4 March 2011

Assange and interrogation dates in Sweden

The Assange legal case shows bias and imbalance.

The Swedish Association of Lawyers is enquiring into the conduct of Julian Assange's Swedish lawyer, Björn Hurtig, after London magistrate, Howard Riddle, condemned Hurtig as an unreliable witness for giving false testimony during Assange's extradition hearings.

Hurtig falsely claimed in the hearing that Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, had made no attempt to interview Assange before he left Sweden on 15 September 2010. She had in fact given Hurtig one proposed date.

Not content with attacking Hurtig, Riddle went on to say:

"It would be a reasonable assumption from the facts that Mr Assange was deliberately avoiding interrogation before he left Sweden."

Hurtig’s “mistake” has indeed been very damaging to Julian Assange, but Riddle’s assertion that Assange was “avoiding interrogation” seems unproved on the facts.

First, Hurtig had made several previous attempts to arrange an interview for Assange with Ny; and it was Ny who had turned down the earlier opportunities.

Second, it is unclear whether Hurtig passed on Ny’s proposed date to Assange.

The disingenuous behaviour of Ny is apparent. Hurtig, in a letter to Assange’s London solicitors dated 14 November 2010, claims that on 14 September Ny told him that Assange was free to leave Sweden. If that is so, and there is no reason to disbelieve it, Ny seems to have facilitated Assange leaving Sweden prior to her questioning him. Why?

There is another aspect to the undermining of the credibility of Hurtig. He is the only person outside the Swedish state to have seen the text messages between Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen, messages which apparently undermine their allegations against Assange.

More generally, there is a total imbalance in the case. Any fault or oversight on the Assange side is picked on and the worst inferences are drawn from it, while a myriad of irregularities from the prosecution are passed over.

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