Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sweden Accused of Persecuting Civil Servant For Pro-Israel Views

An employee of the Swedish Migration Board sued the organization last month for what he considers unlawful demotion for his support of Israel and the U.S., which he expressed in his personal Web site. The parties met last week at the Goteborg District Court for a first hearing on the case. Lennart Eriksson, 51, told Haaretz by phone that his boss, Eugene Palmer, had demoted him last September from the position of manager of an asylum assessment unit - which he had held for six years - to manager of one of the board's shelters. Eriksson maintains that in effect, the demotion constitutes dismissal.

The board - the government body handling immigrants - disagrees with this. Eriksson, who is not Jewish, also said he viewed his demotion as a form of political persecution. According to Eriksson, Palmer told him he had seen Eriksson's Web site and that Eriksson's views were both "unusual and controversial." According to Eriksson, Palmer told him he was being demoted because of the Web site, and that running such a site was inappropriate for a senior official of the migration board. He said his site "does not and has never contained hateful or acrimonious ideas."

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