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'Not Innocent - Yet'
Remarkable statements from Sweden's prosecution authority 23 August 2010.
STOCKHOLM (Rixstep) — 23 August 2010: the arrest warrant against Julian Assange has been rescinded, and the prosecutor responsible has been reported to the Ombudsman for Justice. But nobody's saying anything, except 'director of information' Karin Rosander.
Karin was interviewed by AJE the day before; she had this to say. Following the clip is a report from Aftonbladet the day after.
Following is the report from Aftonbladet the day after - 23 August 2010.
Dodging All Questions
The prosecutor's been reported to the Ombudsman for Justice - but refuses to comment on the criticism
When the rape accusations against Julian Assange were dismissed, the prosecutor came into the line of fire.
Everybody wants to know what happened - but they're dodging all the questions.
'I don't want to talk about it', prosecutor Maria Häljebo Kjellstrand stated yesterday evening.
She decided last Friday to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange suspected on probable cause of rape. When she then corroborated this for a journalist, it became a global news sensation.
The behaviour of this prosecutor has now been reported to the Ombudsman for Justice, and her decision to reveal the matter to the media has been met with sharp criticism.
'To corroborate that someone's been arrested in absentia on such weak grounds is untenable. These decisions should not be made public, and they should not be commented on', says former chief prosecutor Sven-Erik Alhem.
Rescinded the Warrant
When the news began to spread, so did the questions about the substance in the suspicions. Then last Saturday, chief prosecutor Eva Finné took over - and rescinded the warrant. The suspicion of rape was gone, and a new classification remains unclear.
And the only one who can clear up matters dodges all questions.
Maria Häljebo Kjellstrand turned her mobile off yesterday, and her office number says she's on holiday until 1 September. When Aftonbladet met her yesterday evening, she refused to say anything at all.
Even Eva Finné turned off her mobile, and she hasn't returned calls either.
'Not Innocent - Yet'
'There are still suspicions. But Eva Finné hasn't had time to review the other allegation or decide on the classification', says Karin Rosander, director of information for the prosecution authority in Stockholm.
'Can Julian Assange be innocent?'
'Not for the moment, but he can be when the prosecutor's studied the case more thoroughly.'
Karin Rosander defends the decision of the first prosecutor to corroborate the matter with the media.
'Of course it's a difficult decision. If you don't say anything at all, there's a danger the facts will be distorted, and people will start to speculate. I think I would have done the same thing.'
'Has Julian Assange been questioned?'
'No, we've been unable to contact him.'
It's only words, but at Ground Zero the picture is clear: when it comes to presumption of innocence, they just don't get it. They allow 'free evidentiary evaluation', meaning they accept things not admissible in other courts; they judge not on evidence but on body language; they follow their political convictions and not the agreed facts; they even admit they're willing to convict if there's no proof. One almost expects to see, at some point in the future, official court astrologers hired on to streamline things further.
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