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Prosecutor orders probe against Assange

TT/The Local · 25 Aug 2010, 15:01

Published: 25 Aug 2010 15:01 GMT+02:00

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The chief prosecutor, Eva Finné has given investigators the task of questioning Assange who is suspected of one case of molestation.

"I don't know when this will happen," Finné told news agency TT.

The first allegation against 39-year-old Julian Assange, concerning the more serious charge of rape was dismissed already on Saturday. Finné has now also dismissed suspicions of molestation in this case.

Eva Finné stressed that this does not mean that she doubts the veracity of the woman's account.

"But the content of the interview does not support the contention that a crime has been committed," Finné said. The preliminary investigation in this case has thus been closed.

Molestation is an offence which would normally incur a fine but a prison term up to a year is the maximum permitted penalty. The law describes the offence as "anyone who physically or by other reckless means molests another".

Claes Borgström, the lawyer representing the two women involved, has criticised the prosecutor's decision to close the other investigation and plans to ask for the decision to be examined tomorrow.

"That which at one time was classified as rape is according to the prosecutor not even a matter of sexual molestation and according to my understanding it is patently clear that there is a reasonable suspicion of that," said Claes Borgström.

Borgström also thinks that the prosecutor should have interviewed the plaintiff before making her decision. He is also unhappy that the alleged offence has been classified as molestation and not sexual molestation.

Borgström said that he planned to appeal the decision.

According to Borgström both of the women involved in the allegations met Julian Assange in connection with his lecture tour of Sweden. They are both aged 25-35-years-old and the women have said that Assange was sober when he molested them.

Story continues below…

Leif Silbersky, one of Sweden most high-profile defence lawyers, was on Monday employed to defend Assange.

Silbersky has argued that the case has taken on unreasonable proportions and places the blame with the duty prosecutor, Maria Häljebo Kjellstrand, who issued a warrant for Assange's arrest after the women approached the police with their allegations on August 13th.

"This is a scandal, he has been stigmatised across the world as a rapist and it comes down to a crime punishable with a fine when a competent prosecutor considers the case," Silbersky told news agency TT.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:38 August 25, 2010 by byke
Why would the prosecutors even need to announce this and make this public?

This really is starting to sound like a smear campaign.
15:47 August 25, 2010 by Liquidmonkey
"starting" to?????

wiki leaks defies the US and decides to publish anyway

a week later, if that, the media release headlines that he is being investigated for rape

a day later, the rape investigation is withdrawn

another day later he is up for molestation investigation.

coincidence? i think not.

and what does molestation charges even mean?
18:21 August 25, 2010 by Nomark
Someone in the prosecutors office leaked the news of the original allegations to the media, at which time it became a worldwide story. The prosecutors office then had to field all types of questions and keep the world's media updated. Whether the prosecutors office likes it or not this is now big news and it is right that they give an update on the status of the investigation. As a proponent for free information, I'm sure JA would agree that this news shouldn't be kept private.

Was the leak part of a campaign against JA ? Possibly but possibly not. Where is the evidence that this was a smear attempt ? Leaks happen all of the time in all government organisations. Journalists pay contacts for interesting news items. Why is this ignored in the rush towards the smear story ? ?

Be very careful to avoid twisting facts around a smear theory. There are more plausible hypotheses to explain what's going on. Do you know that the non-smear alternatives are ruled out ? If so, explain.

Pretending such alternatives don't exist doesn't make the smear theory any stronger.
18:41 August 25, 2010 by eZee.se
Now imagine this, the worldwide media picks up on the original rape allegations... but not all pick up on the next days news that it has been dropped - quite a few people are going to be under the impression that he is still wanted for rape charges.

And for those newspapers that did pick up on the second "smaller story" of the charges being dropped, where do they print it? its very likely that the a lot of readers are going to miss the "follow up smaller story".

Just wait and see if these allegations dont come up in future debates and heated conversations.

The strange part is, to a person like me, the whole rape/molestation charges does not mean s*** because Wikileaks is more than one man.

Its like if Bill Gates suddenly used the "N word" in public... its not like I'm going to like Microsoft any more or less. If Assange did meet with "an accident" the story would still go through and the docs published, he is not the main cog in the machine - the machine that he helped build would run with or without him.

If this is a smear campaign, I guess its just a warning for others who would want to whistle-blow from the powers that be.
20:25 August 25, 2010 by gplusa
Please tell me that's not the best picture they could find !
20:27 August 25, 2010 by Kevin Harris
This would be the same prosecutors' office who were yesterday charged with the much more serious crime of public corruption for their clumsy and clearly illegal handling of this matter. How on earth can they be seen as impartial now? It's in their interests to see JA convicted of something, anything, to limit their own embarassment. The whole case is blown. The prosecutors more culpable than the defendant; their credibility and independence in tatters, along with Sweden's reputation for justice.

Whatever JA may have done, he can't now be fairly prosecuted; there's not a prosecutor in Sweden with the necessary independance to take the case. Guilty or innocent, no sensible person will consider justice to have been done. How can justice possibly be done in these circumstances?

The proper course is for the prosecutors to abandon the prosecution on the basis it can't be prosecuted because of their own incompetence and corruption, apologise to, and compensate everybody involved, alleged victims and JA, and to resign. Then a public enquiry is needed so we can all learn exactly what's been going on here.
21:35 August 25, 2010 by mojofat
I think we can agree correlation does not imply causation, yes?

So, to review the facts:

- Charges were filed by two swedish women

- A swedish prosecutor decided to issue the charges (and revoke the most serious of the two a couple days later)

- The alleged "molestation" took place on swedish soil

Where exactly is the US involvement? People are way too eager to assign everything little thing that happens in the world to the US bogeyman. And Wikileaks has been an equal opportunist with regards to annoying world governments (Australia going so far as to ban the website).

By the way LiquidMonkey, the content wikileaks released that caused the first uproar was April 5th (the "collateral murder" video). The Afghan War Diary release was July 25th...what exactly was released last week that you're basing you're whole (and I'm being generous here) "reasoning" on? And to answer your question, I believe "molestation" would constitute any unwanted physical contact...like copping a feel or playing guess what's in your mouth in a dimly lit bar.
21:37 August 25, 2010 by mjennin2
Dude, the woman in that picture is major creepy /:
09:03 August 26, 2010 by sruk
@mojofat you have your answer here "Pentagon's New Global Military Partner: Sweden"

02:19 December 6, 2010 by ghostof911
The reason the intense pursuit of Assange is occurring now is because the announced release of Bank of America memos has the banksters in a frenzy. Banksters control the U.S. government.

Once again, it only goes to show that if you threaten to take down a government nobody cares; do the same with a bank, and one's arrest becomes imminent.

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