Best columns: Europe
How Assange evaded justice
Justice was not served in the case of Julian Assange, said Oisin Cantwell. Seven years ago, two women accused the WikiLeaks founder of sexually assaulting them when he visited Stockholm to give a lecture. When a court in the U.K.—his home at the time—ordered the Australian to be deported to Sweden in 2012, he took refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he’s been ever since. Assange refused to leave the building, saying that extradition to Sweden was a ruse to extradite him forward to the U.S., where he claims he’s wanted for leaking classified State Department documents. Last week, Sweden’s chief prosecutor, Marianne Ny, dropped her country’s rape investigation, saying Assange’s evasions had made it impossible for them to pursue their probe. It’s the right call, but it’s still a failure of justice. Assange is now crowing that he’s been exonerated, but of course he has not: Instead, “two women who have been exposed to considerable amounts of bile and hatred over the past six years will not have their cases tested” in open court. Nor is Assange, 45, free. If he steps out of the embassy, British police will likely arrest him for jumping bail, and nobody knows if there’s a U.S. warrant. “There are no winners in this sad story.”
Rejecting European values
Are we headed for a “Polexit”? asked Maciej Stasinski. Poland’s ruling right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) has already started to distance the country from the democratic and liberal European Union “by trampling on the constitution, the rule of law, the division of powers, and civil liberties.” Now it’s adding the embrace of nationalism and racism to its anti-European tilt and setting up a showdown with the EU. The issue is simple: At the height of the migrant crisis, in 2015, the EU agreed to spread some 160,000 asylum seekers among the bloc’s member states, a decision Poland voted against. Now, the EU has warned Poland that it will face legal sanctions if it does not participate. But the PiS adamantly refuses, saying that it is “impossible” for our country of 38 million to resettle the 6,200 people that make up our share of the refugee burden. Clearly, “that is a lie.” The Catholic Church in Poland has offered a plan for each parish to take in one refugee family—and with more than 10,000 Polish parishes, we could take in many thousands of people. Yet our “ostentatiously Catholic” government, the same government that welcomed Pope Francis to Poland last year with open arms, won’t even consider it. How long will the EU continue to support a country that “doesn’t care about European values”?