Denmark parliament blocks charges against former Defense Minister for leaking state secrets News
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Denmark parliament blocks charges against former Defense Minister for leaking state secrets

The Danish Ministry of Justice Thursday put charges on hold for former Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen after the Danish parliament Folketing refused to remove Frederiksen’s parliamentary immunity. The Ministry of Justice previously recommended charging Frederiksen with leaking state secrets. As a current member of the Folketing, Frederiksen is guaranteed parliamentary immunity under Section 57 of the Danish constitution, which can only be removed by a vote in the Folketing. 

While Ministry of Justice has kept information about the charges classified, Frederiksen alleges that the charges are related to Operation Dunhammer, a joint operation between Denmark’s foreign intelligence agency and the US National Security Agency (NSA). Operation Dunhammer included the illegal sharing of Danish citizens’ information with the NSA and spying on European public officials.

Frederiksen’s lawyer René Offersen emphasized that this case is closed, stating, “We consider the case to be over. We do not expect more to happen in it.”

Frederiksen’s immunity may still be in jeopardy, however, as he announced his intention to retire after his current term. One expert, University of Denmark professor of constitutional law Frederik Waage said it is possible that charges may still be brought after Fredericksen’s retirement. Other experts have shared more tempered opinions. University of Copenhagen professor of criminal and media law at the Center for Public Regulation and Administration Trine Baumbach cautioned that the case may not be so straight forward. 

In a statement to the press before appearing at the Folketing to announce the Ministry of Justice’s decision, Attorney General Mattias Tesfaye was unwilling to predict what the future would hold for Frederiksen’s case. Tesfaye said, “I dare not answer that now. But it’s not like I’m going to think about how we’ll get to a position where we can prosecute anyway.”