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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
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