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Julian Assange & Anders Perklev
Meet Sweden's prosecutor general. Force yourself.
STOCKHOLM (Rixstep) — Sweden's prosecutor general has been calling some of the shots from behind the curtains in the Assange scandal. He talked with both Expressen and Dagens Juridik both this week and last.
Anders Perklev was appointed prosecutor general 1 April 2008. Previously he'd been on a leave of absence from the department of agriculture to research criminal case sentencing scales.
On 3 September he spoke with Expressen to explain why the Assange case has been such a circus.
Perklev revealed he'd been a part of the case almost from the beginning and that it was he who chose to tell his subordinate Mats Åhlund to find a replacement for Maria Kjellstrand who'd made a right cock-up of the case. Åhlund chose Eva Finné who was out of town relaxing in her summer cottage for the weekend.
Perklev says his intention was to make sure the case had 'sufficient resources' but admits things turned out the opposite.
Eva Finné took over the case from her summer cottage on Saturday but already on Monday was occupied with other matters in the appeals court. One of the original policemen involved in the case (Mats Gehlin) attempted in vain to reach her - he noted in his journal that he'd almost given up.
(Why no one could tell him Finné was in court as prosecutors often are is unknown.)
One of the women accusers contacted the police, impatient nothing was moving forward.
Claes Borgström doesn't give them a chance.
'If it's true the prosecutor was busy with another case in the appeals court, then this is serious. It's important in all criminal cases that the investigation proceed speedily.'
Borgström wanted the girls interrogated again already on Monday but Finné was busy and Gehlin was not allowed to decide things like that on his own.
One of the tabloid's typically amorphous 'sources' does the old 'foot in mouth' with the following.
'Kjellstrand was right in issuing an arrest in absentia warrant. Assange didn't have a permanent address and he could have left the country.'
So far so good, Clarence - but then you don't blurt it out to the world media so he can escape, do you?
And you don't shout 'probable cause' in rape cases involving issues with condom use unless you 1) want to incur heavy damages and 2) become the laughing stock of the solar system - the latter of which has of course now already happened.
Dagens Juridik also has an interview of a sort with Perklev - which strangely goes on for a few introductory paragraphs detailing Perklev's heroic rise to power. Finally Perklev begins to utter things.
1. 'We have every reason to review how we can better deal with media pressure.'
Why not start by making sure your staff keep their big mouths shut?
2. 'The media attention to the Assange case came out of nowhere.'
No comment necessary.
3. 'We were reminded of the different tempo with today's media.'
But not about your ethics of office and the Secrecy Act?
4. 'Everything happens faster on the Internet.'
This guy can go far.
Perklev refuses to admit anyone under his command has necessarily committed a crime; he refuses to look at the Kjellstand leak to Expressen as both a felony violation of the Secrecy Act and as counterproductive to the ostensible purpose of such a drastic measure as arrest in absentia on 'probable cause' where you don't even wait an hour to hear what the story really is.
All the world needs now is to hear Perklev's going to appoint someone to appoint someone to appoint someone to appoint a taxpayer-funded committee to spend the next two years investigating what on earth - if anything - they did wrong.
Assange to Seek Damages
Julian Assange's new counsel Björn Hurtig was interviewed by Dagens Juridik 10 September.
DJ: What are your comments on the prosecutor on duty corroborating Assange was suspected of rape?
BH: It was highly irresponsible and despicable. I think this is a very clear illustration of the imbalance between the accused and the state with regard to being able to influence opinion. Someone accused of a crime can be forbidden to speak publicly but the authorities blast out their accusations and details of cases that can be damning and harm the accused. The media have enormous power and even magistrates are people who read the news and are influenced by the images conjured up. The rights of an individual don't amount to much once media frenzy takes over. Authorities have a huge responsibility, something they time and again fail at.
DJ: What are your comments on the Chancellor of Justice now looking into the matter?
BH: Of course I think that's very good. This investigation will hopefully open the debate about having the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. This fundamental principle of law is being derailed by greedy people working for the authorities. We need a show of strength to fix this. We have freedom of information to expose transgressions by our authorities - not to point accusing fingers at individuals who haven't had their day in court.
DJ: Do you and your client plan to take legal measures and demand compensation?
BH: The number one priority right now is to get the charges dropped. Then we can discuss the harm done to my client by the actions of the authorities. Of course my client feels very aggrieved. It's a big thing when a prosecutor points out someone in connection with such a serious crime. This has had very huge consequences that have hurt my client deeply. There are different means at our disposal to get justice in this matter, one of which is through the Chancellor of Justice.
BH: Yes, we'll be seeking damages.
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Expressen: Därför dröjer Julian Assange-utredningen
Dagens Juridik: Assangeärendet satte Åklagarmyndigheten på prov
Dagens Juridik: Hurtig: 'Assange kommer vilja kräva kompensation från staten'