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WikiLeaks' Assange requests new lawyer

TT/The Local · 7 Sep 2010, 17:51

Published: 07 Sep 2010 17:51 GMT+02:00

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Assange made the request in a letter to the Stockholm district court, in which he asked for lawyer Björn Hurtig to represent him instead. Hurtig has indicated that he would like to take over Assange's defence case. He believes that the district court's decision may come in the next few days.

"Of course I will take it upon myself to help him," said Hurtig.

The court said it would not make a decision on Assange's request to switch attorneys on Tuesday.

The letter, written by Johann Binning of due process organisation Rättssäkerhetsorganisationen (RO) by power of attorney, said that Assange no longer has any confidence in Silbersky.

The reasons are that he would not be sufficiently engaged with the case and that it was very difficult for Assange to get in contact with Silbersky. The representative's letter to the district court also referred to Assange's current situation.

"The context is drawing particular attention to his professional career, social situation and not least his ability to stay in Sweden, given that his residence permit application lodged with the Swedish National Migration Board [Migrationsverket] is in jeopardy if he does not receive an adequate defence," wrote Binning.

The district court has now sent the letter to Silbersky for comment. Silbersky has no sympathy for Assange's charges alleging the seasoned defence attorney hasn't focused enough attention on the case, but added he would willingly give up the case.

"I am undeniably somewhat surprised," he said.

"He is right that I am a very busy lawyer. But that I did not call him is absolutely false. I call people as soon as they get in touch even if it is a little later, as soon as I leave the courtroom."

Silbersky is one of Sweden's most famous lawyers and is known for taking on many high-profile cases that garner considerable media attention.

Recently, Silbersky has defended one of the main suspects in the helicopter heist trial three days a week.

"I have never bitten off more than I can chew in a case," he said.

"I am used to the opposite situation. I come into contact with people daily who want to bring me in."

Marianne Ny, director of the public prosecution authority, refused to comment on the latest in the investigation against Assange.

Story continues below…

Assange's current whereabouts are unclear. He is suspected of assaulting two women in late August. One case is classified as rape, the other as sexual harassment and sexual molestation. Assange denies the crimes.

The case has attracted intense international attention because WikiLeaks recently leaked extensive secret information from the Pentagon about the US war in Afghanistan and photos of American soldiers killing unarmed Iraqis. Conspiracy theories have flourished that the US government is behind the charges.

Assange has also applied for residence and work permits in Sweden so that he can become the legally responsible publisher of WikiLeaks, which is hosted in Sweden. The move would grant him additional protection through Sweden's tough press freedom laws, which include heightened protection for controversial sources.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:08 September 7, 2010 by travels
Maybe he should pay for his own lawyer instead of getting a free public defender.
18:11 September 7, 2010 by waffen
Anyone who believes that the corrupt United States govenment is not behind measures to "render" Assange needs to re-evaluate their knowledge of the United States, particularly the years from 2000-2008; the equally and more often corrupt nixon years; and the cowboy actor illusions of granduer reagan years, as well as bush number one, the last of whom at least had enough sense to recognize the "voodoo" economics of the cowboy actor.

You might also go back to the Federalist Papers and re-read Jay and Hamilton's ideas of representative democracy.

The present years of escalation of the conflict in Afghanistan and the covert ground and air war activiies being waged against Pakistan, and who was really behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, .should be enough for anyone who uses their brains to think.

Bhutto's death factor won't be known for another 50 years.

However, the other two instances are in your face, and neither are about to end on any "time schedule,." especially should the generals have anything to say about the matter.

Gates might enlighten you to that fact, because he is of the same mind.
18:22 September 7, 2010 by dwb5555
@ waffen

We get it you don't like USA however at least you could present some facts and not just peddle rumors.
19:03 September 7, 2010 by capt
Whump whump whump, hey Whaffen the black helicopters are coming to get you.
19:43 September 7, 2010 by NovaLand
I'm sure it's not based on facts, but it seems every time someone chooses Silbersky as an attorney, they sure are guilty. Guilty by association. Accepting him as a defense lawyer would be my last option.
22:45 September 7, 2010 by wotist
Maybe Julian Assange learned that in Sweden, not even your mother will believe in your innocence after you've requested Leif Silbersky to handle your defense?
23:57 September 7, 2010 by eZee.se

"rumors" would be two steps up from what 'waffen' posted - If I didnt know he hated the US so much I would have suggested he pulled them right out of George Bush's behind! :-D
07:41 September 8, 2010 by Tutu
I dont blame Assange. Many of Swedish lawyers are good for nothing. Lief is good. Most of them have about 400 cases and the do nothing. They only appear in court and collect their money later. They are better at prosecuting than defending.

I witnessed a case where the lawyer and the client met in Göteborg court for the first time. the client fought really hard to convince the judge to adjourne the case for him to be able to see his lawyer in private first. The lawyer did not see any reason for this adjournment. I shocked to the bone to see this scenairo and to hear later that the lawyer would collect 90000 for the case.

07:41 September 8, 2010 by wabasha
Im officially bored by this guy.
01:31 September 9, 2010 by waffen
Numbers 3, 4, 7

Here is a "rumor" for you: check the New York Times, 8 Sept 10, for this article "Court Sides With C.I.A. on Seizures of Terror Suspects," which among other "rumors" has the following:

" . . . the Obama team has also placed a United States citizen on a targeted killing list without a trial . . . . and continues the C.I.A. renditon program . . ." only at a much stepped-up pace than his criminal predecessor.

Further, on the "rumor" factor, I have a friend who flew rendition missions under contract with the C.I.A. , at the then charge of $389/hour, and he once had Joe Biden as a passenger on a covert flight for other reasons. He and Biden knew one another from previous years. I will never say where he lived or mention his name.

A second friend of many years, was once a Commando under the old C.I.A. Phoenix Program (pre MACSOG) agenda that had him in Vietnam in 1959, before most of you "experts" were alive, and in the jungle for nine months on a 9 member team mission where they were considered dead, but came out on their own with their boots and clothes rotting off nine months.

We had many conversations over the years, just short of Black Secret, and today he does not believe in anything that the United States does or says, and he has no love for their flag, or for civilians, especially those who never served, who talk about things about which they have no idea, like you three.

Yes, I am a veteran. Yes, I have been under the scrutiny of CIA plumbers, as well. That is all that I will say about that matter.

You people are clueless and happy. So here is a statement for you to ruminate over: "It's mind over matter; we don't mind and you don't matter."

Get the point?
15:11 September 10, 2010 by Lloyd Cata
"Still under the scrutiny of the intelligence apparatus - but I don't mind, and they don't matter."

Many think Assange is a traitor. Some would believe anything he is accused of, and others think it's an American setup. All of them may be right, and all of them may be wrong. So, there is a lesson for freedom and the truth here....that have absolutely nothing to do with justice.

Whether Mr. Assange is innocent or guilty(does Sweden presume guilt until proven innocent?) his challenge to the Empire could not go unanswered, and still may result in his death(suicide). Being a intelligent and gifted young man, and given the institutional animosity of the Western world, surely he understands that his life was forfeit the minute he began publishing classified US Government documents. "I was warned", he says.

This will not prevent WikiLeaks from publishing the US documents, nor should it. WikiLeaks set out to simply publish the truth. "People generally do not hide lies....they tell lies". Not to make a martyr out of Mr. Assange, but he cannot now cry foul when he knew the rules permit even the most heinous injustice under the umbrella of war crimes. Most international intelligence services think Quantanamo is too good for such a person, and public opinion is fickle, so there is little that can be done, or should be done, to extricate Mr. Assange from his predicament. He has made his commitment to expose the truth, with full knowledge of the consequences of his actions, and may God have mercy on his soul.

As to WikiLeaks; the TRUTH is a rare commodity in the world today. Rarer than diamonds and more precious than gold. Information is the new world currency. There is a hunger in the world for TRUTH and WikiLeaks has admirably stepped into the arena. There are many voices who proclaim to expose the truth, but time after time we are disappointed by their cowardice in the face of adversity. Some have commented on the WikiLeaks case and some know better than to comment.

It is said that WikiLeaks in endangering Western troops around the world, but like Mr. Assange those troops are under no illusions as to their duty to those they serve. In a world of Justice, Truth, and Freedom it is better that every one of those troops should turn to dust rather than take the lives of the innocent. It is time the world heard the TRUTH, from WikiLeaks or others. For myself, having been to war, this I have learned; "War is failure, and to dress it up as anything else is the first crime, before the first body falls." Many will cloak it in necessity or humanity, patriotism or prejudice, lies and deceit, but whoever comes along and exposes the TRUTH shall be cast as an enemy of victory. After all, is it not the victorious who get to write the history, which in fact is a poor cousin to the TRUTH.
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