• Sweden edition
 
Court to review access to Sweden's 'Stasi files'
Magdeburg office of German Stasi Archives, 2007

Court to review access to Sweden's 'Stasi files'

Published: 21 Apr 2010 09:45 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Apr 2010 09:45 GMT+02:00

Säpo in November refused Birgitta Almgren, a researcher at Södertörn University south of Stockholm, access to the lists of Swedish contacts for Communist East Germany's (GDR) Stasi secret police.

The Administrative Court of Appeal (Kammarrätten) upheld Säpo's decision when it rejected Almgren's appeal in February.

Professor Almgren has now taken her case to Sweden's highest administrative court arguing that as the GDR and the Stasi ceased to exist 20 years ago the documents can no longer reasonably be argued to pose a threat to international relations or Sweden's national security.

"Access to the documents requested is essential for research into Sweden during the Cold War and, in a wider perspective, to show how dictatorships work and how an open, democratic country can be systematically infiltrated," Almgren writes in her submission to the court.

Almgren hopes that the documents will support her hypothesis that the GDR considered Sweden to be a "focus country" in its foreign policy and functioned as a bridge between East and West in the Cold War.

She furthermore argues that her research is more of an archiving nature and she has no intention to sensationalise the issue or expose names of those contained in the lists.

This is the second time that Birgitta Almgren has pushed the case to the Supreme Adminstrative court after her leave to appeal an Administrative Court of Appeal decision from October 2007 was rejected in December 2007.

The documents that Almgren is seeking access to form part of the so-called Rosenholz files or "Stasi lists" which ended up in the hands of the CIA during the German reunification, but were finally returned to Germany and their respective countries in 2003. The files contain details of informal contacts that the GDR had in a slew of countries.

The German parts of the Rosenholz files are open for public viewing at the Stasi archive in Berlin but the Swedish files remain classified.

In an article in the Svenska Dagbladet daily on February 22nd, Säpo's head of information Åsa Hedin claimed that there was no such "Stasi list", arguing that the approximately 50 Swedish names that featured in the Stasi files found after the fall of the Berlin wall have been fully investigated by the security police.

"In most cases, it appeared that the criminal charges were completely baseless. The people in question had never had access to any secret information and knew no one who had access to classified material," Hedin wrote.

Hedin argued that that espionage crimes committed by the small number of Swedes recruited as agents by the Stasi had already exceeded the statute of limitations by the time their names had been made known to Säpo.

The decision to deny access to the files was defended "partly on national security grounds, partly in the interests of our organization and partly out of consideration to the individuals," the Säpo spokesperson explained.

The Local has made attempts to contact Birgitta Almgren on Tuesday and Wednesday but without success.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

13:21 April 21, 2010 by Audrian
Among other reasons, the collapse of East Germany and 'Stasi' was due to the infiltration of that society by Sweden and through it by the US. The professor appears to have a biased notion that Sweden has suffered from it.

On the other hand, what authorities in Sweden might be afraid of is that the research might show how close Sweden was to the United State's violent foreign policy and how this might undermine Sweden's good image abroad.
20:13 April 21, 2010 by Nemesis
All files relating to the Stasi should be openly published for all to see.

Anyone who took part in Stasi activities is guilty of abusing human rights in all manners.

If anyone in a position of authority of any description has a Stasi past, they should be removed from that position.
04:01 April 22, 2010 by Davey-jo
@Nemesis

The Stasi were'nt particularly nice but then neither were MI5 during the troubles.

I think you might be guilty of a slight over reaction in your comments. Did you see that strange film about the guy whose mother had a stroke over the time that East Germany became reunited with the West and the hilarious lengths he went to keep alive the illusion that the East was still alive? I'm always of the persuasion that real people do not conform to any doctrine and that East Germany could not possibly have been as bad as the USA and other agencies portray.

So to return to your comment; anyone in a position of authority of any description that has a MI5 past, they should be removed from that position. That would take out half of Belfast and Derry on both sides. Own goal I think. Likewise for Germany or anywhere else ...
Today's headlines
Snake hunt after man claims playground bite
The Swedish adder. Photo: Piet Spaans

Snake hunt after man claims playground bite

A man claimed to have been bitten by a poisonous snake at a paddling pool in Gothenburg on Thursday prompting a hunt which ended without a trace of the offending reptile. READ  

Stockholmers sound off on 'beautiful Swedes'
Swedish girls in Stockholm. Photo: Susanne Walström/Imagebank Sweden

Stockholmers sound off on 'beautiful Swedes'

Following a Nordic survey in which Swedes were voted the "most attractive", The Local hit the streets to see what Stockholmers thought. READ  

Sweden keeps eye on Norway bomb threat
Norwegian police car at Oslo Gardemoen Airport. Photo: TT

Sweden keeps eye on Norway bomb threat

The Swedish Security Service (Säpo) have said that an "imminent terror threat" to neighbouring Norway doesn't yet affect Sweden although developments are being closely followed. READ  

Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
The Blomdahl family in Berlin. Photo: Private

Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin

Edvin Blomdahl is seven-years-old. He also cycled from Sweden to Berlin, a journey of 370 kilometres, in four days. READ  

Opinion
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Demonstrations at Sergels Torg in Stockholm. Photo: Kent Vilhelmsson

'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'

As the rhetoric rises at demonstrations in Swedish cities, Stockholm-based Israeli writer David Stavrou calls on Swedes to think before they shout and to cast a critical eye over much that is written and said about the conflict in Gaza. READ  

Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Sweden
The vintage tractor ready to travel from UK to north Norway. Photo: Peter Matheson

Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Sweden

A British man is set next month to drive from Scotland, across Sweden, and to the northern tip of Norway on a vintage tractor to raise money for a cancer charity. READ  

Sweden agency hikes heat warning to 'extreme'
This canine friend is not amused. Photo: TT

Sweden agency hikes heat warning to 'extreme'

Swedish weather agency SMHI has raised its weather warning to class 2, giving notice of "extremely high temperatures" in parts of the country. READ  

Songs for a hot Swedish summer
Ted Gärdestad. Photo: TT

Songs for a hot Swedish summer

Contributor Paul Connolly has put together a list of Swedish songs to capture balmy summer days, which in his neck of the northern woods are pushing the mercury above 35c for the first time in a century. READ  

Swedes suffer as buses boil in the summer sun
Photo: TT

Swedes suffer as buses boil in the summer sun

Stockholm's local traffic authority has received almost 300 complaints since June 1st with many regarding stifling heat on the city's buses, which lack air con. READ  

Grounded flights strand Swedes in Tel Aviv
Photo: Matt Rourke/TT

Grounded flights strand Swedes in Tel Aviv

UPDATE: About 270 passengers planning to fly to Stockholm are still stranded in Tel Aviv, and airlines have stated that flights will likely be grounded on Thursday as well. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
Blog updates

22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »

 

22 July

PROTECTING GIRLS FROM ABUSE OF THEIR RIGHTS (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today (22 July) my Prime Minister, David Cameron, and UNICEF, are hosting the world’s first #GirlSummit in London. The Summit’s aim is to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end the appalling practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Early Forced Marriage (CEFM). This is a high priority for the UK government and the Prime..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Gallery
People-watching July 11-13
National
Malmö mayor slams Danish beggar ban
National
Swedish anti-abortion midwife sues county
National
Swede's salary chopped for Facebook use
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

713
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se