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Danish journalists acquitted in Iraq WMD leak case

Written by: Staff
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COPENHAGEN, Dec 4 (Reuters) Three journalists at one of Denmark's largest dailies were today acquitted of publishing secret Danish reports that said there was no evidence Saddam Hussein's Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Berlingske Tidende editor-in-chief Niels Lunde and journalists Michael Bjerre and Jesper Larsen faced fines or prison for a series of articles in 2004 based on leaked documents from the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (DDIS).

The three journalist were all found not guilty by Copenhagen city court.

The case was considered an important test of media freedom in Denmark. Earlier this year, Denmark was at the centre of the Prophet Mohammad cartoon crisis, which pitched the religious sensibilities of Muslims against freedom of expression.

The prosecution argued that the public's right to know did not justify publishing the reports, while the DDIS has claimed that the leaks have damaged its ability to cooperate with foreign intelligence organisations.

Former DDIS officer Frank Grevil was sentenced to four months in prison last year for the leak.

REUTERS SSC VV1733

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