Thursday, February 28, 2008

Muslim Mum Discrimination Case Headed to Swedish Supreme Court

The City of Gothenburg has appealed to Sweden’s highest court to avoid paying damages to two Muslim mothers who were kicked out of a swimming pool for not removing their veils. A month ago, the Court of Appeal for western Sweden found the city guilty of ethnic discrimination and ordered it to pay the women 20,000 kronor ($3,230) each in damages. The city had been sued by the Discrimination Ombudsman (DO).The women, Houda Morabet and Hayal Eroglu, were at the pool accompanying their children but had no intention of swimming themselves.

Swedish Government Recruitment Shrouded in Secrecy

The Swedish government has failed in its commitment to adopt an open appointment process when recruiting top-level civil servants, TV4 reports. In October, the minister responsible for the appointment procedure, Mats Odell (ChrDem) said in a Riksdag debate that "documents handed in by a candidate will of course be in the public domain". Just three days later, however, the trade ministry signed an agreement with a recruitment firm to find a new director general to head the state energy utility Svenska Kraftnät. The agreement included a non-disclsurere clause. According to Mats Odell, this was a mistake that will not be repeated. "It's completely wrong, it goes against regulations," he told TV4.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Swede: 'I Was Demoted For Defending Israel'

A Swedish Migration Board employee with 20 years' experience is charging that he was demoted due to his pro-Israel political views. Lennart Eriksson, 51, has had what he describes as a long and relatively happy career with the Migration Board (Migrationsverket).

In his spare time he also operates a personal blog in which he expresses his support of democratic freedoms and espouses support for the cause of Israel in particular.“I want to defend freedom and democracy. I try to be humble and just. Therefore I must—as every good democrat must—defend Israel,” reads a passage describing the content of Eriksson’s blog, Sapere aude!.

Sweden: Man Dies After Two Hour Wait For Ambulance

Despite a woman’s repeated calls to Sweden’s emergency number, SOS Alarm, it took two hours before an ambulance arrived to care for son. The 34-year-old man died shortly after paramedics arrived.The woman believed her son was having a heart attack, prompting her to call SOS Alarm five times as she waited for help to arrive.“

I said that I needed an ambulance and that there was something wrong with my son. I explained that he was lying on the floor, that he had stinging in his arms and pain in his chest,” said the mother to the Sydsvenskan newspaper.When the ambulance finally arrived the man collapsed and died in the hall.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sweden: Increase in Bestiality or Sex With Animals

The Swedish Animal Welfare Agency reports a rise in documented cases of animals suffering psychologically and physically from sexual abuse by Swedes. Smaller animals suffer injuries to their genitalia due to vaginal and anal penetration. The emotional traumas horses suffer are difficult to asses.

Cut and stab wounds are also a worrisome problem. Bestiality is not illegal in Sweden. A ban on the practice was lifted in 1944, along with a ban on homosexuality. However, a person can be found guilty of cruelty if prosecutors can prove that the animal suffered physical or psychological injury.

Sweden’s Latest ‘Epidemic’, Self Molestation by The Young Growing Out of Control

The number of young Swedish girls ‘cutting’ themselves continues to increase. This expanding phenomenon, nicely called self-injury or –harm, leaves the authorities helpless. Girls make three out of four cases as boys went their anxiety and desperation through abusive behavior, fights and drunkenness.

One girl, the father an alcoholic and mother a fanatic, saw ‘cutting’ as the only way to relieve her otherwise unbearable feelings. The cutting amongst girls, Dagens Nyheter reports, has become a popular fad, a stage that can begin with slight self-inflicted pain, like putting drops of dish-liquid in the eyes or just scratching the skin until bleeding commences to willful breaking of ones own bones.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sweden: “We're living dangerously" Says Expert as Radiation Leaks Are Discovered

The radiation leaks at a nuclear reactor north of Stockholm went undetected for three years, and the leaks were only the latest in a series of mishaps. Some analysts argue that the outcome was a matter of luck and that a serious accident — even a meltdown — could have happened.

A highly critical internal report from Forsmark plant criticized what it called an "extensive and profound degradation" of the safety culture, describing, among other things, how an alcohol test of 25 workers at the plant resulted in three being sent home for drunkenness.

"It's a bit like a lottery," said Lars-Olov Hoglund, an engineer who was involved in the construction of the plant. More nuclear power plants have since been shut down over the serious safety problems encountered. "These reactors are old," said Lennart Daleus, the secretary general of Swedish Greenpeace. "We're living dangerously."

Swedes Afraid of Returning to Its Drunken Past Due to EU Directives

A nation with a tradition of drinking to the point of drunkenness and a history of abuse going back to the miseries of 19th-century industrialization, Sweden has been able through stringent laws and enforcement to stabilize the alcohol consumption of its citizens.

During the worst period of abuse in Sweden in the mid-1800's, the country had more than 175,000 distilling machines for a population of about eight million, and consumption was estimated at almost 49 quarts of alcohol per adult per year compared with about 9.5 ten years ago. But the European Union is extending its reach and to harmonize its policies. Stretching from freezing climates to desert regions and incorporating vastly different cultures, the union is seeing that what may be a market commodity in one country is a health issue in another.

"Here we come from a tradition of drinking where people beat each other up and even get killed over drinking. You talk to the Italians and they don't see that. Drinking has been a part of their way of life for 1,000 years and they think young people need to be taught to drink." Says Dr. Gunar Agren, the executive manager of Sweden's National Institute of Health.Lennart Johnk, who has worked with alcoholics for 20 years says, "The world is changing and that is good, but as social workers I think we are going to have more problems."

Sweden: Assar The Ugly Lynxs Has to Die

The Stockholm zoo Skansen has found a ’better’ lynxs, the big wild cats of the Scandinavian forests, to take Assars place. Assar is young and healthy but has to make way for better specimen. One of Skansen’s animal care workers expressed him/her self under anomity:

”Its discusting to kill them. One can wreck and destroy cars but not living beings”.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Disturbed Attacks on Taxi Drivers in Sweden

Violence and robbery of taxi drivers in Sweden is not only on the increase but motives shift from the criminal towards those in mentally and psychologically deranged minds. Dagens Nyheter Monday Feb 18

The Invisible Children in Sweden

Up to 10.000 innocent children of imprisoned parents are being called the “invisible ones” as they do not appear on any statistics in Sweden. Thus they fall outside of any state-support or control.Svenska Dagbladet Monday Feb 18

Sexual Molestation of Children by Other Children in Stockholm

Svenska Dagbladet reports 20 Feb a noticeable increase in sexual molestation of children by other children in Stockholm. This pediatric form of child abuse, perpetrated by another child, is on the increase especially in the kindergartens. Part of the problem is that pre-school staff does not receive sufficient training to notice any warning signals.

Swedish Lecturer Fined For Slapping Student

A lecturer from Uppsala University has been fined the equivalent of 60 days' wages for striking a medical student across the face during a practical demonstration. The incident took place during a lecture attended by 70 to 80 medical students. As part of the day's lesson, the lecturer selected one member of the class to participate in a demonstration on how to act when checking patients' levels of consciousness. With 70 to 80 of her peers in attendance, the student was asked to lie on her back on the lecturer's desk. The lecturer, who also works as a neurologist at Uppsala University Hospital, then proceeded to slap her repeatedly across the face while her classmates looked on and laughed.

Swedish Students Convicted in Bullying Case

Five teenage boys have been convicted in Malmö for binding their 14-year-old classmate with tape last May. The teens were found guilty of unlawful detention and sentenced to between 35 and 120 hours of community service.

Swedish Heraldists Want Penis Reinstated on Military Badge

Sweden's chief heraldists remain dissatisfied with a decision by the Nordic Battlegroup to remove a lion's penis depicted on its coat of arms. But staff at the National Archives are hopeful that the Nordic Battlegroup will reconsider its position and re-erect the lion's member on its insignia. "They stepped over the line when they made alterations to the badge without consulting us. It was a clear breach of copyright," state heraldist Henrik Klackenberg told The Local.

Swedish Football Hooligans Clash in Helsingborg

Fighting broke out between rival Danish, Swedish and Dutch hooligans at a pub in central Helsingborg on Thursday evening. Police made two arrests and removed a further 24 people from the area after Thursday's UEFA Cup match between Helsingborg and PSV Einhoven, Skånska Dagbladet reports.

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."

Swede Caught in UK Welfare Scam

A Swedish citizen falsely claiming to have 18 children managed to cheat UK welfare authorities out of more than £20,000 ($39,000/247,000 kronor) before getting caught. Caockmari Omoike, 36, a naturalized Swedish citizen from Gambia who has no children of her own, deceived officials from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs using multiple UK addresses and false names, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Swedish Hospital in HIV Needle Mix up

A nurse at Sahlgrenska University Hospital injected a patient with a syringe previously used on a patient infected with HIV. Officials believe that the oversight may have resulted in the man being infected with the HIV virus.Sweden’s Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) has issued a sharp criticism against the hospital, according to the newspaper Göteborgs Posten. The two patients, one hospitalized with HIV and the other with severe head injuries, were housed in the same room at the hospital.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Prison Time For Sweden's Mentally ill

The government wants to discard the ban on prison sentences for those with serious psychological problems. Currently, mentally ill offenders are sent to mental health facilities.Under the government's new plan, courts would have the option of prison sentences in certain cases, allowing for more flexibility in the sentencing process.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Pessimism Rises Among Swedish Store Owners

Confidence in the development of retail sales is at a record low among Sweden’s merchants. “The public debate about a possible economic slow down presumably plays a major role in the panel’s view of the business environment,” said Swedish Trade Federation vice president Yvonne Ingman in a statement. According to the barometer, merchants believe that jewelry, electronics, and furniture stores will be hit hardest by an economic downturn.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

More Young Swedes Depend on Welfare

More young Swedes than ever before are never making it into the job market, instead finding them stuck in welfare dependency.

Swede Held For 'al-Qaeda Ties'

23-year old Swedish citizen is in custody in France for suspected ties to a group linked with al-Qaeda. The man was arrested by French police on February 1st on his way back to Sweden. Sweden’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed the arrest and tells the newspaper that the embassy is awaiting permission to visit the man.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stressed Out Swedish Students Tired of Studying

Close to half the students in Sweden’s system of higher education have been near or have seriously considered quitting school. In its annual Student Barometer study, Sweden’s United Student Unions (SFS) asked 6,642 students questions about completing their education, and how they view the work and working conditions at institutions of higher learning. Many of the respondents who considered giving up studying had ethnic backgrounds other than Swedish, were gay or bisexual, or had disabilities.

Sweden: Mother Suspects Daughter Was Victim of Honour Killing

The mother of the 16-year-old Malmö girl who died a week ago Sunday after falling from a balcony says her daughter was the victim of an honour killing. In an interview on the newsmagazine program Aktuellt, the girl’s mother explained that she long had concerns about her 19-year-old son, who has been in custody on suspicion of murder since last Wednesday, along with the girl’s 38-year-old stepfather.“I had contacted both social services and the school several times about the problems with my son, the girl’s brother,” the mother said to Aktuellt.“But they told me my son was my problem.”

Monday, February 11, 2008

Swedish Teacher Accused of Making Beer Run for 15-year old Students

A Stockholm middle school teacher has been charged for purchasing alcohol for two of her female students. The 37-year old woman is accused of buying an undisclosed amount of beer and strong cider for the two students, both 15-years old at the time.

Governments in Sweden Shun Privatization Experts

A new survey shows that both centre-right and social democratic governments do a poor job at consulting experts when planning the sales of state-owned companies. As the government made preparations for the sales of OMX, SBAB, TeliaSonera, and Vin & Sprit last year, it was criticized by the Swedish National Audit Office (SNAO) for not taking the views of agencies affected by the planned sales.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Wave of Illegal Weapons Hits Sweden

Weapons crimes have increased by 20 percent in Sweden since 2000. There are an increasing number of weapons in circulation in Sweden and smuggling continues apace. A case involving four men accused of smuggling 40 pistols in their car over the Öresund bridge in October 2007 reached its conclusion in Malmö this week. The verdict is expected to be delivered during next week. Rolf Bårdskär at the customs and excise criminal investigation unit (Tullkriminalen) in Malmö described the case as "exceptional."

Swedish Neo-Nazis Become More Violent

Sweden's three largest neo-Nazi groups were busy in 2007 conducting 1,142 activities. The Security Service, Säpo, warns that Nazis are becoming more violent. The magazine Expo has examined the activities of the National Socialist Front (NSF), the Swedish Resistance Movement (SMR) and Info-14 and found that neo-Nazi activities occurred in 19 of Sweden's 21 counties in 2007. Only Kronoberg and Jämtland were free of neo-Nazi activities.

Friday, February 8, 2008

TeliaSonera AB to Cut 2,900 Jobs in Sweden and Finland

Swedish-Finnish telecomms operator TeliaSonera AB issued its year-end report on Friday (8 February), posting net sales of SEK96,344m, a 5.8% increase compared to 2006. The operating income amounted to SEK26,155m, up from SEK25,489m in the previous year. Earnings per share increased from SEK3.78 to SEK3.94. Despite recently having completed a programme to cut annual costs by SEK1.5bn, TeliaSonera announced new plans to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

The new programme aims at cutting an additional SEK5bn off costs, mainly by reducing a further 2,900 jobs in Sweden and Finland. Two-thirds of the new job cuts will take place in the Swedish organisation.

Swedish Teacher Fined For Flashing Boobs

A teacher in Sweden has been fined for flashing her breasts at a male pupil. She was convicted of sexual harassment after exposing her breasts to the boy in retaliation for the boy covering the blackboard with swear words and sexual drawings.

Swedes Hit With Massive Tax Bill

Swedes handed over a whopping 577 billion kronor of their income in taxes in 2007. No wonder the Finance Minister is smiling. In all, Swedes handed over 577 billion kronor ($88 billion) of their 2007 income to the guardian of the state funds. This represented an increase of 5.4 percent on figures for 2006. Most of the total was made up of local government income tax contributions.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sweden Mulls Tighter Family Reunion Rules

Stockholm - The Swedish cabinet Thursday approved a review of tighter rules for refugee family reunion, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said. A refugee with a resident permit must in future be able to prove that he or she can support themselves and also have suitable housing, the premier said, citing that the review was part of his centre-right government's overall aim to "make it profitable to work." "Everyone who can work should do so as far as possible," Reinfeldt said at a news conference with Migration and Asylum Policy Minister Tobias Billstrom.,sweden-mulls-tighter-family-reunion-rules.html

Racist Comments Force Out Local Swedish Politician

Marge Aab Svensson, a Moderate Party politician and head of Vallentuna recreational committee, has left her post following charges she referred to a colleague using racially insensitive language. Aab Svensson also serves on the municipal executive committee and municipal council of the Stockholm suburb.

According to local newspaper Mitt i Vallentuna, she was one of the municipality’s premier politicians, but now stands accused of referring to a colleague as a “jävla blatte, jävla svartskalle.” The ethnic slur translates roughly into “damn coloured person, damn black head.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Finns in Demo For Jailed MS Patient in Sweden

Demonstrators in Finland staged a protest on Monday evening in support of a Swedish multiple sclerosis patient who was sentenced to jail after growing cannabis for medicinal purposes. Organizers said that 25 to 30 people gathered outside the Swedish embassy in Helsinki at 6pm to express their outrage at the decision by a Swedish court to jail 39-year-old Susanne Eriksson.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dean Resigns in Swedish Church Sex Scandal

The Dean of Gothenburg has resigned following revelations of sexual harassment. Bishop Carl Axel Aurelius has admitted knowledge of the revelations for years. Despite knowing of the allegations against his closest colleague and protests from women in the diocese, Aurelius awarded the dean an honorary position only a couple of months ago, Göteborgs Posten reports.

Three of the allegations date back 25-30 years and involve teenage girls. Aurelius has previously admitted to knowing of one of the allegations for several years. Two further allegations came to his knowledge only a few weeks ago. Aurelius explains that the incidents have not been reported to the police as the statute of limitations had expired.


The Swedish Migration Board has demoted – and in practice fired – Asylum Assessment Manager Lennart Eriksson, 51, for voicing support for democracies such as Israel and the USA on his personal website. The Migration Board has not alleged that Eriksson’s personal beliefs have in any way affected the quality of his work, nor is it alleged that he has behaved in any way inappropriately while at work, acknowledging that he manages his website entirely in his own private time. It is for his political beliefs that he is being persecuted. Eriksson is a Conservative.

Lennart Eriksson, 51, has worked at the Swedish Migration Board in Göteborg in western Sweden in a variety of positions for almost 20 years. He is a Conservative in his personal political affiliations and has for many years managed his own Internet website where he has expressed his personal opinions on a variety of subjects. On this website Lennart Eriksson has voiced support for Israel and the USA as pillars of democracy. His employers have known about the website for many years.

Conservative politics “not mainstream”

Over the past five years, up to September 2007, Lennart Eriksson served as manager of an asylum assessment unit. On his return from a year-long leave of absence during which he completed his doctoral thesis, he was immediately called to a meeting with the newly appointed operational manager. The manager informed Eriksson that he had seen his website and that Lennart Eriksson’s Conservative views were both “unusual” and controversial. The manager was particularly opposed to Lennart Eriksson’s support for Israel and the USA and his online description of WW2 US general George Patton as one of the heroes of the Second World War. Lennart Eriksson was then summarily informed that he had been demoted.

In response, Lennart Eriksson sued the Swedish Migration Board in county court. Eriksson’s view is that he has in practice been fired from his job as asylum assessment unit manager, camouflaged in the form of a transfer. Lennart Eriksson feels that whatever the final legal outcome regarding the terminology – demotion or transfer – there is no cause for this move. The Migration Board confirms that Lennart Eriksson has been transferred as a result of the opinions he expressed on his private website. Opinions that are not against anything, but rather for certain beliefs – Conservative politics and democratic countries, specifically Israel and the USA.

Freedom of expression in danger in Sweden

The right to freely express opinions on political, cultural and social issues without risk of reprisal is the very foundation of a democratic society. Freedom of expression, which is protected in Sweden by the Constitution, does not provide unlimited freedoms but it is nonetheless a very far-reaching right indeed. The opinions that Lennart Eriks­son expresses are based in their entirety on a strong democratic foundation whose cornerstone is the unassailable affirmation of every individual’s equal human value. Lennart Eriksson’s opinions are politically Conservative. These opinions may naturally be disputed within certain quarters, not least among a largely left-leaning media. They may not always be regarded as politically correct in a society where there is a strong innate tendency towards conformity. However, these views are nonetheless shared to a large extent by the entire Swedish government, a coalition that is led by a Conservative majority. A long history of Social Democratic control at the helm of the nation and of the Swedish Migration Board, however, has left a very firm imprint on both the nation’s media and various state departments – not least the Migration Board.

Political persecution

Political persecution is not easily identified in a country where generations of citizens have been brought up to hear that this sort of thing does not occur in Sweden. If someone in another country had suffered the treatment to which Lennart Eriksson has been subjected – the more so in a State-run and State-funded department – the victim would in fact have been entitled to seek and thus be granted political asylum in Sweden.

The Swedish Migration Board fulfils a vital social function. Protecting human rights and offering asylum to victims of persecution are among the Board’s central roles. However, the Swedish Migration Board reveals that it will not hesitate to pursue its own employees for their political beliefs. Consequently, the Swedish Migration Board’s credibility in its everyday operations – operations of immense sensitivity to the nation’s security – is being rapidly undermined and risks total collapse.

By supporting an operational manager who displays a remarkable lack of education, an embarrassing shortfall in historical perspective and a penchant for prejudice coloured by personal political belief, the Swedish Migration Board has diluted the democratic nature of one of Europe’s oldest democracies.

Ilya Meyer
Gothenburg, Sweden

Ilya Meyer is a writer and translator living in Sweden. He has also lived for a number of years in Israel and is well acquainted with both the Swedish and Israeli international and domestic political scenes.

Ilya Meyer has been a long-time Israel advocate in Sweden and is a frequent contributor to the printed media as well as appearing on radio and TV. He served as the Chairman of the Board of Information of the Gothenburg Jewish Community, is Vice-Chairman of the Sweden-Israel Friendship Society, West Sweden Branch and a former board member of the Interfaith Dialogue Group, West Sweden Division.

His two eldest children left Sweden to serve in combat units in the IDF and his two younger children are studying in the UK and Sweden at university and school respectively.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sweden Cuts Down Asylum Grants to Iraqi Refugees

STOCKHOLM, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Only 42 percent of Iraqi refugees were granted to stay in Sweden in January 2008, compared with 93 percent in the same month of last year, the Swedish Migration Board said Saturday.Sweden refused to give majority of Iraqi refugees asylum grants due to the decision made last December by the Swedish Superior Court of Migration, spokesman of the Swedish Migration Board Per Loman said in a statement.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Swedish Miner Dies After Collapse

One person has been found dead after a collapse in a mine in Kiruna, northern Sweden. The man was found at 4am after an eight hour search. The collapse is believed to have been caused by an earth tremor.

Sweden: Relatives Arrested Over Girl's Death

Two men have been held in connection with the death of a 16-year-old girl in Malmö. The girl believed to have been pushed from a balcony in an apartment block in the city's Hermodsdal district on Sunday evening.

The suspects, both of whom are related to the victim, were arrested near the building and taken in for overnight questioning. On Monday morning the public prosecutor ordered for them to be detained in custody on suspicion of murder or manslaughter.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sweden's Ericsson Slashes 1,000 Jobs After Profit Fall

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson is to cut 1,000 jobs in Sweden alone following a substantial fall in profits. The company's profits four the fourth quarter of 2007 were 7.6 billion kronor after financial items. This compares to 12.2 billion kronor in the same period in 2006.