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'Secret judges' in Danish terror case: Swede's rep

'Secret judges' in Danish terror case: Swede's rep

Published: 08 Apr 2012 13:34 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Apr 2012 13:34 GMT+02:00

In a move that has drawn criticism from the lawyer of a Swedish suspect, Danish judicial authorities have moved to classify the names of judges and courts that have played a key role in a terrorism case due to go to trial this Friday.

Without informing the suspects in advance, the Danish justice system has classified the names of the judges and courts that gave permission to bug the phones of the three Swedish citizens and a Tunisian charged in the case, reports Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper at the centre of the case.

“I have objections over not being able check these details,” lawyer Kåre Traberg Smidt, who represents one of the Swedes, told news agency TT.

Danish prosecutors charged the four men for "attempted terrorism" over plans to kill the staff of Jyllands-Posten after it carried controversial cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

The four men, all residents of Sweden and arrested on December 29th, 2010, had planned to "kill a large number of people" at the offices of the daily, a judicial statement said.

But contrary to standard Danish practice, the court documents made available to the parties in the case include sections where the names of the authorities that gave Danish intelligence the all-clear to bug the suspects have been crossed out.

Danish lawyers criticized the move, since it effectively prevents the suspects from appealing the wire-tapping orders that may be used as key evidence against them.

“There is no law in Denmark that says you can anonymize judges, courts or prosecutors, and now suddenly this happens. We can’t have judges setting the adjudication process or the laws – that’s up to the parliament,” said Traberg Smidt.

By classifying certain information, Traberg Smidt said the justice system was hindering him from doing his job to the best of his ability.

“I don’t even know which court permitted the surveillance,” he said.

After the Easter holiday, Traberg Smidt said he plans to contact the court where the trial is set to be held.

“I have to ask the judge if this is going to be allowed,” he said.

Judge Elisabet Michelsen said the trial would start on April 13th. The accused are a 44-year-old Tunisian, a Swede of Lebanese origin aged 29, a 30-year-old Swede and a Swede of Tunisian origin aged 37.

Jyllands-Posten published a dozen cartoons in 2005 of Muhammad that triggered violent and sometimes deadly protests around the world.

Three of the four men arrived in Copenhagen on December 29th, 2010 in a rented car from Stockholm. They planned to storm the office of the newspaper, located in the heart of the capital, and "kill as many people as possible".

Danish police who had been collaborating with their Swedish counterparts and had been wire-tapping the men, arrested them just after hearing them say they were "going to" the newspaper office.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:08 April 8, 2012 by calebian22
Ah yes, it is much better for the suspects, 4th and 5th cousins to attempt to intimidate the judges and prosecutors by threatening their families. This lawyer apparently is unaware of the world we live in today.
01:17 April 9, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
The lawyer may say that it his duty is to run around and look for technicalities with regard to the order to set up the wiretapping, and this may in fact be his clerical function within due process, but his more fundamental duty to humanity is to explain to society why his clients should not be locked up if the wiretaps themselves reveal that his clients were truly preparing a bloodbath.

A top Italian judge and his wife were blown to pieces after several high profile prosecutions of mafiosi in Italy in the not too distant past. No reason to expose any of the Danish judiciary to the same fate, so I have no problem with the names of the Danish judges being kept secret. They could publish an anonymous letter stating the justification, and the individual judge(s) could even answer follow up questions anonymously, but there is no need to identify that/these individuals personally.

And as I have posted previously, it has never been clear to me why the jail time for attempted mass murder should be any shorter than for actual mass murder. If they are guily of planning these attacks, these putrid scum should all be locked up in the Hague for a 1000 years
01:32 April 9, 2012 by muscle
one thing good about such cases is, the intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies will wake up to tighten the laws, which is good. As for the judges names, dont know why it should be concerned for the lawer.

Admittedly, if, god forbid, any of us ever got into such a situation, i am sure, we'd be the first ones to complain why the judges names were not disclosed
02:05 April 9, 2012 by för30årseden
If they don't release the identities of the defendants, why is it unfair to keep the identities of the judges secret?

Keeping the identities of the defendants secret makes it tougher for more witnesses to come forward and hinders the collection of evidence.
03:50 April 9, 2012 by Trenatos
I can understand wanting to keep the identities under lock and key as a safety measure.

I'm sure the information need could be arranged by talking to the courts and possibly our two Security Service (Swedish SÄPO and Danish PET).
17:33 April 9, 2012 by Happy Expat
Without informing the possible victims in advance, these alleged terrorists were planning to cause massive loss of life.

By whom the warrants were issued, and on what grounds, is unlikely to affect the determination of their guilt or innocence but, will ensure that if they are guilty, then any potential fanatical relatives will be unable to target those who are only endeavouring to save us all from religious fanaticism.

Can you imagine the justice they would have received in one of the Islamic countries if they were simply caught thinking of committing an atrocity of this nature instead of actually captured in the early stages of executing the attack.
06:10 April 10, 2012 by Rishonim
Thank G-d they will be judged in Denmark and in our Swedish Kangaroo courthouse. I can clearly foresee the verdict had they been tried here. " Since the defendants did not actually cause any act of violence and no one died in the attempt, we the people of Sweden find them not guilty"
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