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Five Minutes to Midnight for Marianne Ny in the Land of the Midnight Sun

Time is running out for Marianne Ny. Sweden’s erratic prosecutor waited nearly five years to interrogate Julian Assange until a Swedish court scolded her, and now, through her own bloopers, can’t even effect an interrogation at the last minute. Her initial plan was to have Ingrid Isgren at the Ecuador embassy in June, but as per usual, Marianne Ny hadn’t checked proper procedure. So now, when Ecuador told her how to do things correctly (using her own foreign department for starters) she has to wait until both Ecuador and the UK sort through her ‘legalese’.

(Compare this with her bungling of the original arrest warrant, rejected by British authorities over and over, because she couldn’t fill in the form properly and tick a few boxes.)

The following interview took place this morning on Swedish state radio (SR) with Stefan Wahlberg (SW) who is editor-in-chief of Dagens Juridik, the country’s leading website on Swedish jurisprudence. The interviewer, Cecilia Khavar, is a producer for Swedish state radio.

[Note: this is a rush transcript and may not be in its final form.]

SR: Yes, so, and as we heard this morning on the radio, there’s only a bit more than a month remaining until some of the crimes Julian Assange is accused of here in Sweden reach their statute of limitations. Assange is still at the Ecuador embassy in London and is still arrested in Sweden in absentia with interrogations not being possible. But now we have Stefan Wahlberg, editor-in-chief of Dagens Juridik. Good morning!

SW: Good morning!

SR: What’s with the statute of limitations for these accusations expiring? How does that affect the prosecutor?

SW: Of course it means that the complainant loses the opportunity for retribution if it’s the case that Assange is guilty. But of course Assange is not charged with, much less convicted of, any such crime, so he must be treated as innocent. And then one should be able to presume that prosecutors and police follow their guidelines to ‘swiftly proceed with investigation’ – because both complainant and accused have an interest in seeing matters expedited as quickly as possible.

SR: So why do you think things have come to this impasse?

SW: Well this case is completely unique, isn’t it? And in all possible ways. It’s been extraordinary. Prestige has played a big part. The fact that Assange sought asylum at an embassy is not something they’re accustomed to dealing with. It’s also important to point out that Assange has absolutely no responsibility to contribute to an investigation! So this is not just a matter for the prosecutor, who has complete responsibility to present the case, but also complete responsibility for the prosecutor to EXPEDITE the case, for both the complainants and the accused, AS SWIFTLY AS POSSIBLE. And in my opinion Marianne Ny hasn’t done this.

SR: You say it’s prestige. What do you mean?

SW: Well already from the start things were rather clumsy. First there’s a prosecutor who arrests him, then a day later another prosecutor who rescinds the warrant, then a few days later yet another prosecutor who opens the case again. This was very clumsy – all those prosecutors with radically different opinions. They couldn’t make up their minds if there’d even been crimes committed!

SR: There certainly were varying opinions in the beginning… And then he traveled to London to hide away at the Ecuador embassy, and he’s asked the prosecutor to come to London to interrogate him, and THEY DIDN’T WANT TO DO THAT, and… Oh… Oh… Oh yes, they said that would give Assange preferential treatment, and so forth… And… Well wouldn’t it have been preferential treatment?

SW: But that’s what I’ve been trying to explain to you! This is in the EUROPEAN CONVENTION! That an accused has no responsibility to contribute to an investigation! So the bottom line is it’s the prosecutor who has the responsibility, no one else!

SR: So you’re saying that one should always do this in cases where an accused is outside the country?

SW: Well with our modern communications technology it’s no great exertion for two individuals, police and prosecutor, to get to London, when Assange has in fact been asking for this interrogation all along! But now they’re trying to get it done at five minutes to midnight, right before the statute of limitations takes effect. This isn’t well managed. This isn’t a matter of preferential treatment – this is a matter of straightforward criminal investigation procedure!

SR: I want to add that Julian Assange hasn’t wanted to travel to Sweden to be interrogated here, claiming there’s a risk he can be surrendered to the US by the Swedish authorities. Thank you for your time, Stefan Wahlberg! And we should also say we’ve tried to contact Marianne Ny, but she has refused to respond. We should also point out that the prosecutor had decided to hold an interrogation in London in June, but they’re still waiting for permission from Ecuador.

Note: The impartiality of SR’s reporter Cecilia Khavar is conspicuous in its absence. Trying to get the last word in an interview is cheap, to say the least, and in this case smacks of micromanaged state propaganda.

The matter of Marianne Ny’s latest blunder isn’t as simple as SR reporter Khavar would have her listeners believe. Marianne Ny’s original request to Ecuador was sent at the last minute, and also was sent through the wrong channels – Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) applications are matters between sovereign states and must be handled by ministries for foreign affairs – not state prosecutors doing legal research.

This is what caused the initial delay – in an application that notwithstanding had to wait five years (and criticism from a Swedish court) to make an appearance.

As with her initial attempt to secure a European Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange back in 2010 – an attempt which failed four times, and could have failed further if she hadn’t called in an ‘expert’ from the US – Marianne Ny isn’t demonstrating any fundamental legal competence.

Marianne Ny’s attempt to make Ecuador a scapegoat at this late stage in the game, to camouflage her own incompetence, when she’s done absolutely nothing for five whole years now, is cheap in the extreme. And it can’t be described as anything but propaganda for the Swedish state radio interviewer to shove misleading comments on the listener at the end after Stefan’s interview is over.