipping them over there?

    To me, it is not the content of the treaty or even you that is at stake here, but an attitude that let’s our values be overridden with values that we all try to avoid becoming the norm over here.

    In less than a month we are going to celebrate our Freedom… but looking at all of this, it is not a Freedom Of Speech, but Freedom in a manner of speaking.

    On the other hand… relaxing is always a good idea, no matter what happens. ;)

  • bounce

    Point of order: American congresscritters do regularly throw hissy fits and enact laws that provide for exactly that sort of petty exception. Like, oh, how they’re refusing to see the right mess the USoA made themselves in gitmo by enacting a law that forbids gitmo detainees to be brought to the USoA (gitmo apparently doesn’t count) or like that law authorising military force for retrieval of American Citizens[tm] should any be brought before the ICC. Not that this would ever happen (the ICC paperwork doesn’t allow for it unless and until the USoA actually signs that treaty) but they put through that “we don’t play well with others law” anyway. Detail: The target of this standing declaration of war on the ICC host country is also a NATO partner. Now you know how much being a NATO partner is worth.

    Rop is entirely right that the Dutch minister couldn’t very well say anything but what he did, but we really ought to ask ourselves if we want to extradite anyone at all and especially Dutch Citizens to such a country. Why do we still have an extradition treaty with them and is it worth it? What point is there to try and play well with someone you know is not going to reciprocate?

    I feel for you if such questions make your head hurt, but if we don’t address the issue then our politicians and other bureaucrats will keep on doing their thing like signing treaties and playing nice with other governments instead of caring for our own citizens. In this as in so many other things it’s time and past time to make our voice heard.

  • [...] Gonggrijp: I think there is not much else he could have said. Was anyone really expecting him to say: “We have an extradition treaty with the US, and we have laws in place that deal with extradition requests. But if there is ever an extradition request for Gonggrijp we’ll ignore all that and we’ll tell you now that we’ll never extradite him, no matter what? [...]

  • Harry Buimer

    Admire your brilliant mind more and more Rop. Know that I will stand right behind you all the way for any support when needed as much as I can. Greetz, Harry

  • aru

    I can’t see anything wrong with the minister’s reply. But a few additional supportive statements just as legally correct wouldn’t have been amiss.

    And…

    Well, I don’t know the legal costs, but whatever it is, it is probably too much. I am sure there are other useful ways to spend all this money.

    And I think lawyers shouldn’t just speak of the law or within the law but should be speaking how to take forward the law.

    Law should be for clearing the sticks, stones and thorns in one’s path.

    >I have some issues with asking a non-elected queen for any favors<
    If there is a possibility that an intervention can reduce unnecessary legal costs, then is it not a responsibility & not just a favor?. Citizen's tax (one's time & effort) supports hereditary privileges. Then their time & effort can also be returned, when useful. (Perhaps not in this case)

    And though, in general, I support the feeling behind the petition creation (I would rather have this spirit than apathy), it is good to learn of the non-support too.

    Thanks for the detailed, rational & calming post.

  • Zenon

    Which doesn’t mean this isn’t something to worry about or keep a close eye on. But it’s probably not worthy of getting in a nationwide or even global frenzy over just yet.

    If a frenzy would create pressure for NL to stop extraditing its own citizens, it would be very worthwhile irrespective of the rest.

  • Cas Tuyn

    A country that excludes its own citizens and military from prosecution by the international court in The Hague should be denied cooperation in extradition requests for our citizens.

    If you want to be the judge of the world, then also allow yourself to be judged.

  • G-J. van der Wolf

    Your support of the minister of Foreign Affaires is admirable. I, myself, would feel left in the open by the response the minister gave. I expect my Foreign Affaires minister to have a better grasp on this kind of issues. I agree with other comments that it’s bigger than you. You’re used to taking heat. From your past actions I conclude you are a strong believer and supporter of a open and just society. I geuss that was the very reason that you helped with the film.

    I appreciate the attitude and request to not get ahead of (y)ourself(s). On the other hand, as another strong believer and supporter of a open and just society myself: bullying behaviour as the USoA is showing should be corrected the very minute it is used, is my opinion. I therefor think that it is functional to point out to the minister that a more appropriate response was in order. You, nor anybody else for that matter, should be made scapegoat or whatever to scare people into hushing up. I suspect we agree on this point. I also hope that you will accept our support the moment people will try to use their scare tactics on you and the people’s representatives like the minister of Foreign Affaires fail to stand up to that kind of behavior.

  • [...] Gonggrijp zelf blijft er nuchter onder: About the answers our foreign minister gave: I think there is not much else he could have said. Was anyone really expecting him to say: “We have an extradition treaty with the US, and we have laws in place that deal with extradition requests. But if there is ever an extradition request for Gonggrijp we’ll ignore all that and we’ll tell you now that we’ll never extradite him, no matter what.”? Link Categorie: QvdD Tags: cyberdissident / mensenrechten / rop gonggrijp / Rosenthal / sp [...]

  • Hi Rop,

    I think u’re doing great by keeping your head cool about all THIS fuss! I sincerely hope u keep doing it.

    However, only the idea that our minister “is willing to” spit on our constitutional rights, break the law and trade our standards of freedom.. is striking enough to say a word or two about it. So I kinda agree with Jan Wildeboer on this issue. Scumbags like minister Rosenthal should in no case get any manouvring space at all! Perhaps he’s the one we should offer to Gestpo, so he can rot in their illegal foreign prisons (which they don’t dare to host at home!) in stead of folks who stand up for truth, the folks with honor and decency, like the young and innocent fellow Bradley Manning?!

    Having said that, I’m personly very happy that 2 petitions are on going at the moment. Even though they have to nail Assange and Jonsdottir first, before they come to u.. According to the 2 petitions results so far, in just 2 days time – and various reactions I’ve seen on social networks so far… it’s pretty safe to say that Dutch division of Wikileaks army is ready to strike back, whoever touches u!

    Cheers and have a nice day! :)

  • jan met de korte achternaam

    Goh, wat past die Uri Rosenthal toch goed in de nederlandse politiek : totaal geen ruggegraat!
    Een beetje om de vraag heen draaien, en vervolgens zeggen dat het niet uitgesloten is, grrr

  • [...] Gonggrijp writes on his blog: “It may be good if we all take a deep breath and get grounded a bit here. There are no new [...]

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