The lawyer representing the notorious Swedish hacker Gottfrid Svartholm Warg – founder of the Pirate Bay and known in online communities as Anakata – has condemned his treatment by Danish police.
Warg and a 20-year-old Dane are suspected of hacking into a public database controlled by the IT firm CSC and accessing sensitive data from the driving licence database, a register of wanted persons in the Schengen region, and passwords to police officer’s email accounts.
He has been held on remand following his extradition from Sweden on November 28 and Frederiksberg City Court will decide tomorrow whether to continue Warg’s detention while police continue their investigation.
Up until now, the public prosecutor has successfully argued that the court hearings about extending his detention should be held behind closed doors, but his lawyer, Luise Høj, argues that is an unnecessary precaution.
“The prosecutor has so far argued that the case is sensitive and that the hearings should be held behind closed doors, but I don’t think that the things we are discussing are particularly delicate, and it would be good for the Danish people to see what is really going on in this case,” Høj told The Copenhagen Post.
Warg was extradited after facing similar charges in Sweden and was at first held in solitary confinement in Copenhagen before being moved to a jail in Køge where he was allowed some contact with other inmates.
Høj criticised Warg’s treatment by police, arguing that they are needlessly exerting pressure on him by withholding his reading material and keeping him confined.
“His books in Sweden were checked [by police] a long time ago so I don’t know why they weren’t given to me. It’s not usually the case that inmates bring in their own reading material because they have access to a prison library. It’s a problem, however, if you aren’t a Danish citizen and you want access to English and Swedish literature,” Høj said.
“But it’s simply another example of them trying to bring him down and put pressure on him, like when they kept him in solitary confinement. It’s a deliberate strategy by the police, I guess to try and make him participate in more questioning and talk about other issues. But I really can’t see why they would want to place more pressure on him because Gottfrid is actually very co-operative,” she added.
Lawyer: The case is thin
Warg was extradited while serving a one-year sentence for hacking into a Swedish public database, where he had access to books and was allowed contact to the outside world – privileges that have been revoked while in Danish custody.
He was also found guilty in June of hacking into the mainframe of the bank Nordea, but was later acquitted after the Svea Court of Appeal ruled that it could not be proven that his computer was not being remotely operated by a third party at the time when the hacking took place.
According to Høj, the CSC hacking case bears a strong similarity with the Nordea case.
“The material [in the CSC case] is very thin and I don’t think [the Danish police] have a case. I have already said that the fact he was acquitted of the Nordea charges should be given far more attention than it currently is,” Høj said.
Mother: It's a nightmare
Besides his lawyer, Warg’s only contact is with his mother, Kristina Svartholm, who is allowed to meet him for one hour every week and who argues that there is little reason to keep her son isolated and without outside reading material.
“They are worried that someone will pass him secret messages, but it’s nonsense. If he had anything to hide he would have destroyed the evidence a long time ago when he had contact with the outside world,” Kristina Svartholm said. “Its been a nightmare and the nightmare is not ending. Its not about Gottfrid’s innocence, it’s about fairness and about making sure that he is given a fair trial.”