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The fact that the prosecutor downgraded the charge may or may not be significant. It may mean that the prosecutor let the police tell her what the law was, or that they sold and she bought an exaggerated version of the evidence, which is in line with the general sense that the 'substitute prosecutor' was relatively inexperienced. But I don't see how the remaining allegations, which are the potentially significant thing going forward, are affected in any particular way at all by the overboard rape charge story.

Generally, prosecutors everywhere are at one with the police, but also don't like to be embarassed by judges and well-paid defense attorneys. It sounds like Sweden is nothing special in this regard.

But that doesn't detract from the point that Assange enjoys the presumption of innocence, and that witnesses enjoy the presumption of good faith.
. . . Particularly not for people relying on second-hand information.

We all should take note of the italicized passage and make sure we look into a mirror while doing so.

We also should try to find a way to try to keep as much focus as possible on the political priority, raising consciousness about the Afghanistan tragecy. Justice for Assange and his alleged victims is important, but still trivial relative to what is going on to Afghanistan.


fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 05:48:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It may mean that the prosecutor let the police tell her what the law was,

It doesn't normally work that way. Certainly not with high-profile cases like this.

But I don't see how the remaining allegations, which are the potentially significant thing going forward, are affected in any particular way at all by the overboard rape charge story.

The credibility of the allegations is affected in that they represent a political compromise between what the police wanted and what the prosecutor was prepared to give them. Which means that there is a non-negligible probability that they are still exaggerated.

It's a pattern we've seen before in Scandinavia: Pretty much every time the police pick up some lefties or more or less random brown people, they go straight to the press and present their catch with great fanfare. After a few hours, it is quietly announced that the prosecutor told them to let most of the suspects go because they had no good reason to detain them in the first place. As they move up through the tiers of the judicial system (higher courts are generally more independent of the police and political pressure than lower courts) it becomes increasingly clear that the case is garbage.

What we've seen so far is consistent with this picture, although of course we've hardly seen enough to start extrapolating yet.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 06:46:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't question the 'usual case' you outline, but this case violates it right from the opening description: the police did not 'pick up some lefties'. Instead, two women on their own went to a police station with allegations of improper conduct (neither thought they rose to the level of rape) that the police exaggerated, apparently, and then brought to the 'weekend substitute prosecutor'.

By the way, it's not confirmed, but most news sources indicate that at least one and maybe both of the women are widely known individuals, not Mata Haris, who have worked for several years or more in Sweden at sort of leftist/alternative jobs, or for those sorts of organizations.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Tue Aug 24th, 2010 at 11:19:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The police certainly didn't pick up and interview Assange, which might have been a reasonable first step if the case had any credibility. Apparently the prosecutor's office didn't even try to contact him, which is surely bizarre in the circumstances.

Was he detained/charged at all?

As for 'widely known sort of leftists' - sources?

Interestingly:

CORRECT: Swedish Prosecutor To Look Into Assange Case This Week - WSJ.com

Under Swedish law, molestation is defined broadly and can refer to anything from groping someone to inappropriate, non-sexual behavior, for example, disrupting public order.

As I understand it Swedish law has an extremely broad definition of rape which includes almost any non-consensual or inappropriate activity. So if the rape case has been dropped, I'd suggest that makes a conviction for molestation somewhat unlikely.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 12:22:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That the prosecutor didn't contact Assange for a statement is neither bizarre nor unusual under Scandinavian jurisprudence. Taking statements isn't the prosecutor's job, it's the police's job. What is bizarre (but unfortunately not unusual) is that the prosecutor didn't tell the police to do their job properly and in full before they bothered him.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 02:14:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No - it is bizarre not to tell the accused about an arrest warrant when the rationale for the warrant is to prevent the accused from fleeing the country.

In this case the press found out about the warrant immediately but Assange didn't - which certainly seems bizarre to me.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 06:58:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the person who seems to be most aware of how they operate, Jake S, it is pretty much standard procedure for the apparently right-wing police to release 'damaging to leftists' info to the press immediately, presumably before they've notified the leftist. This notion that something 'bizarre' is going on is without evidence at this point. Just standard right-wing-assholes-worldwide police and prosecutors.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 11:44:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
fairleft:
We also should try to find a way to try to keep as much focus as possible on the political priority, raising consciousness about the Afghanistan tragecy. Justice for Assange and his alleged victims is important, but still trivial relative to what is going on to Afghanistan.

On this we agree... But then why did you write a whole diary solely dedicated to these accusations against Assange and why do you focus all your comments on supporting them?

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 07:12:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How to dismiss instead of getting sucked into irrelevancy is a key skill for leftists, one we obviously are pretty clueless at. Evidence here in the comments section. I'd like to talk about that skill learning, but instead have been responding to comments that say in one way or another that I'm biased toward the alleged victims or otherwise treating Assange unfairly.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Wed Aug 25th, 2010 at 11:48:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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