Sweden to compensate for secret police files

The Swedish state has been ordered to pay compensation to five people for the mishandling of information about them being held by the country's intelligence service, Säpo.

The European Court of Human Rights found that the human rights of the five were infringed when they were refused access to the documents about them.

The court awarded compensation of between 3,000 and 7,000 euros, or roughly 28,000 to 65,000 kronor. On top of that, the five were awarded 20,000 euros for costs.

One of those who was awarded compensation was the human rights campaigner and former Liberal member of parliament Ingrid Segerstedt Wiberg.

Three of the others are, or have been, active on the left fringes of politics, with backgrounds in the Marxist-Leninist (Revolutionaries) Party or the Left Party.

The fifth, Per Nygren, is a journalist at Göteborgs-Posten and has written several notable articles about nazism and Säpo.

In October last year the European Court delivered its first statement in the case, confirming that Sweden had broken the European Convention.

Dennis Töllborg, professor of jurisprudence, led the case for the five people.

“Nothing is over until it’s over. Life has taught me that there are strong power structures which means that things do not always go as they should. But now they did,” said Töllberg, in response to a question from TT about whether the verdict was expected.

According to the court, the state breached four articles of the European convention in various combinations in the five cases.

Carl-Henrik Ehrenkrona, the legal chief at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden’s failing was not in refusing to provide the Säpo documents but for the fact that they contained information which they should not have.

The details were not serious enough to justify being kept on record by Säpo, and the European Court found that Sweden violated four of the individuals’ right to respect for private and family life, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association.

The court found that for all five people including Ingrid Segerstedt-Wiberg there had been a violation of the right to an effective remedy.

“The government must analyse [the judgement] carefully and make a decision on whether it will accept it or try to have it overturned by the European Court’s Grand Chamber,” said Ehrenkrona.

The five first applied to the European Court in 2000 to have their cases heard.