Posted by: sean | November 15, 2006

Danish intelligence saw no evidence of Iraqi WMD, journlalists on trial

The editor and two journalists from Berlingske Tidende are on trial for publishing Danish intelligence from before the invasion of Iraq that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction:

In articles published in 2004 they quoted from analysis by a Danish intelligence agent, Frank Grevil.

His report, written before the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, concluded that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq.

The Berlingske Tidende journalists could go to jail if found guilty.

It is being viewed as a landmark case in Denmark, which is usually an ardent defender of freedom of expression.

An offence of publishing confidential Danish government documents is punishable by fines or up to two years in prison.

Berlingske Tidende’s chief editor Niels Lunde went on trial along with reporters Michael Bjerre and Jesper Larsen on Monday. They pleaded not guilty.

Former intelligence officer Major Frank Soeholm Grevil was sentenced last year to four months in jail for leaking the documents to the reporters.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen supported the US-led invasion of Iraq and told parliament he was convinced former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was in possession of WMD.

The journalists’ defence lawyer Henrik Dahl told the court his clients had done nothing wrong “because there was a huge public interest” in the information they published, the Associated Press reported.

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