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Criminal charge filed against party leader

Valgerd Svarstad Haugland refuses to comment on the fact that she has been reported by her party colleague for defamation.

Christian democrat Jan Birger Medhaug (Krf) has filed a formal complaint against Svarstad Haugland, Kari Austerheim Silde, general secretary and county leader for the party, and the woman who reported him for rape this spring.

Medhaug claims that all of them have made false statements in public after he was reported for rape.

“I have not seen the complaint, and I’m not sure that I want to comment it,” Svarstad Haugland said to TV 2 Nettavisen. “Regardless, I first want to know what it says.”

The party’s general secretary Inger Helene Venås did not want to comment the case to any extent either.

“We are taking it into account that Jan Birger Medhaug has filed a formal complaint,” wrote Venår in a statement released Friday. “We have had tried to work with him, and through dialog, we have tried to reach a solution so we could close this case. We are sorry that this work so far has not lead to a conclusion.”

No libel

It is the police in Oslo and Stavanger that have to decide if the case is going to be investigated further. The pressing question is if the case is of such a public nature that it is important to pursue the case.

John Christian Elden, the lawyer who represents the woman who reported Medhaug for rape, said that they are not worried about Medhaug’s complaint.

“It is apparent that it is not a case of libel in this case,” Elden said to TV 2 Nettavisen. “She only told the truth.”

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