|Norway not to reopen espionage case against ex-diplomat|
| [09.06.2011, 04:12pm, Thu. GMT]|
|There is no sign that the evidence used to convict a top Norwegian diplomat of espionage 26 years ago had been subject to tampering, announced an independent Norwegian review panel Thursday. As such, there will be no move to reopen the case. In 1985, Arne Treholt was given a 20-year sentence for spying for the former Soviet Union and Iraq.But the fairness of that sentence has come into question recently due to suggestions in books and newspapers that the evidence used for the conviction had been fabricated.|
The Norwegian Criminal Cases Review Commission decided to conduct its rewview last September after those revelations were aired. But Thursday's announcement showed that it had found nothing in the disclosures to make it question the evidence.
'The commission has limited its investigation to the claims that evidence was fabricated and false testimony. We have not found grounds for these allegations,' commission head Helen Saeter told a televised news conference.
Saeter said the commission had interviewed 29 witnesses including former and current members of the security police. The decision not to reopen the case was unanimous.
Treholt has since his 1992 release for health reasons tried to clear his name. He currently lives in Cyprus.
'This was not a surprise,' he told broadcaster NRK from Cyprus.
Treholt said he would study the commission's report with his lawyer before deciding on his next step, but said 'prestige' had played a role in the review commission's decision.
A source cited in last year's book Forfalskningen (roughly The Fabrication) claiming evidence had been tampered with had not been identified, Saeter said.
She also cited analysis of photos taken during a search of Treholt's apartment. This was backed up by other correspondence and bugged phone conversations.
Evidence against Treholt included wads of cash photographed in his briefcase during a secret search of the flat prior to his arrest.
Saeter said the commission, which was created in 2004, presented its findings in February to Treholt and his lawyer and the state prosecutor.