One of the police interrogators involved in the investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had links with one of the complainants, the Swedish newspaper Expressen has reported –– and Crikey can reveal that she was insistent on ensuring that prosecutors made a charge of rape against Assange, and complained to a superior when she was locked out of the process.
Irmeli Krans, who interviewed the second complainant Sofia Wilen, is a leading member of the Social Democrats’ “Brotherhood” group, of which Anna Ardin — the first complainant — is press officer.
Krans was on duty at the Klara police station in central Stockholm on August 20, when Ardin and Wilen went to inquire about the possibility of compelling Assange to take an STI test, following his s-xual encounters with both women over the previous week.
Krans was one of two officers interviewing Wilen. After that, according to the police report, she did not continue with the case.
The connection between Krans and Ardin has been known for several months and commented on in Swedish blogs. However, the press repeatedly failed to pick it up, with one journalist saying that it was “too tenuous” to make a story out of.
It has now hit the public prints because of comments Krans has made on her Facebook page more recently. Describing Assange as “an overrated bubble about to burst” in late February, Krans also posted “good on ya, Claes Borgstrom” after Borgstrom, the women’s lawyer, made a riposte to statements by Assange’s lawyer Bjorn Hurtig.
The full extent of the connection between Krans and Ardin is not yet known. Krans’ blog is on Ardin’s blogroll, and they exchanged appreciations over a comment Ardin left on one of Krans’ postings (about how feminists are silenced by powerful men) in 2009.
Ardin would have been known to Krans through the “Brotherhood”, and the GLBT advancement board within the Social Democrats, with which Ardin — as a prominent bis-xual activist — had dealings.
Krans has also had dealings with the women’s lawyer Claes Borgstrom — the Social Democrat party’s gender equality spokesman — and on her blog she is photographed with Thomas Bodstrom, Borgstrom’s business partner.
Borgstrom and Bodstrom were the architects of the 2005 S-x Crime Act, whose extended laws created the condition of “violation of s-xual integrity”, as a variant on notions of simple consent. There is currently a campaign on to extend these laws further with a series of amendments.
Krans’ role is especially relevant to this case, because of questions as to whether Wilen was influenced into taking the matter — which revolves around unprotected s-x begun by Assange while she was sleeping or half-asleep, and rapidly consented to — further than she wanted to.
“Witness 9”, a colleague of Wilen’s who was interviewed by the police two months after the initial complaint, noted that “This did not turn out as Sofia wanted it to. She never wanted to report Assange for r-pe, and feels she was pushed on by the police and others around her”.
The issue is further complicated by a memo of exchange between Krans and the supervising inspector Mats Gehlin, which is translated on the redoubtable Rixstep blog, (although it doesn’t appear in my copy of the police report). In it, Krans memos her boss to say that she didn’t get a chance to work with the prosecutor to “classify the crime” (i.e. as r-pe or a lesser charge), but was assured that it would be r-pe.
She complains that a colleague liaising with the prosecutors will no longer communicate with her about it. Soon after that she is transferred off the case.
Swedish police spokespeople have refused to comment on the matter, other than to say that Krans did not interview Ardin. Assange’s Swedish lawyer Bjorn Hurtig has said that “one should carefully consider whether the nature of the investigation is such that he can be assured a fair trial”.
Assange is currently on bail in the UK, while the decision to extradite him to Sweden goes through the appeals process.