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Assange Given Negative Special Treatment
Marianne Ny's painted herself into a corner.
DUCKPOND (Rixstep) — Criticism of Marianne Ny's conduct in the investigation of the case of Julian Assange - where she, a prosecutor, is also the self-appointed chief investigator - continues to grow.
Not having a case with merits that can allow it to be brought to court - one witness has already falsified evidence, and she has an extrajudicial method of conducting investigations - she continues to refuse to interrogate Julian Assange in London, explicitly, she now reveals, because she will in such case be confined to the EU framework: the Assange case dossier contains the secret 'Appendix 12' that not even plaintiff counsel have been allowed to see.
All the while demure Sofia Wilén's new attorney Elisabeth Massi Fritz continues to don warpaint and shoot wildly about.
Retired district prosecutor Rolf Hillegren, author of the influential 'Time to Close the Assange Case' from 12 January, thought it was time to respond, this time in Sweden's Dagens Juridik.
Assange Given Negative Special Treatment
Marianne Ny's painted herself into a corner with no possibility of an honourable escape.
By Rolf Hillegren
SVT's Agenda aired an episode on 2 February about the Assange case, the reason being the growing criticism of the way prosecutor Marianne Ny has handled the case, and more and more voices are being heard in Sweden to admonish her to interrogate Assange in London.
Four days later on 6 February Elisabeth Massi Fritz, new plaintiff counsel for Sofia Wilén, replied and said Assange should not be given special treatment. And thereby missed the important point - namely that he is being given special treatment - negative treatment.
It's good that this case is getting attention, as its spectre of 'travesty of justice' grows by the day. What must be strongly cited is the extraordinarily weak evidence, something of great importance when one judges the behaviour of Marianne Ny. The evidence is so weak that further interrogations are not necessary, something Massi Fritz refuses to acknowledge.
Where is the consideration for the complainants, asks Massi Fritz. The followup has to be: where is the consideration for Assange? As long as he is not convicted, he must be regarded as innocent. So he's just as much a victim as the women. The situation is a delicate one. The prosecutor has a delicate task in this situation because it's just as likely an innocent will be unfairly treated as the victims will be.
The other woman's counsel appeared on Agenda. Claes Borgström. He and Massi Fritz and the prosecutor are completely rigid. The fact is that none of them seem interested in closing this case in a reasonable way.
Because the prosecutor-general doesn't seem keen to use his position to close the case, Assange is likely to remain at the embassy until the statute of limitations takes effect. Anyone who thinks this benefits the complainants is welcome to explain why.
The principle of proportionality is important in criminal law. The measures taken against the suspect must be proportional to the grade of the alleged crime. This principle means that there are few experienced prosecutors who would take this case the way it's happened here. To request that someone be extradited to Sweden, the crime should be more serious and the evidence much more substantial than we find here. One can therefore conclude that Assange has been given special treatment - to his detriment.
The prosecutor claims that there is a significant risk that an interrogation in London won't further the investigation. Put more simply: the prosecutor thinks such an interrogation is meaningless in the event she decides to prosecute, because he's still not available for legal process.
But the least one can ask is that the prosecutor conduct a probability study for how significant that possibility is. If she does this, she should realise that the most likely outcome of such an interrogation is that the case will be closed once Assange has been interrogated.
So what would happen if the prosecutor swallowed her pride and departed for London to interrogate Assange? My best guess is that the prosecutor, after the interrogation, would announce that no crime has been committed and that the investigation will therefore be closed. It will therefore be extraordinarily difficult for the prosecutor to claim she has a case to take to trial.
And should the most unlikely happen, namely that Assange turns up in Stockholm, is interrogated and tried, I'm still completely convinced he'll be acquitted.
In conclusion: it's my judgement that regardless what the prosecutor chooses to do, there will still be good reason to direct further strong criticism at her way of handling the case. She has, for unfathomable reasons, which hardly indicate a semblance of professionalism, painted herself into a corner with no possibility of an honourable escape. The criticism that will be heard shall not impact her alone: far worse, it will impact the entire Swedish judicial system.
Because this case also has a political angle, it'd be both interesting and desirable if the minister for justice could explain why it's considered impossible to give Assange a guarantee that he won't be surrendered to the US if he comes here.
Common sense as well as human and judicial arguments speak convincingly that the state through her representative the prosecutor has everything to win by waiving the prestige that's been seen all through the case. Interrogation abroad is not an unusual procedure; it is not a type of special treatment.
The prosecutor can think that Assange's flight to the embassy has made her work more difficult, but that doesn't free her from her duty to find a sensible way out of a situation into which she's pushed the Swedish and indirectly the British judicial systems.
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