A question for the #LondonAssembly: Has Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe reduced the cost of the Julian Assange siege operation?

Posted by

Here is my latest letter to my London Assembly representative

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 19.10.02

Dear Mr Evans

Re: Questions regarding the Cost and arrangements for 24/7 MetPol surveillance and guarding Julian Assange the Publisher of WikiLeaks outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in Knightsbridge, London.

Since I wrote to you last, in January this year about Julian Assange and his status at the Ecuadorian embassy, a great number of developments have taken place.

In February the cost of policing hit the £10 million mark causing a public outcry and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told LBC Radio that the operation to keep Mr Assange under surveillance was “sucking our resources.” He said the Met is exploring alternative ways to provide security, adding “we won’t talk about tactics but we are reviewing what options we have.”

Well, as a regular attendant at the solidarity vigil outside the Ecuadorian Embassy I can tell you that little has changed on the ground in the MetPol surveillance operation. The same number of police, the same number of MetPol vans (often as many as five) taking part in the operation and that is just what the naked eye can see, let alone what resources go into it that are undetectable by a member of the public like myself.

Almost three months have passed since his comments. I am writing to you to ask you to inquire and confirm whether what Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said will happen has actually happened and that the cost of surveillance has reduced. The cost at the time was reported to be £10,000 a day. How long are we going to finance this surveillance operation, a siege of an embassy in the heart of London for reasons unclear and certainly not in any way connected to the Londoners’ public interest?

In the meanwhile, Julian Assange’s legal team in Sweden has successfully petitioned the Swedish Supreme Court in February and they were just granted, a hearing. The Swedish Supreme Court will now allow Julian Assange to appeal the Swedish detention order against him. There is every chance that this development may lead to the lifting of the arrest warrant against him. In such case, will the Metropolitan Police continue with their surveillance and guarding operation?

In addition to this development, the Swedish Prosecutor who raised a European Arrest Warrant against Julian Assange in 2010 has in March reviewed her decision and is pursuing Mutual Legal Assistance to question Julian Assange in London, thus progressing the case. This has been a victory for his legal team who have been actively pursuing the progress of the case for the last four years and requesting an interview in London, a path open to her that she had previously rejected to the detriment of our pockets. Since there is every sign of mutual co-operation between the Swedish side and Mr Assange for the progress of this case, what is the point of this expensive surveillance operation?

I attach for your perusal an article by hazelpress investigating the many questions raised around the case that indicate to me the greatest miscarriage of justice has been carried out against Julian Assange over the handling of the Swedish case and we have to ask ourselves whether UK institutions have been complicit. That public money is spent towards the perpetration of this injustice is unbearable. That London Taxpayers including myself are spending our good money in such endeavours instead of financing the quality of our lives through valuable policing is outrageous.

You will find the article here: http://hazelpress.org/rogue-prosecutor/4588948457

Please take every opportunity to investigate the costing reduction as pledged by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

I would like to thank you in advance for your time and interest in this matter,

Yours sincerely

Mrs Emmy Butlin