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Official in cartoon row ticked off by PM

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14:44 CET+01:00
Göran Persson has said that it was "inappropriate" for a senior official at Sweden's foreign ministry, Stefan Amér, to act to close the website of the far-right Sweden Democrats, which had published cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

"This was never sanctioned by the foreign minister," the prime minister told a press conference in Örebro on Wednesday.

Amér, foreign minister Freivalds' political adviser, called the Sweden Democrats' web hosting company after the pictures were published. Security service Säpo also called the company to warn them of potential threats as a consequence of the cartoons.

"It doesn't matter how strong his personal views are – with a political position as expert adviser in the foreign ministry he should steer clear of this kind of activity," Persson said.

When asked why Amér might have done what he did, Persson replied:

"Sometimes the desire to do something is greater than judgment."

It was quite another matter for Säpo to call about the threat assessment, Persson said.

He added that he had not discussed the incident with Freivalds, as he had been in South Africa. He said he would be meeting her on Wednesday afternoon to discuss their appearance on Thursday in front of the Riksdag's constitutional committee's tsunami enquiry.

"I will go through this with her when we meet, but she has made it clear that this was not done on her orders," he said.

TT/The Local

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