Sweden
Head of state
King Carl XVI Gustaf
Head of government
Fredrik Reinfeldt
Death penalty
abolitionist for all crimes
Population
9.4 million
Life expectancy
81.4 years
Under-5 mortality
2.8 per 1,000

Ahmed Agiza, who had been subject to rendition, was released from prison in Egypt. Concerns were raised that many Romani asylum-seekers from Serbia were being denied access to a fair asylum procedure. Forced returns to Eritrea and Iraq continued.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Sweden failed again to introduce torture as a crime in its Penal Code.

  • On 2 August, Ahmed Agiza was released from prison in Cairo, Egypt, having been held for over nine years following an unfair trial before a military court. Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed al-Zari, both Egyptian asylum-seekers, were detained in Sweden in December 2001 and subjected to rendition from Sweden to Egypt on a CIA-leased plane. Both men subsequently reported that they had been tortured and ill-treated while being held incommunicado in Egypt. In 2008, the Swedish government awarded both men financial compensation for the human rights violations they had suffered. However, an effective, impartial, thorough and independent investigation into these violations remained outstanding.

Following his release, Ahmed Agiza applied for a residence permit in Sweden in order to be reunited with his family who still lived there. Awarding him a residence permit would help to ensure that he received full and effective redress for the violations he had suffered.

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Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants

The Swedish authorities continued to consider a large number of asylum applications to be “manifestly unfounded”, just under half of which were made by Roma from Serbia. In addition, the accelerated asylum determination procedures through which such cases were processed did not meet international standards; applicants were denied a proper individual determination of their protection needs and access to legal aid.

In April, the Justice Ombudsman heavily criticized the Stockholm County Police Authority’s decision to deport 26 Romanian Roma as being unlawful; the deportees had been denied entry clearance on the grounds that they were “spending their time as vagrants/beggars”.

Forced returns to Iraq and Eritrea continued despite the real risk of persecution or other forms of serious harm people could face upon their return.

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International justice

In April, the Stockholm District Court handed down a conviction for war crimes to a former member of the Croatian Defence Forces. The convicted man was found to have participated directly and indirectly in acts of torture and other ill-treatment against Serbian prisoners between May and August 1992 while working as a guard at Dretelj detention camp during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Court found him guilty of aggravated crimes against international law, sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment and ordered him to pay compensation to 22 of the victims.

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