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Justice in Sweden: The Ulf Files
Corruption up to the highest levels.
What you're about to read is a very scary story. It's a story about people in the Swedish judicial system who were behind an incredible miscarriage of justice, people who knowingly and willingly kept innocent people in prison for years rather than tell the truth, people who went out of their way to hide evidence so they wouldn't be found out, people who even refused to turn over evidence to the courts when asked - and these people in the Swedish prosecution authority and the Swedish police department were supposed to be the guardians of Swedish justice.
The chain of corruption went all the way up to the deputy prosecutor-general, the second highest prosecutor in the land. The deputy prosecutor-general was a member of the low-profile feminist judges group 'Hilda'.
The story you're about to read was uncovered by the great investigative reporter Hannes Råstam (RIP) who coincidentally uncovered the story of Thomas Quick where the notorious Claes Borgström was found to be up to his eyeballs in corruption.
Hannes worked for national Swedish television at the time, for their most prestigious news show Uppdrag granskning, a show dedicated to investigative reporting. The information you're about to read comes initially from a transcript of the television show published at the website of the national Swedish television company SVT. The show was shown on Swedish national television 10 May 2005. Hannes Råstam and his narrator Peter Bagge have the word.
A miscarriage of justice hidden away for years
The Ulf Files: Bo Larsson, aka 'Ulf', fought for years from inside his prison cell for justice, all the while the police and the prosecutor kept the miscarriage of justice hidden away by using the seal of confidentiality. Now Bo Larsson is prepared to step forward, and he asks that those responsible for this miscarriage of justice be held accountable.
In three earlier episodes Uppdrag granskning's reporter Hannes Råstam has uncovered the judicial rot in the incest case called 'The Ulf Files'. Ulf's real name is Bo Larsson and he served three years and two months of an eight year prison sentence.
Both the lower court and the appeals court found him guilty of very serious crimes. According to his own daughter's testimony he was to have drugged her, raped her - and sold her to other men.
He was finally acquitted in December 2004 when the supreme court granted his third petition for appeal. The decision would have come a lot sooner if the authorities had not been involved in keeping details secret for years, hiding away evidence with their seal of confidentiality.
The person responsible for the preliminary investigation of Bo Larsson is district prosecutor Birgit Kronholm in Helsingborg. She is obliged according to law to conduct an objective investigation and enter all relevant information into the protocol. Even information that benefits the accused.
Information that lacks pertinence is put in a so-called 'slop pail'. The slop pail in the investigation of Bo Larsson has a lot of investigative procedures, with the common denominator that they'd all failed.
The police knocked on doors, raided homes, confiscated computers and cellphones, without being able to corroborate a single one of the remarkable statements Bo Larsson's daughter, whom we shall call Veronica, talked about in her police interrogations and in consultation with her therapist Kenneth Lind. 'Everything they checked out, and everything they were able to check out from what she said, turned out to be false. Sometimes it's so unbelievably strange, but it was as if they didn't want to admit it', says criminologist Leif GW Persson regarding the actions of the police and prosecutor.
Amongst other things, Veronica told of being sold at a strip club in Stockholm, and that information was checked out by policeman Rolf Edin. His conclusion was that the strip club in question had never existed, but his extensive investigation was whittled down to a mere four lines of text printed on paper, closed with a seal of secrecy, and blacked out with a felt tip pen.
'I can understand why they don't want that information leaking out. Because it speaks strongly against one's own case, and that is where in my opinion they overstep their bounds, what's not permitted according to law, namely that they are required to take such things into account. That information is to the benefit of the accused', says Leif GW Persson.
This investigation isn't about a single instance of evidence being withheld. No less than 490 pages in the slop pool were partly or wholly sealed as confidential by the police. As an example, page 38 is entirely sealed - it's so secret that even the page title is blackened out in the table of contents.
But the police were sloppy. They forgot to remove page 38 when the slop pool was turned over to Bo Larsson. So Uppdrag granskning can reveal what the police tried to keep from him.
Seven days after the verdict in the lower court in January 2002, prosecutor Birgit Kronholm traveled to Västervik. Veronica said she'd met Jessica there. Jessica is a woman Veronica identified as the leader of a satanic paedophile ring. According to Veronica, they met in a flat in Västervik in 1999, in other words four years after the abuses were alleged to have taken place. Veronica's therapist Kenneth Lind came along as well.
But inside the flat lives 93 year old Brita Axelsson. Could Veronica and Jessica really have met there?
'You can forget that', said Brita Axelsson when Uppdrag granskning met with her.
The prosecutor sealed the information about the visit to Västervik.
There were further interrogations with Veronica after the lower court verdict. During a photo lineup she identified a foreign mother of several children, who couldn't speak Swedish, as Jessica. The details of the photo lineup were sealed into secrecy, and Bo Larsson sat in jail, unaware of what was going on.
When the appeals court hearings begin, the prosecutor says nothing about the new interrogations and that the new strange information from Veronica that they'd investigated led to dead ends - and had then been sealed.
The behaviour of the prosecutor is condemned by Christian Diesen, professor in procedural law.
'That's the worst thing a prosecutor can do in regard to the principle of objectivity - hiding information that's become available after charges are filed', he says.
The appeals court write in their verdict that there can be no misgivings about Veronica being believable, and Bo is sentenced to eight years prison. His 'accomplice' Leif is sentenced to five and one half years.
In December 2002 Bo Larsson is serving time in the facility in Norrtälje and waiting for word from the supreme court which will arrive a few weeks later. What he doesn't know is that the police have begun yet another investigation based on further information from his daughter Veronica.
Ritual Satanic Murder in an Abandoned Cottage
This time she says she witnessed a satanic ritual murder in an abandoned cottage in Småland, and says her father Bo Larsson drove her there. Deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergqvist Levin is immediately alerted to the new investigation but says not a word about it to the supreme court.
The supreme court reject Bo Larsson's first appeal 20 January 2003 with no knowledge of the new sensational developments.
The investigation of the ritual murder leads nowhere and neither Bo Larsson, nor a local pizza baker who is identified as an accomplice, are interrogated.
But a few weeks after the supreme court's first dismissal, deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergqvist Levin gets an unsettling memo sent to her desk. It's district prosecutor Lars Danielsson who tells her about another incest case in Ekbacken, the treatment home where Veronica lives.
A girl has told therapist Kenneth Lind that she's the victim of hundreds of rapes and abuse by her father, her mother, her brother's friend, her grandfather, two policemen, and five elderly neighbours. In all eleven perpetrators.
The district prosecutor discovers that this girl shares a room at Ekbacken with Veronica and that they've both read the same book: 'Ghost Girl' by Torey Hayden. The book describes incest, satanic abuse, group rapes filmed on video, and ritual murder - all the elements found in the stories of the two girls.
But the deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergqvist Levin kept this to herself. She sealed the report as 'classified'.
And in the meantime, Bo Larsson and his friend Leif continued to serve their prison sentences.
In March 2003 the supreme court reach a decision on Bo Larsson's second appeal. Again they dismiss the appeal - without knowing about the ritual murder stories, the book Ghost Girl, or any of the new information.
Catharina Bergqvist Levin
Bo Larsson says the person chiefly to blame for this miscarriage of justice being perpetuated for such a long time is deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergqvist Levin. She let a murder investigation proceed for one and a half years and withheld this information from the suspects and the supreme court.
'I made the decision that it should be allowed to continue until the time when I'd think now they've had their chances for so long now, now I can't wait any longer [sic]', she says in her defence.
The point in time where she decides she can't wait any longer is curious: on 27 November Uppdrag granskning's reporter rings her to speak with her about Bo Larsson's case. The conversation goes on for three quarters of an hour. And the following day the deputy prosecutor-general decides the preliminary investigation should be reopened hastily so she can perhaps submit an appeal for Bo Larsson?
In other words, the supreme court dismissed the first two appeals with no knowledge that Veronica's credibility was seriously called into question.
'This is very serious. And it shows that they carried out this investigation in a way that indicates they had something to hide. The most important thing they have to hide is the role Kenneth Lind played in it all. I believe they're aware that he got much too big a role in the investigation and they wanted to hide that', says professor Christian Diesen.
Justice at last
When Bo Larsson's lawyer can finally provide access to all the withheld evidence, the supreme court grants the third appeal in the case. In a new trial in December 2004, all the facts in the case are laid on the table and Bo Larsson and Leif are completely exonerated.
Despite the fact that the appeals court wrote in their verdict that the daughter's testimony cannot be correct and that the girl told a great number of falsehoods, Catharina Bergqvist Levin had a different opinion. She wants to point out that the girl's testimony is not completely crushed.
'They don't claim she lied from beginning to end! They say there are a lot of things that can't possibly be true, but they don't claim that she's deliberately giving false testimony!'
That's what Catharina Bergqvist Levin says, despite the fact the verdict says the exact opposite in black on white.
For Bo Larsson, the verdict is as liberating as it can be. And appeals court chairman Jan Lindell says the same thing.
'I absolutely agree. This is as much a vindication as one can achieve in the legal process.'
Bo Larsson paid a high price as a victim in a judicial scandal. Today he lives with his new wife and his son and he's trying to find his way back to a new life after prison. But he's already lost three years.
'There is no rule of law in Sweden as I see it', he says.
And now he wants to know why Catharina Bergqvist Levin acted as she did.
'I wonder why she sacrificed two innocent people to prison. There has to be a reason. It's an outrage', says Bo Larsson.
Ekbacken Harshly Criticised
The treatment home Ekbacken in Kråksmåla has been harshly criticised, with two complaints filed after an investigation by the county administrative board.
The board criticised Ekbacken for letting the children drink alcohol, for having incompetent staff, for mismanaging the facility, and for overall lack of quality in their efforts.
'That the children were allowed access to alcohol whilst on holiday in Austria is a serious matter', says Stig Lindahl, social director at the country administrative board.
The investigation of Ekbacken began in November last year after Uppdrag granskning pointed to serious shortcomings. Children who'd previously lived at Ekbacken appeared on the shows to tell of conditions there.
The Ulf Files: Girls tell of abuses at Ekbacken
Inquisition methods. Abusive treatment. The obsessive attempts of a therapist to summon up memories of sexual abuse. Five girls testify to the conditions at the treatment home Ekbacken in Småland, a treatment home of crucial importance to the Ulf Files.
Ekbacken is a home for children and teenagers with social issues. Ulf's daughter Veronica was living there when her story about the alleged abuses by her father began to take form.
Uppdrag granskning were able to interview five girls who spent considerable time at Ekbacken. One was there for seven months, the other four stayed there for up to four years. They all give witness to the fact that their treatment was focused on getting them to tell tales of sexual abuse.
The girls also tell of abusive treatment and the inquisition methods used by Ekbacken staff.
One of the girls, Mysan, was sent to Ekbacken when she was 14. She ran away after three years. She says Ekbacken staff tried everything to get her to talk. On one occasion she was forced to stand up for several hours and threatened that she wouldn't be allowed to go home to her mother and baby brother if she didn't talk.
And when she refused to talk, the manager poured a pail of ice cold water over her.
'I was already broken, so I didn't care. Then he told me that if I didn't talk, he'd drag me into the showers and run ice cold water over me.'
Rebecca lived at Ekbacken for three years. Staff used to insult her by calling her 'ugly duckling' and 'slut'.
A third girl, Lonne, was aided by her mother in her escape three years ago.
'They abused me. They hurt me so bad. There are no words to describe it.'
All five girls claim it wasn't suspicion of sexual abuse that got them to Ekbacken. And yet the therapist Kenneth Lind was obsessed with summoning up memories of sexual abuse.
The girls also testified to Kenneth Lind's coarse language in their sessions. To Sara he said of a male friend of Sara's family: 'are you sure he didn't get his cock in you?' He also asked her things like 'was he horny' and 'did he want to fuck you'.
And he always wanted to talk about sex with Rebecca. 'He only talked about sex. He asked me if I'd had sex. That's none of his business. It felt awful being in that room with him.'
Uppdrag granskning asked Ekbacken for an explanation of their one-sided therapy focusing solely on incest, and why the teens were subjected to Kenneth Lind's sexualised language. Their written response stated that it was important to meet their clients on the clients' own linguistic level in order to create an atmosphere of trust.
Not just a therapist
Kenneth Lind is not just a therapist at Ekbacken - he's the staff supervisor. 'They claim it's a unique method of treatment', says former staff member Eva Lönnqvist. And they claim the methodology with double roles for the therapist is gaining acceptance in psychology. But this is completely discarded by psychiatrist and federal criminologist Ulf Åsgård.
'Of course that's completely false. Of course proper psychiatry care wouldn't accept such charlatans.'
Others Uppdrag granskning spoke with say the Kenneth Lind model makes successful therapy impossible - the staff supervisor must be completely removed from the therapeutic activities.
Kenneth Lind calls himself a 'psychotherapist', but Uppdrag granskning already revealed he can't legally use this title as he never registered with the National Board of Health and Welfare.
Along comes Veronica
And it was in this setting that Ulf's daughter Veronica came in December 1999. They asked her immediately if she was the victim of sexual abuse. And two months later she started creating the story of what her father, her father's friend Leif, and the local pizza baker were doing with her. Her story grew by leaps and bounds in Kenneth Lind's therapy sessions to include strip clubs, drugs, and ritual murders.
Amateur police investigator, pivotal role in false convictions
Uppdrag granskning can now reveal that in addition to his key role as Veronica's therapist, Kenneth Lind also played a significant part in the police investigation of 'Ulf'. He's worked with the police in the field in search of a woman Veronica identified as an accomplice, he's done private police research, and he's assembled lists of further suspects for the police.
The testimony of Kenneth Lind was pivotal in the first appeals court verdict that resulted in a sentence of eight years prison for Ulf. But his role as an amateur police investigator was kept hidden from the courts by the police and the prosecutor.
Nor was it previously known that Veronica's story of sexual assaults was not the only one that came out of the therapy sessions at Ekbacken. Veronica's roommate Lotta accused members of her own family and her neighbours of sexual assaults.
The girls lived together and were told to read the book 'Ghost Girl' by Torey Hayden. The novel tells of group rapes, children being drugged, sexual assault, satanic rituals, and sacrificial murder. All these elements are found in Veronica's testimony.
Lotta too used elements from the book in her own stories. She said she'd been tortured with a living cat - yet another detail found in 'Ghost Girl'.
Lotta accused no less than eleven people of abuse, and the prosecutor traveled to Ekbacken to get more information. A number of unsettling circumstances were apparent.
- Ulf's daughter was roommate with Lotta.
- Both had used plot elements in 'Ghost Girl' for their own stories.
- Both were with Kenneth Lind and began simultaneously to tell of hundreds of assaults by countless perpetrators.
Kenneth Lind was a very active participant in the investigation of Lotta's story. He routinely conducted video interrogations with her. He also filed a legal petition that Lotta's younger siblings be taken from their parents.
The prosecutor was suspicious of Kenneth Lind's influence on Lotta. Lotta corroborated for Uppdrag granskning that Kenneth Lind was wont to ask leading questions.
'Yeah. Like he makes the statement my father's had sex with me.'
He could say things like that?
But you'd not mentioned anything beforehand?
'No. I hadn't even had a chance to open my mouth!'
No one in the Lotta case is still under suspicion. The investigation is closed.
Terrifying tales from a Swedish treatment home
Uppdrag granskning's reporter Hannes Råstam has been able to locate most of the people who'd been put in Ekbacken the past 25 years. Here are four of their stories.
Patricia Nilsson, Ekbacken 1980-85
Patricia's workday always started before dawn.
'My day started with me getting up between 04:00 and 04:30 in the morning. We were roused by staff. They poured cold water over us if we didn't get up fast enough. Then we had to go to the barn, down in the cellar, we put on our blue overalls, then we returned to the breakfast table at 07:00.'
The same procedure after school.
'Straight down into the cellar, change clothes, go to the barn, get things ready, do our chores, bake bread, do laundry.'
Patricia was only ten years old at the time. Sometimes she couldn't wake up fast enough. The punishment was the same for all the children: ten litres of cold water poured right over your head, right in your bed.
'So all we could do was get going - take our beds outdoors so they could dry out, then mop up the water they spilled on us.'
Patricia says there are a lot of things about Ekbacken she'll never forget, and two incidents in particular haunt her to this day.
'My hair was rather long when I first arrived. Thick long hair. I loved my hair! But Ekbacken's manager Helmuth thought I wasn't taking proper care of my hair, so he used the sheep shears to cut my hair off when I was asleep.'
The other incident happened when she was 9 or 10. She'd been given a rabbit by her brother. She became very fond of it.
'One day Helmuth asked me if I liked my dinner, and said he hoped I'd enjoyed eating my own rabbit. He'd stolen my rabbit, slaughtered it, and served it for our dinner.'
Ronny Hansson, Ekbacken 1981-85
Ronny and Patricia were fetal siblings but it's been years since they've been in touch. Ronny lives in Norway today. Ronny was a young teenager when he ended up at Ekbacken.
'My mother was kind enough but my stepfather beat me and I didn't accept that. I wanted to leave.'
Ronny describes the grueling workdays at Ekbacken precisely as Patricia does. He was also roused with a pail of cold water - and was forced to inflict this on his own friends. If you refused to do it, you were locked in isolation. At one point the managers found out he'd been hugging and kissing a girl at Ekbacken. He was forced to strip bare in front of all the other children.
'They set up rows of chairs for the others. And I had to stand there naked.'
Ronny describes the beatings inflicted by his stepfather as mild in comparison.
'Ekbacken was a lot lot worse.'
Thomas Bransmo, Ekbacken 1985-88
Thomas ran away from home when he was 13 and felt abandoned by his mother.
'Sure I had love from back home. But remember that I was somewhere else whilst my mother, my older brother, and my younger brother were home together. So you get unsure of yourself, as do most kids who end up in places like Ekbacken.'
Those who were naughty could be subject to an inquisition at Ekbacken, and those presumed guilty would have to sit on a pall in front of the others, answer questions, apologise, promise to mend their ways.
'You were completely exposed. It wasn't exactly fun. And it wasn't fun to sit in the sofa either and watch, because you knew how the other person felt.'
One day Thomas and another boy (Örjan Hagström - see below) were accused of having pawed at the manager's daughter.
'We had to stand in a corner of the sitting room, straight up, and keep staring at each other. If we glanced away, we got hit in the head. We had to stand there somewhere between five and seven hours before the social secretary came to fetch Örjan.'
Örjan Hagström, Ekbacken 1985-88
Örjan talks of the violence at Ekbacken as never being remote. Face punches, slaps, punches to the back of the head, to arms and legs.
'Violence was a regular part of life at Ekbacken. It was used on all occasions and for all purposes.'
Did you ever experience anyone showing real love and care?
'No. Not when I was there.'
Örjan was accused, along with Thomas Bransmo, of having pawed at the manager's daughter when they read their bedtime stories. And they were punished by having to stand face to face for five to seven hours, and they were hit in the head if they dared glance away.
'I've carried that incident inside me all these years. But I don't mislead about being accused because I know I am innocent.'
Why do you think they accused you?
'Not a clue. That's a question I've tried to get an answer to all these years.'
Prosecutor Withheld Evidence
By Stefan Lisinski.
Stefan Lisinski is one of Sweden's few investigative reporters. Lisinski was on the trail of Lotti Helström when he was told to back off: her husband is legal counsel to the newspaper he writes for. Helström was found to have falsified hundreds of 'rape certificates'.
Bo Larsson spent three years in prison falsely accused of incest with his daughter. The prosecutor and the police withheld evidence that would ultimately exonerate Larsson. Deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergqvist Levin, who was responsible for withholding this decisive evidence from two separate courts, insists to this day she conducted herself correctly.
Catharina Bergqvist Levin is also cofounder of a little known feminist clique in the Swedish judiciary known as 'Hilda'.
SVT's Uppdrag granskning presented this past Tuesday further incriminating evidence in the incest case where Bo Larsson and another man were sentenced to eight years and five and one half years prison respectively. They were to have assaulted Bo Larsson's daughter. Both were acquitted this past autumn after spending three years in prison.
Crucial evidence that would have exonerated the defendants was withheld by the prosecutor and the police. Neither Bo Larsson, nor his codefendant, nor the courts knew of this evidence.
The evidence against the accused was primarily testimony given by Bo Larsson's daughter. She claimed she'd been sexually assaulted by her father and that he had sold her to other men. The girl's testimony was regarded as very convincing, but the police didn't bother checking out her story in regards to a great many of her claims. The times the police actually checked, they found that her statements were false.
The daughter claimed her father had taken her to a strip club in Stockholm and there sold her to the club owner.
The police were tasked with finding the club. They couldn't find it, and the officer in charge of the hunt wrote that such a club can't possibly exist in Stockholm.
But the above report was withheld in the preliminary investigation, and the lower court ruled that 'it's common knowledge that clubs like that exist'.
A great deal of information that contradicted the girl's testimony was sealed by the prosecutor and police.
'That is breach of office, it's a violation of the principle of objectivity', says Christian Diesen, professor of procedural law.
The prosecutor in question, Birgit Kronholm, was acquitted of suspicion of breach of office by chief prosecutor Sven-Erik Alhem in Malmö.
But Uppdrag granskning also investigated deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergqvist Levin. She was responsible for Bo Larsson's appeals. When Bo Larsson's daughter wrote letters and said she'd lied in court, Catharina Bergqvist Levin didn't want to open an investigation.
Catharina Bergqvist Levin also withheld a new investigation where the daughter identified the mysterious Jessica and a ritual killer. She didn't tell the supreme court that the daughter had been interrogated in the new investigation, but simply established that they didn't need a new investigation because of the letters.
Catharina Bergqvist Levin tells DN.se that it's correct that crucial information was withheld, but she denies that the idea was to withhold evidence to stop the appeal. The purpose was to let the police investigate the suspicions of ritual murder.
'When it turned out that we couldn't corroborate the information the girl gave us, then we could question her credibility.'
She stresses that the prosecutor-general was not at that point opposed to Bo Larsson's appeal and claims that it had nothing to do with the case by the time it got to Uppdrag granskning and even DN.se.
Catharina Bergqvist Levin claims that the investigation for the most part was conducted in a proper manner.
How do you think confidence in the prosecution authority has been harmed by this case?
'It's obvious that when they run with twisted reports in the media, it's not good.'
Bo Larsson met Catharina Bergqvist Levin in this past Tuesday's Uppdrag granskning.
'It's really cowardly of her that she still can't apologise', he says to DN.se.
The Police Commissioner's Lies Must be Reviewed by the Court
By Hannes Råstam.
Investigative reporter Hannes Råstam with new facts in the Ulf Files. Thousands of pages of documents withheld from the courts. Helsingborg's police commissioner Knut Dreyer refused to obey the administrative court and hid thousands of pages of documents that would have exonerated Bo Larsson.
And in the end he resorted to lying: he told the court that the documents didn't exist. But the documents did exist, they made their way to Bo Larsson's attorney Thomas Olsson (who also represents Julian Assange) and they were submitted to the supreme court.
The supreme court immediately opened the case and sent it back to the appeals court where Bo Larsson was finally - after more than three years in prison - completely exonerated. The actions of police commissioner Dreyer are but one of several issues that should be reviewed by our courts. So far the only one paying for the indiscretions of the police and prosecutors seems to be the little girl Veronica who is now being sued by the government.
This is Hannes Råstam's impassioned plea for justice and rule of law in Sweden.
A prejudiced prosecutor and two incompetent police investigators succeeded in getting Bo Larsson sentenced to eight years prison for crimes he did not commit. For several years the Swedish judicial system withheld truckloads of evidence that proved his innocence. And now to add to what's already known: the police in Helsingborg who conducted the investigation were found in contempt of court and they lied to the court, thus further extending Bo Larsson's time behind bars for crimes they knew he did not commit.
Sweden's ombudsman for justice is looking into the matter. But the official word is already out: no one will be disciplined.
Instead they plan to heave the responsibility for this miscarriage of justice onto Bo Larsson's daughter who has now been sued by the government.
But already before the little girl began weaving tales of sexual assault, several psychological evaluations concluded she lacked the ability to distinguish truth from fiction. According to the psychologists who examined her, she'd developed a behavioural pattern whereby she lied to those around her to achieve her goals, without comprehending the dire consequences of her lies.
And it was on the basis of this diagnosis that the 14 year old Veronica was sent to the Ekbacken treatment home.
At Ekbacken the girl was put in therapy sessions every Friday with the unaccredited 'psychotherapist' Kenneth Lind, whose methods focused on getting the children to reveal acts of sexual assault perpetrated against them.
In the first police interrogation, Kenneth Lind testified that 'her father had been fucking his daughter for years', and that when Bo Larsson and his friends got together, 'they got together to fuck the little whore'.
Many people would perhaps challenge a 'therapist' who expressed himself in that way when speaking about his client, but prosecutor Birgit Kronholm accepted the word of Kenneth Lind and the claims of Kenneth Lind that the little girl has been the victim of hundreds of rapes by twenty to thirty men - already when she was only nine years old.
The followup police interrogations were conducted so that the chief interrogator would usually start with a suggestion of how and where Bo Larsson had assaulted his daughter, and the girl would respond with a 'yeah' or a 'uh-huh'. The questions used in these interrogations were so leading that they were discarded even by the prosecutor. But the damage had already been done.
In the next police investigation, Birgit Kronholm defied her duty to objectivity by exclusively seeking evidence of Bo Larsson's guilt, all the while she avoided the most basic fact checks which would have proven the girl was lying.
The girls attendance record at school was never checked, despite the girl's story that her father kept her out of school at least for half of the school year so he could abuse her sexually.
Bo Larsson fought for years to get access to the complete police investigation. The police authority in Skåne denied him, this despite Swedish criminal code explicitly granting the accused such access.
Helsingborg police commissioner Knut Dreyer carried on an equally obsessive fight to keep the investigation sealed, but in June 2004 the administrative court in Gothenburg ruled that he had to turn the documents over to Bo Larsson.
But commissioner Dreyer defied the court order, and when he had no other alternative, he lied - he suddenly insisted the police didn't have the documents anymore.
The fact that the highest ranking police officer actually lied and refused to obey a court order - that's a serious matter. That the reason he lied was he wanted to withhold the truth from a wrongfully convicted man only makes it worse. And in a statement to the ombudsman for justice in February of this year, the police admit the lie.
In the thousands of pages of investigative materials Knut Dreyer withheld from Bo Larsson, there was enough evidence to grant him an appeal, and he was finally acquitted in January 2005.
For example, there were documents about the strip club the girl said she'd visited with her father. As a nine year old, she was to have been 'sold' to the club owner to 'work as a whore'. But the Stockholm police investigated the matter throughly and came to the conclusion that no such club ever existed.
This was important information, as it yet again indicated the girl wasn't telling the truth, but prosecutor Birgit Kronholm withheld this information during the trials. When Bo Larsson had been convicted in both the lower court and the appeals court, he petitioned for access to the investigation. But the police sealed the documents as 'classified', even though the action totally lacked legal support.
The girl who psychologists established cannot distinguish truth from fiction is regarded as so credible in both the lower court and the appeals court that on her testimony alone, Bo Larsson was sentenced to eight years prison and his friend to five and one half years.
Bo Larsson's daughter sent two long letters after the verdicts to her father's lawyer Tom Peyron in which she admitted lying about everything, stating that her father was wrongfully convicted. She wrote that she'd wanted to tell the truth during the trials but that she didn't dare.
By lying about the assaults, the girl received a number of perks at Ekbacken. When she tried to tell the truth, no one wanted to listen to her or support her. On the contrary: the manager of Ekbacken threatened to evict her if the allegations about her father were false.
In the light of this threat, the girl changed her story again and declared that what she'd written in those two letters was untrue. She appeased the manager of Ekbacken by telling a tale of how she as a nine year old had witnessed a human sacrifice carried out by the satanist stripper 'Jessica' and the local pizza baker.
The therapist and managers at Ekbacken, the police investigators, and the prosecutor chose once again to believe this girl, and they rewarded her new lies with more attention, sympathy, and appreciation.
At the same time the daughter wove her tale of the human sacrifice, the supreme court processed Bo Larsson's first appeal. Bo asked that the girl be interrogated so the court could find out why she'd written the two letters.
In secret, an interrogation of the girl was carried out where she claimed the mysterious stripper 'Jessica' had recently sought her out and forced a tablet down her throat that made her write the letters claiming her father was wrongfully convicted.
Deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergkvist Levin has a special responsibility to safeguard rule of law in Sweden. She could therefore be expected to be a bit unsettled by what the girl stated - after all, two long prison sentences were meted out solely on her testimony and on the judgement of both courts that she was extremely credible. But deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergkvist Levin thought the story of the stripper and the tablet sounded so terrific that she decided the girl didn't need to be interrogated again.
The supreme court was about to rule on an appeal based on the girl's letters where she withdrew all her accusations. In a letter to the supreme court, Catharina Bergkvist Levin wrote that she'd heard a satisfactory explanation.
(But she didn't dare mention the stripper Jessica or the tablet.) So they wouldn't be needing any further interrogations, she told the supreme court.
But the truth of course was that the girl had already been interrogated, something deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergkvist Levin withheld from her letter to the supreme court. And in these new interrogations, the girl now talked about witnessing a human sacrifice with a little immigrant girl.
Deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergkvist Levin misled the supreme court by withholding the fact the girl had been interrogated about the new story and on the contrary insisting that new interrogations were not needed. The clear message was that everything was cool and the girl's credibility was intact.
A short while later, deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergkvist Levin received a memo from a prosecutor who sounded the alarm about parts of the girl's stories being plucked from the book 'Ghost Girl'. He also alerted the deputy prosecutor-general to the suspect methods of Kenneth Lind at Ekbacken which took the form of police interrogations.
A few days after that, the girl dropped the next bomb: the mysterious stripper 'Jessica' that the police had been trying to find for years - that was actually her own mother!
Yet despite the fact that deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergkvist Levin continued to get new alarming facts in the case, she did not forward any of this to the supreme court.
Bo Larsson's second appeal was dismissed with the motivation that there was no new evidence in the case.
Despite the fact that the behaviour of the prosecutors led to two innocent men spending over three years in prison, deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergkvist Levin insists to this day that 'the case was handled well'. Such a statement reveals a staggering lack of insight of the consequences of the use of power for which she is supposed to be a leading representative.
The ombudsman for justice who reviewed the case has concisely announced that he doesn't even intend to open a preliminary investigation. That leaves Bo Larsson's suffering daughter as the only big loser.
A girl who cries for help by making up accusations and then withdrawing them. A girl who can't tell truth from fiction.
Above and beyond the mind-numbing incompetence throughout the Ulf Files, there are a number of events of such a nature that they themselves should be the subject of a court review:
- District prosecutor Birgit Kronholm withheld evidence from the interrogations she held with the girl for the appeals court hearings.
- Police commissioner Knut Dreyer withheld evidence in the form of investigative results which he'd been ordered by the court to turn over to Bo Larsson.
- Deputy prosecutor-general Catharina Bergkvist Levin deliberately mislead the supreme court for Bo Larsson's two first appeals.
For it can't be reasonable that the girl who couldn't understand the consequences of her actions should singlehandedly take the blame for the inability of the Swedish judicial system to carry out their work correctly?
This is a nasty story. There are levels of corruption, ugly crime, and child abuse in here that leave one dumbfounded. And none of that ugliness has anything to do with those unjustly accused by the police and prosecutors.
It's also a terrifying story. Something even a jaded Oliver Twist would tremble at. Curators of supposedly official treatment centres with funny foreign names perpetrating crimes against children who are already lacking in love, who have had too much abuse and neglect.
This in idyllic Sweden where all forms of corporal punishment of children were outlawed fifteen years earlier. Evidently the proprietors of the Ekbacken treatment home didn't have much respect for Swedish law either.
There always has to be a crazy psychologist. Who is likely the real pervert in the story, just as in the notorious Thomas Quick case. The results are always the same.
Then the corrupt police and prosecutors. But in this case not any ordinary prosecutor but the deputy prosecutor-general, the second highest state attorney in the country. You can see her below on the far left. She's posing in 2006 with her cofounders of Hilda, the state feminist interest group for the Swedish judiciary believed to in large part control jurisprudence in the country.
Sweden's had too many cases like this in recent years for anyone to regard jurisprudence there as intact. There's the infamous da Costa case where the courts were seriously listening to the testimony of a three year old girl, where the state feminists went nuts, turning the proceedings into show trials, and where disreputable media, such as Thomas Mattsson's Expressen, did all they could to stir the pot even more.
There's of course the tragic story of Thomas Quick, where Claes Borgström walked away a happy man, a cool half million (in dollars) richer for having gone along with the corruption.
There's the recent case of the doctor at the Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital.
These are all cases where incompetence and ugly undercurrents meet. In beautiful Sweden.
I'm so sick of it all. Will it never end? At any rate I want to say the other girl's just as much to blame.
- Anna Ardin
Apparently Swedish laws are unique. If you have a penis you're half a rapist before you even get through customs.
- Scott Adams
If I am able to reveal what I know, everyone will realise this is all a charade. If I could tell the British courts, I suspect it would make extradition a moot point.
- Björn Hurtig
I can tell you that the Swedish prosecution still hasn't provided copies of those SMS texts that have been referred to. Those texts are some of the most powerful exculpatory evidence. In Australia prosecutors have a very grave duty to disclose such evidence to courts when seeking the grave exercise of a court's power against an individual. Yet in Sweden in this case, in the first hearings to obtain an arrest warrant, those texts were not submitted to the Swedish court, which is highly improper.
- James Catlin
The prosecutor could achieve this broadening of the law during Assange's trial so he can be convicted of a crime that didn't exist at the time he allegedly committed it. She would need to. There is no precedent for this. The Swedes are making it up as they go along.
- James Catlin
Julian Assange will surely learn that considering what WikiLeaks has published, he's got a few enemies in the Pentagon, the CIA, and the White House. Sweden began an investigation into rape which was later dismissed. Assange was even denied residence in Sweden. One can only speculate to what extent the security agencies of the US were involved. And considering the obvious interest of the US to silence WikiLeaks, is it likely Assange will have an accident of the 'Boston brakes' kind in the coming years? Or will he be snared with compromising information of the 'honey trap' kind?
- 'Drozd' at Flashback 23 October 2010
The truth will out, the truth wins out. Let no journalist ever again speculate into what the protocols say. Six months of digging and the people at Flashback have the actual documents. The sleaze printed by rags such as the Daily Mail, Sweden's Aftonbladet and Expressen, and perhaps above all the toxic Nick Davies of the Guardian, can stand no more. Yet more: these documents are an indictment of the 'news organisations' who've printed deliberate inaccuracies all along or even worse: refused to print anything at all. Nick Davies' account of the protocols was maliciously skewed; both Aftonbladet and Expressen had copies early on and printed nothing. Bloggers had copies but arrogantly kept the information to their Smeagol selves.
- The Assange Police Protocol: Translator's Note
Uppdrag granskning: All articles about the Ulf Files (Swedish)
Uppdrag granskning: Chronology: The Ulf Files month by month (Swedish)
Uppdrag granskning: The Ulf Files: Summary of the acquittal (Swedish)
Uppdrag granskning: Tales from the Ekbacken treatment home (Swedish)
Uppdrag granskning: The Ulf Files: Girls tell of abuses at Ekbacken (Swedish)
Juha Palotie: Catharina Bergqvist Levin - A very dangerous woman (English)
DN.se: Sweden's Deputy Prosecutor-General Withheld Evidence (Swedish)
DN.se: The Police Commissioner's Lies Must be Reviewed by the Court (Swedish)
Nordic Committee for Human Rights: Treatment home Ekbacken in Småland (Swedish)
Captus Tidning: Wacko psychologists catalysts in judicial scandals (Swedish)
HVBGuiden: Information on treatment home Ekbacken (Swedish)