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Sweden looks to toughen laws against spying

Published: 06 Feb 2013 17:12 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Feb 2013 17:12 GMT+01:00

Counter-espionage laws in Sweden need to be strengthened, with a particular focus on refugees reporting back to their home countries, government investigators stated on Wednesday.

The report findings were handed over to Justice Minister Beatrice Ask.

The investigation focused on collaborative international efforts and on spying by refugees (flyktingspionage) from within Sweden.

The report proposed harder punishments for refugee spies, and said Swedish lawmakers should introduce a new criminal definition of "unlawful intelligence activities against a person" (olovlig underrättelseverksamhet mot person).

There have been several reports in Sweden of refugees reporting on the activities and allegiances of fellow refugees to the authorities in their country of origins, many of which punish political dissenters and in some cases their families.

On top of this, the investigators recommended that such a crime should carry a prison sentences rather than the fines that are given out in accordance with the existing laws.

The investigators added that it should be possible to arrest suspected spies earlier in an investigation than the current system allows.

The government appointed the investigation three years ago with the aim, according to Ask, to make it easier to catch those guilty of espionage in circumstances that extended beyond those affecting only national security.

The investigation, Ask said at the time, was to deal with information stretching beyond Sweden's military service.

Refugee spying has made headlines as recently as November, when Swedish security service Säpo launched an intelligence probe into suspicions that Syrian intelligence agents were spying on Syrian nationals in Sweden.

Changes to the laws were proposed to come into effect on July 1st next year, with the fundamental changes to the constitution proposed to be amended by January 1st, 2015.

TT/The Local/og

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Your comments about this article

20:12 February 6, 2013 by DrMartin
The problem is the ambiguous definition of spying. Just because one is foreign, and reports back to the situation in Sweden, can be termed as spying. Recent Russian spies in the USA were guilty of passing nothing more than reports on general political sentiment in the country.
07:15 February 7, 2013 by RobinHood
The government, and SÄPO has a long list of Left Party and Social Democrat politicians, and journalists who were spying for the STASI. The list remains secret, and these people will neither be named not prosecuted.

Why are refugees being targeted by these new laws, yet Swedes allowed to go about as if they were not disgusting traitors prepared to rat out their own countrymen to one of the world's most repressive regimes?

As a potential Social Democrat voter, I want to know if my chosen candidate is a traitor.
23:01 February 9, 2013 by peterrkj
Just some propaganda so the government can pass some laws so they can watch there own people even closer than they all ready are to see who's not paying all their taxes and hiding money outside the country.coincidence that this story pops up the same time that Sweden gets a bad report for evading taxes, I think not.they are already making it more and more awkward for any body to handle cash everything is made easier and cheaper to do by card cause its easier for them to tract.
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