• Sweden's news in English

Assange hires top Swedish defence lawyer

AFP/The Local · 25 Aug 2010, 07:15

Published: 25 Aug 2010 07:15 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

about whether he will face molestation charges, reports said Tuesday.

"I can confirm that I will represent him," Silbersky told the Aftonbladet daily.

Swedish prosecutors on Friday night issued an arrest warrant for 39-year-old Assange over an allegation of rape but then abruptly withdrew it on Saturday.

Authorities are still, however, investigating a separate claim of molestation against the former hacker.

Assange has said the claims are part of a smear campaign aimed at discrediting his whistleblowing website, which is locked in a row with the Pentagon over the release of secret US documents about the war in Afghanistan.

The Swedish chief prosecutor in charge of the case, Eva Finné, said on Tuesday that she would not reach a decision before Wednesday on whether to formally press charges against Assange.

Silbersky said Tuesday his client did not know what charges, if any, he would face and had sought representation to help navigate the Swedish legal system.

"There have been a number of legal twists and turns, with rape (allegations) boiling down to something different, and we don't know where this will end," Silbersky told the TT news agency.

A lawyer representing the two women aged 25 to 35 who originally made the claims against Assange denied that the allegations were part of a plot to harm WikiLeaks, as the website's founder had said.

"This is not a smear campaign," Claes Borgström told AFP. "This has nothing to do with WikiLeaks or the CIA."

Story continues below…

Borgström added that the two women had gone to police separately over different alleged incidents and had no links to anyone who would be interested in discrediting the website.

Swedish prosecutors have faced heavy criticism at home for their handling of the case, especially for the decision on Friday evening to confirm media reports that the initial allegation involved Assange.

A judicial watchdog on Tuesday reported the duty prosecutor who made the call for breaching rules regarding preliminary investigation confidentiality.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

09:49 August 25, 2010 by Taxalien
The really strange thing about Assange is that he is still at large and not charged for breaking PUL, Personuppgiftslagen. The publication on wikileaks on a Swedish website which does not have a publishing permit means that he is not protected under PUL and this in term means that publishing documents which contain confidential personal information is illegal and carries a penalty of 2 years inprisonment.

Why do we have laws in Sweden if they are not enforced?



49 § Till böter eller fängelse i högst sex månader eller, om

brottet är grovt, till fängelse i högst två år döms den som

uppsåtligen eller av grov oaktsamhet

a) lämnar osann uppgift i sådan information till registrerade

som föreskrivs i denna lag, i anmälan till tillsynsmyndigheten

enligt 36 § eller till tillsynsmyndigheten när myndigheten

begär information enligt 43 §,

b) behandlar personuppgifter i strid med 13-21 §§,

c) för över personuppgifter till tredje land i strid med

33-35 §§,

d) låter bli att göra anmälan enligt 36 § första stycket eller

enligt föreskrifter meddelade med stöd av 41 §,

e) behandlar sådana personuppgifter som avses i 13 och 21 §§ i

strid med 5 a § andra stycket, eller

f) i strid med 5 a § andra stycket för över personuppgifter

till tredje land som inte har en sådan adekvat nivå för skyddet

av personuppgifterna som avses i 33 §.
09:55 August 25, 2010 by Åskar
Now we can deduce what happened. Hiring Silbersky should generally be considered a confession of guilt.
10:11 August 25, 2010 by Puffin
@Trowbridge & Askar

Hiring Silberksy means nothing one way or the other - you can ask to get Silbersky on LEGAL AID - and he may take your case if it is high profile - and nothing looks to be higher profile than the Wikileaks case.

Given that the Prosecutor stated yesterday that a new decision on whether to charge/arrest or drop the case TODAY - I guess it makes sense to have a lawyer in place when you don't know what charges are being considered


Hasn't the PUL thing gone away now that the Pirate Party have taken over the server?

Also and unusual element of this case that the victims have given press interviews as early as Saturday denying that they are part of a conspiracy

Nothing about this case seems straight forward
10:48 August 25, 2010 by Åskar

Obviously you are not familiar with Silbersky's track record of who he has aided and the outcome of his efforts.
12:25 August 25, 2010 by Taxalien
Puffin. As far as I know PP has not asked for a permit but I may be wrong on that one. The fact would still remain that the first publication is in breach and it may well be that the second is too.

You have no recourse to claim that the rights in the constitution is valid unless you have that permit.

Which is in itself quite interesting. What does it tell you about Sweden? You have no right to have a permit according to the constitution.
12:28 August 25, 2010 by ArchibaldId
The best part of the story is that one of the women is a hard line swedish radical feminist. Assange forgot what NOT to do when sitting in a house of glass: throw stones.

One could also say that Assange has the biggest **** in the world: he managed to trip over it.

I am just waiting for other women to come forward and tell their stories about Assanges bedside manners.
14:48 August 25, 2010 by eZee.se
"The biggest complaint against Assange and Wikileaks is that it isn't transparent about who is funding them..."

Who really gives a rats behind about that? I really dont care if the Iranian or North Korean or Somalian or Swiss or Martian or Jupiter or Saturn govts. etc are **some** of the people (and umm.. aliens for those of you who didnt get the joke)who are financing WL as long as WL publishes **the truth** on all entities.

"Hiring Silbersky should generally be considered a confession of guilt."

Oh yes, hire a lawyer to defend you and you are guilty...

Stellar logic there mate!
15:10 August 25, 2010 by Tall swede
@eZee.se Hiring a lawyer to defend you is no sign of being guilty. Hiring the lawyer Silbersky is. He is the one who defended the guy who beat up an old man and killed a old woman on a parking lot, claiming it was "an accident". Yeah right, my fists fly into the face of old people every day for no reason... Silbersky is everything wrong with justice in the world personified. If someone beat him up with a stick i would cry for the poor, defenseless stick, just like he did in that parking lot killing.
15:36 August 25, 2010 by eZee.se
Just make a ballet saying 'most lawyers are scumbags'... and you can count on my vote.

But however much we may despise lawyers and this lawyer in particular (I agree with what you wrote - he is a scumbag) the fact of the matter is if he could pull those two cases off; he's a damn good lawyer.

And I dont know about you, but if I am ever in a really bad position with the law (and I was innocent) and I had to pick a lawyer who has all the morals and honesty in the world but who would probably lose the case... and another one who was a scumbag but knows how to totally work the system to get my innocent ass free: I would go with the one who could get my ass free.
16:16 August 25, 2010 by Debaraja
"This is not a smear campaign," Claes Borgström told AFP. "This has nothing to do with WikiLeaks or the CIA."

Right, otherwise, CIA would have openly taken the responsibility. Now we know!
16:54 August 25, 2010 by eZee.se
"This is not a smear campaign," Claes Borgström told AFP. "This has nothing to do with WikiLeaks or the CIA."

Did anyone see if his fingers were crossed behind his back or he "accidentally" went "wink! wink!"

Just a series of coincidences... nothing to see here, move along now!
17:12 August 25, 2010 by Vetinari
1. An Australian is accused in a Swedish court. Of course he will get a native lawyer to help him. Who wouldn't? If I was accused of a crime in Australia I would get an Australian lawyer.

2. I am sure Silbersky offered quite a good deal to Assange for being able to represent him in what is probably the highest profile case in Sweden right now. This will give Silbersky a ton of publicity and (for him) hopefully a slew of new clients.

I can't see how the hiring of Silbersky is any admittance of guilt.

As for the PUL, I don't see why Swedish law would protect personal information of non-Swedish citizens published on a non-Swedish site. Even if the servers where physically located in Sweden.

Although I can see how this can be debated.
12:47 December 1, 2010 by Twiceshy
I think few of us - with the exception of Assange and the women involved - know what really happened.

What I do know is how my opinion of Sweden has changed. From a few Swedish friends - both the Swedish and the Åland/Helsingfors kind - I had gotten the impression of a country, proud of its neutrality, proud of being one of the few European countries without US military bases on its soil, proud of its way of living. Yet when push comes to shove Sweden does not mind doing the dirty work for the US; and the supposedly liberal free press laws mean little in practice. I'm sorry, but an arrest warrant for Assange for sexual crimes sounds like a hipocritical way to get rid of a difficult problem.
03:44 December 4, 2010 by Brendan Harradine
It was my bitter disappointment growing up to realise the dirty tricks and harm that the "good guys" (USA - Australia etc) are involved in.

I want to contribute money to Assange's legal actions -

hopefully: Malicious Prosecution & Breach of its Constitution against Interpol. Defamamayion and abuse of process against others.

Today's headlines
Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available