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New Details Emerge in the Case Against WikiLeaks Founder - Newsweek
The Guardian reports that neither of the women involved in the case had originally wanted the case to be prosecuted. The paper says that Ms. W wanted to report the alleged rape to police but didn't want them to bring charges against Assange. The paper says Ms. A went with Ms. W to the police to offer moral support, but then became entangled in police questioning. The Guardian notes that neither police nor prosecutors have spoken to Assange to get his version of events.

Now - as someone who has indirect experience of rape/molestation claims from when an ex of mine decided to visit a so-called spiritual guru who abused her, the interesting thing about claims like these is that legal authorities rarely prosecute, precisely because of lack of solid evidence.

In my girlfriend's case it took months for the Crown Prosecution Service to decide that a prosecution wasn't going to happen.

And in this case we have evidence which was only presented when someone 'became entangled in police questioning' - but which led to an almost instant arrest warrant.

Perhaps they're simply far more efficient in Sweden. But it would be interesting, wouldn't it, to compare this story with the progress of comparable cases.

New Details Emerge in the Case Against WikiLeaks Founder - Newsweek

The Guardian says Ms. A also told the Swedish paper: "The charges against Assange are, of course, not orchestrated by the Pentagon. The responsibility for what happened to me and the other girl lies with a man who has a twisted attitude to women and a problem with taking 'no' for an answer."

Of course. And someone who was reporting rape or molestation would doubtless have that fact foremost in their minds to the point where they'd be sure to mention it in an interview with a newspaper. Because after you've been raped and/or molested, talking to newspapers who just happen to find out who you are, even though rape claims are supposed to be anonymous, is certainly something you're going to want to do immediately.

I can confirm that international politics and newspaper interviews were absolutely foremost in my girlfriend's mind when she was sobbing and describing her story to the policewoman who interviewed her in my living room.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 05:20:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here we have two eyewitnesses alleging certain actions: that is not a "lack of solid evidence." Yes, Assange will likely offer a different version of events, but, frankly this is not a 'he said she said' case. It's a "he said she said she said' case, which I think the courts will look at as favoring the two women. But a lot depends on how independent the testimony of the two alleged victims is. Were they interviewed separately and privately by the police, did they discuss what they would say to the police before they arrived at the police station, and so on.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 05:51:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clearly they weren't interviewed independently because one of the victims became 'tangled up in police questioning.'

But anyway.

  1. Is it usual for an arrest warrant to be issued immediately in cases like these? Or is it more usual to bring suspects in for questioning, check forensic evidence, and build up a case that is based on more than hearsay?

  2. How long does it usually take the Swedish prosecutor's office to decide that a case is viable?

  3. Is it usual for anonymous victims to give press interviews immediately after a warrant is issued?

  4. Is it usual for anonymous victims to give press interviews that reassure everyone that the Pentagon isn't involved?

  5. How did the Swedish press find the identity of the anonymous alleged victims?

And as it happens, even the Swedish prosecutor's office PR team don't seem entirely convinced by the story.


by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 06:09:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A long CNN story I've blockquoted from below answers some of your questions. Frankly, it sounds like it's pretty standard in Sweden (and almost everywhere?), this abusive to alleged perpetrators way of doing things. On the other hand, the alleged victims' attorney, Claes Borgstrom, says Assange got special treatment:

Borgstrom also criticized the prosecutor for not questioning Assange immediately in the case.

"It is obvious that he is a suspect of sex crimes, and if he leaves the country, then we may never be able to hear his explanation," the attorney explained.

The fear that Assange might leave Sweden was apparently what provoked the warrant last week, according to a statement posted Monday on the Sweden Prosecution Authority's website.

The prosecutor "decided that Julian Assange was to be arrested," based on information that police gave her over the phone about the allegations -- a typical procedure, authorities said.

"The prosecutor was also made aware that the individual concerned was a foreign national and that he was about to leave the country," the chronology said. One reason for issuing the warrant was "that there was a risk that he would have time to leave the country before authorities had time to interrogate him. There was also a risk that he could have interfered with the investigation."

A group that claims to work to protect individuals' legal rights in the Swedish justice system said Monday that it has reported the on-call prosecutor to the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman of Justice. It was unclear what action, if any, the ombudsman could take against the prosecutor.

"We can see that, time after time, prosecutors don't follow the Swedish objectivity laws," said Johann Binninge, founder of the Organisation for Safe Legal Proceedings.

"When accusations come in, prosecutors don't even check facts before they take coercive measures, and this is contrary to Swedish laws. In this case, the prosecutor only listened to one individual's story but didn't bother checking the other side of the story before accusing Mr. Assange of a very serious crime. This is why we have reported her."

News of the warrant reached a Swedish media outlet, the prosecution authority said, but "the authority does not know how this happened, and the authority is not allowed to investigate this." Under Swedish law, news outlets are protected from police investigations into their sources.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/08/24/sweden.wikileaks.assange/

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 06:16:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it usual for an arrest warrant to be issued immediately in cases like these? Or is it more usual to bring suspects in for questioning, check forensic evidence, and build up a case that is based on more than hearsay?

I don't know, but I'd advise that in this case "similar cases" means "cases where the accused is a foreign national." Police is usually more trigger-happy when dealing with foreigners, because they suspect (or, in some cases, pretend to suspect) that said foreigner will abscond to a foreign country if he gets the chance.

Is it usual for anonymous victims to give press interviews that reassure everyone that the Pentagon isn't involved?

That could have been in response to a leading question. Newsies usually Bowdlerize their interviews, so it's the next best thing to impossible to tell what she was responding to unless you have a taped conversation where you can see both interviewer and interviewee.

How did the Swedish press find the identity of the anonymous alleged victims?

That's easy: The Swedish police leaks worse than a sieve.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 06:55:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Is it usual for an arrest warrant to be issued immediately in cases like these? Or is it more usual to bring suspects in for questioning, check forensic evidence, and build up a case that is based on more than hearsay?

It appears that yes it is common for the prosecutor to issue an arrest warrant as soon as there appears to be a case. In Sweden, the police can only arrest independently if a crime is being committed or the suspect is escaping the scene of the crime. Otherwise the prosecutor must issue an arrest warrant first. So an arrest warrant is often issued before the police picks the suspect up for questioning.

Swedish press of course knows this and used to not print something based solely on an arrest warrant.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 30th, 2010 at 09:51:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian says Ms. A also told the Swedish paper: "The charges against Assange are, of course, not orchestrated by the Pentagon. The responsibility for what happened to me and the other girl lies with a man who has a twisted attitude to women and a problem with taking 'no' for an answer."

Of course. And someone who was reporting rape or molestation would doubtless have that fact foremost in their minds to the point where they'd be sure to mention it in an interview with a newspaper.

Well, though the article ATinNM unearthed does indeed indicate the possibility of a rather biased media manipulator, I note that the Pentagon remark from "Ms. A" was foremost in her mind because she was reacting to earlier talk from Assange's side.

He said he had been warned that the US Pentagon was planning to use dirty tricks to spoil things for WikiLeaks.

To be precise, the above is translated from an Aftonbladet interview of Assange appearing a day after that of "Ms. A", however, there were similar utterings earlier. I wasted time following back the sources:

  1. "Ms. A" tells in the Aftonbladet interview that she came forward to react to stiff in that morning's Expressen.
  2. She probably references, among others, this Expressen article on Assange's and Wikileak's reaction to the news of the arrest warrant, which was to say that they were warned to expect "dirty tricks" and now they have the first one. Expressen gives an interview with Norway's Dagbladet and twitterings as source.
  3. The Dagbladet article, and another with a different Wikipeaks figure. WikiLeak twit.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 09:13:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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