Will Sweden Drop the Case Against Assange?

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Most well-informed people know that Julian Assange never had a case to answer in Sweden. In fact he has already cooperated fully with Swedish authorities and been released with no action against him. It was only when Claes Borgström, a politician and lawyer with close ties to the United States, set about getting the case reopened, that the problems started for the Wikileaks founder. News Junkie Post has covered Wikileaks and Assange from the outset. Now, at long last, there are developments in the debacle that may soon result in his release and freedom to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy where he sought refuge when it became clear what the motives were.

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For the first time, a Swedish newspaper SvD (Svenska Dagbladet) has published a highly critical article, by former prosecution lawyer Rolf Hillegren, calling for Sweden to drop all charges because they are an embarrassment to the country. This comes while Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s standing in the opinion polls is at an all-time low due to a failing economy, problems with healthcare, and problems with care for the elderly among other concerns. With elections due in September, there are those who believe this article is aimed at getting the prime minister, minister for justice, and prosecutor general off the hook before the electoral fishing season starts in earnest. Reinfeldt is advised by George W. Bush’s former adviser Karl Rove.

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In his article, Hillegren notes that the Assange debacle has been a disaster for Sweden’s reputation for justice and for its previously acceptable standing in world opinion. The only way out, as he sees it, is to drop all charges against Assange, and while this may be a sour apple, would not be nearly as sour as proceeding with a case of apples riddled with maggots. From the start, it has been clear that the prosecution Borgström was trying to bring was so flimsy it would not stand up in a gentle breeze, let alone in court. Borgström is already notorious for the handling of the Thomas Quick affair, and as News Junkie Post pointed out, is in partnership with former Minister of Justice Thomas Bodström who was complicit in the illegal rendition, at the behest of the US, of Egyptian nationals Ahmed Agiza and Muhammad al-Zery, who faced torture and abuse in the American “war-on-terror” rendition program.

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Claes Borgström is not alone among the prosecution team in being close to prime minister Reinfeldt. Another of the prosecutors is Elisabeth Massi Fritz. As well as representing one of the plaintiffs, she has represented at least one member of the prime minister’s family. While there is nothing basically wrong in this, it begs the following question: what does somebody who represents one of the richest families in the country have to gain in representing an ordinary young woman with a United Kingdom arts degree in photography? Elisabeth Massi Fritz has been making political comments about Julian Assange – remember, Assange has not been charged with a crime – on her website and in newspapers denigrating his character. In consequence, she has been reported to the Swedish Bar Association.

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Marianne Ny (pronounced Knee) was the prosecutor who opposed Assange’s appeal against extradition in the UK. The appeal was presided over by Justice Phillips, who very shortly afterwards retired, then jetted off to take up an extremely lucrative legal post in Qatar, where slavery is still commonplace. Hillegren believes the embarrassment to the UK government will be as cogent a force as in Sweden but is nevertheless a necessity. Why now, after more than three years, has the Swedish press allowed an article like that of Hillegren’s to be published? The Swedish mainstream media is owned by a few wealthy power-mongers and the government has the last say in Sweden as it does in the US and UK.

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Eventually the truth will emerge. Hillegren believes that the women in the case should be paid by the Swedish state as though they had won a case against Assange because they have been injured by the injustice of it all. This is one of the few flaws in the argument in which he previously states that Assange has no case to answer. If the women were paid damages, it would look like Assange had been guilty. Many people who have followed this case believe that the women might well have been informed that there was a lot of money in it for them if they successfully pursued a charge of rape. This would convince such people that the women had been bribed with a payment for damages that would be no more than hush money. In truth, if the charges are dropped, the women should be paid nothing and should be grateful that prosecutions have not been brought against them for making false representations.

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Editor’s Note: Photographs one, four, five and six by Chelsea Libra. Photographs three and seven by Operation Paper Storm, and photograph two by AcidPolly.

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8 Responses to Will Sweden Drop the Case Against Assange?

  1. -8 Vote -1 Vote +1Nafnlaus
    January 16, 2014 at 2:33 am

    You do realize that almost everything you wrote here is false, right?

    There was never any point when all charges against Assange were dropped, he explicitly (as confirmed by multiple courts) did not cooperate fully; the reopening of cases by appeal is extremely common in Sweden and Borgström was the victims’ legal representative; Rolf Hillegren has no involvement in the case, so his opinion on the matter is worth about a sack of wet mice; not only has the case stood up but it has stood up in court six different times (three times in Sweden and three times in the UK, up to and including the Supreme Court), including a full court hearing in Sweden with testimony from Assange’s attorneys and a review of all evidence which found probable cause of rape; Assange is charged (anklagad) for rape, simply not åtalad, and nor can he be åtalad without surrendered to Swedish custody.

    While no country has a perfect legal record, Sweden has one of the best ranked judicial systems globally, including being ranked #1 for rights of the accused by the World Justice Project. They have the world’s best whistle blower protections and the most restrictive extradition treaties in Europe (including a flat ban on extradition for intelligence and military crimes), which is why Assange himself personally chose Sweden in the first place (repeatedly calling it his “shield”), and it was Wikileaks itself who exposed that Sweden outright had its special forces disguise themselves as airport workers to hijack and stop CIA rendition flights. Your continued focus on Borgström is silly, as he’s no longer part of the case, and Reinfeldt has never been a party to the case, and news flash, this is a high profile case, which is the very reason you’re writing about it, so acting shocked that a high profile lawyer takes the case (like Assange’s high-profile lawyers) is just silly. And of all the people to complain about lawyers denigrating someone in a case, you’re complaining about the -plaintiff’s- lawyers denigrating -Assange- for merely talking about how he has a case to answer for? They’ve hardly said anything compared to Assange’s attorney’s lengthy, vicious and highly public attack campaign. Fritz had a complaint to the Bar Association by a group of Assange fans which was ruled to be frivolous, but Assange’s attorney, Hurtig, was condemned by the Bar Association for lying to court after the judge uncovered and harshly condemned him for it, and he’s lucky he wasn’t stripped of his license to practice law. Assange’s case was reviewed by, as stated, -three- courts in the UK, including the full Supreme Court, all of which ruled against him in every regard. And as for why would the press “allow” such an article to be published: news flash, Sweden has freedom of the press, and actually encourages dissenting views. Might want to learn about that some time.

    • John Goss
      +13 Vote -1 Vote +1John Goss
      January 16, 2014 at 5:36 am

      You are very confused Nafnlaus, and it is hard to make sense of your rambling comment. There have been no cases in the UK to establish the guilt or innocence of Assange. He is simply wanted for questioning in Sweden. Something that could just as easily be done in the UK. But there is no case to answer as Hillegren, a highly respected former prosecutor, pointed out. The courts in the UK did not find against him, only approved his extradition. Details of the case are freely available and I suggest you read up before making unqualified comments. Finally, as I am one of the signatories to the complaint against Massi Fritz, and it is still ongoing, how can you suggest it has been ruled to be frivolous? It is well researched and unquestionably true. If the Bar Association does not proceed with the complaint, this will not be because it is “frivolous” but because politics is behind a case in which neither complainant originally wanted to press charges.

      • -2 Vote -1 Vote +1Anthony
        January 17, 2014 at 5:22 am

        Only the case for most serious offense of initially removed, to be later reopened. The other case was downgrade, but fully reinstated at the same time. Those are facts that Assange’s own lawyers agreed to with the agreed statements submitted to the Supreme Court.

        This entire episode when through the courts both in Sweden and the UK. At every point the Swedish prosecutors indicated that they require Assange to return in Sweden. At no point was Assange’s own lawyers were able to convince anyone that the merit of the extradition request was invalid.

        Julian Assange legal problem arose out of the concept of someone saying “No.” Julian Assange has sought aslyum because he has been told “no.”

        • John Goss
          +4 Vote -1 Vote +1John Goss
          January 17, 2014 at 8:18 am

          I don’t need to explain to our readers that people ignorant of the facts who make up nonsense are still allowed to comment providing they are not abusive. Neither of the women refused Assange. Think about it Anthony. Assange has been all over the world without anyone complaining. Then two complaints come along within a week. Most people can see that this is political. Quite clearly you are not one of them.

  2. -12 Vote -1 Vote +1Nafnlaus
    January 16, 2014 at 2:37 am

    To put it quite shortly: if you want the case to go away and you want people to stop saying he needs to answer for what he did, then he -needs to answer for what he did.- Plain and simple. As long as he runs from rape charges, this situation is not going to change, and with every single court that’s reviewed the case, at all levels of the system in two countries, ruling against Assange, the case is not going to go anywhere.

    • +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Radguy
      January 16, 2014 at 7:30 am

      You do realise that stating there are charges outstanding makes you look at best uninformed.

      A prosecutor isn’t an independent judicial officer,particularly when they are representing the plaintiff. The only legal challenges have revolved around authority rather than evidence. Currently, any evidence could be a complete fabrication as none of the court actions that you have mentioned have set about proving the veracity of this evidence.

      Shame on you for pushing the kangaroo court line. This is what allowing prosecutors to authorise warrants achieves. As if anyone would agree with your “clearing his name” argument, when so far this case appears so obviously politically motivated.

  3. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1Plain 'n Simple
    January 16, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    It is the prerogative of the Swedish prosecutor to interrogate the suspect if so needed, but it is also the prerogative to dispense with that if it’s not needed. Thousands of cases get thrown out all the time because they are just silly. These two cases are amongst them.

    A condom is provided as proof Assange had sex with one of the girls, but Assange never denies this, and the condom is found to be faked evidence, and right there the warning sirens went off.

    The other girl never said “no” to Assange, but he’s supposed to be a mind-reader and know she means it anyway.

    There is no case, there never was a case, and the current predicament is clearly political.

  4. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1HensBestEffort
    February 26, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I thank John Goss for taking the time to write level-headed replies to the cognitively-odd comments that have appeared here.

    Here is a narrative agreed to by both sides in current legal proceedings.

    I add only that I believe one young woman was returning a second time for further love and adventure on the night in question.

    95. According to the ‘Agreed Facts’ filed to the UK Supreme Court, to which the prosecutor in Sweden has agreed, the circumstances of the opening of the investigation are as follows:

    During his visit he had sexual intercourse with two women [AA and SW]. After AA and SW spoke to each other and realized that they had both had intercourse with the Appellant during the currency of his visit in circumstances where respectively they had or might have been or become unprotected against disease or pregnancy, SW wanted the Appellant to get tested for disease.

    On 20th August 2010 SW went to the police to seek advice. AA accompanied her for support. The police treated their visit as the filing of formal reports for rape of SW and molestation of AA (108)

    On 20th August, police related the reports to the on-duty assistant prosecutor (Maria Kjellstrand) over the telephone who, at 5 pm, ordered that the Appellant should be arrested.

    (footnote: Agreed Statement of Facts and Issues ‘Submission by the parties to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Neither of the women alleges she has been raped.)