Assange prosecutor cited for secrecy breach

Assange prosecutor cited for secrecy breach
The prosecutor who issued the warrant for the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been reported for violating rules on the confidentiality of preliminary investigations, newspaper Dagens Juridik (DJ) reported on Tuesday.

The prosecutor on duty, Maria Häljebo Kjellstrand, decided on Friday to issue a warrant to arrest Assange on suspicion of rape. She later confirmed to Expressen that there was a case and that Assange was charged in absentia. The warrant was withdrawn one day later.

Due process organisation Rättssäkerhetsorganisationen (RO), which had previously notified the prosecutor through the Ombudsmen of Justice (Justitieombudsmännen, JO) for her conduct in connection with the decision to issue the warrant, has now supplemented its notification, the report said.

According to the organisation, the prosecutor violated the confidentiality of preliminary investigations by giving the media information about this case, DJ reported.

“We believe that the matter has been handled extremely badly for all parties involved and we are highly critical of how quickly one has taken the decision to detain a person,” RO Chairman Johan Binninge told DJ.

“From an investigative standpoint, it is a disaster to go out in public this way, which can only harm the investigation. A prosecutor must also take into consideration all parties involved, including the suspect, and consider the consequences of a particular intervention for the suspect, in this case, an internationally known person,” he added.

The supplement submitted to Swedish Prosecution Service Authority (Åklagarmyndigheten) information director Karin Rosander confirmed that the warrant decision includes the confidentiality of preliminary investigations. Rosander added that all decisions taken in the matter now be analysed, DJ reported.

Several newspapers, including Svenska Dagbladet, have indicated that the confirmation from the prosecutor had a decisive influence on the editorial decisions that were made.

Rättssäkerhetsorganisationen (RO) is an independent network, including several lawyers, as well as people who consider themselves to be victims of miscarriages of justice, including Billy Butt, who was convicted of nine counts of rape in 1993.

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