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Secrecy for tsunami tapes 'unconstitutional'

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09:00 CET+01:00
Back-up tapes containing information relating to the last government's much criticized handling of the 2004 tsunami disaster should not be subject to a 70-year secrecy order, top government lawyers have said.

The government has put forward a draft bill that would mean that all the information on the tapes would be kept secret for seventy years. Ministers cite national security as justification for the secrecy.

But the Council of Laws, which vets all Swedish bills before they are put to parliament, said the proposal was unconstitutional. For public documents to be subject to secrecy, certain criteria must be fulfilled. The council said that much of the material on the tapes did not fulfill these criteria.

The government is now proposing three-year secrecy for the tapes, according to Svenska Dagbladet. During those three years any material classed as a public document will be allowed to be made available.

The government's new proposal could still hit problems in the parliamentary Committee on the Constitution, which first put forward the proposal for 70-year secrecy. The committee is not under the same obligation as the government to follow the Council of Laws proposals, and it could still change the bill.

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