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    Posted September 10, 2014 by

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    Pirate Bay trial pulls no punches


    The trial of Gottfried Svartholm Warg, co-founder of The Pirate Bay is off to a rotten start in the state of Denmark.


    Anders Riisaager, prosecuting attorney on the case, reportedly opened the trial with a video of Svartholm Warg on the day of his arrest in Phnom Penh. The video depicts him “puffing mechanically on a cigarette” in a contemptibly unkept apartment.


    The following day, Riisager presented an article written by an expatriate in Cambodia that claimed Svartholm Warg was, at the time of his arrest, steeped in drug culture and maintained no contacts beyond his “dealers and landlord.”


    Codes of cultural decorum dictate that we shake our heads at such representations. There is, after all, a feeling that a defendant who can’t keep his apartment in order must be guilty.


    But then, there is nothing to approve of in an attorney who opens his case not with evidence, but a smear campaign.


    Neither the document nor the video provide any information germane to the accusation that Svartholm Warg is responsible for hacking computer systems controlled by the Danish government.


    Both legal experts and lay observers have remarked that the prosecution’s case for these claims is flimsy, at best.


    Julian Assange and Joseph Appelbaum, collaborators on the WikiLeaks project, have aired suspicions that he is being punished for largely political reasons relating to his involvement with the release of their Collateral Murder video (attention: violent content).


    In a legal system that purports to operate on the basis of evidence, a solid case would accomplish far more than character assassination.


    Indeed, if we assume Riisager is a competent attorney, it is hard to imagine he would not open his case with the most damning evidence he has available.


    Michael Juul Eriksen, representing Svartholm Warg’s co-defendant Peter Sunde, reports that he can prove that a key piece of the prosecution’s case is not only invalid, but has been manipulated.



    Guilty or no, one can only hope that Svartholm Warg and Sunde’s trial will end more professionally and with greater deference to legal precedent than it has begun.

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