Annual Report: Sweden 2013

Report
May 29, 2013

Annual Report: Sweden 2013

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Kingdom of Sweden

Head of state King Carl XVI Gustaf

Head of government Fredrik Reinfeldt

Ahmed Agiza, who had been subjected to rendition from Sweden to Egypt in 2001 and subsequently mistreated, was at last able to rejoin his family in Sweden. In July, the authorities suspended forced returns of Uighurs to China in light of the risk of persecution they faced there.

Torture and other ill-treatment

In December, Ahmed Agiza rejoined his family in Sweden after the authorities granted his application for a residence permit. Ahmed Agiza was detained with Mohammed al-Zari in Sweden in December 2001 and subjected to rendition from Sweden to Egypt on a CIA-leased plane. Both men were subsequently tortured and otherwise ill-treated while being held in Egypt. In 2008, the Swedish government awarded both men financial compensation for the human rights violations they suffered. Ahmed Agiza was released from prison in Cairo, Egypt, in 2011, having been held for over nine years after an unfair trial before a military court. Awarding Ahmed Agiza a residence permit contributed to ensuring that his right to redress for the human rights violations he has suffered is fulfilled. However, an effective, impartial, thorough and independent investigation into these violations remained outstanding.

Refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants

A number of Uighurs were forcibly returned to China between January and June, despite the real risk of persecution and other forms of serious harm they would face upon their return. However, in July, the Swedish Migration Board announced that in light of classified information it had recently received it would suspend all forced returns of Uighurs to China, including in cases where asylum claims had already been rejected.

Discrimination

In September, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance published its country monitoring report on Sweden. The report raised concerns about, among other things, the continuing discrimination faced by Roma – notably in access to social rights; the proliferation of anti-semitic and Islamophobic comments, including by some members of Parliament; and that Jews and Muslims wearing visible signs of their faith had been targeted in “antisemitic and islamophobic incidents”.