EU court orders compensation for satellite dish eviction

EU court orders compensation for satellite dish eviction
The Swedish state has been ordered to pay compensation to a couple in Västerås by the European Court of Human Rights after they were evicted from their Stockholm flat over a satellite dish dispute.

Adnan Khurshid Mustafa and Weldan Tarzibachiwere have been awarded the sum of €10,000 ($13,950) plus interest in compensation by the court against the Swedish government.

The court found the Swedish government liable for having failed in “their positive obligation to protect” the couple’s “right to freedom of information” as enshrined in article 10 of the EU Convention on Human Rights.

The court ruling has effectively established that the possession and use of a satellite dish for the purposes of exercising one’s right to freedom of information is a human right.

The couple were served an eviction order in 2006 from their flat in Husby in western Stockholm when they refused to remove a satellite dish from their kitchen.

The couple had moved their dish into the kitchen when a new landlord assumed control of the building in 2003 and, in accordance with an existing lease agreement, instructed tenants to removed satellite dishes from the building’s facade.

The couple acted in accordance with the landlord’s instruction and moved their dish inside. The landlord then proceeded to argue that the couple’s satellite dish was not acceptable for reasons of health and safety.

The landlord took the case to the Svea Court of Appeal (Svea hövrätt) when the couple, supported by a ruling by the Rent Review Board (Hyresnämnden), refused to dismantle their dish.

The court subsequently found against the couple, issued an eviction order and they moved out in June 2006.

The court order and the lack of a functioning rental housing market in the Stockholm region forced the couple and their three children to re-locate to Västerås, a town situated 110 kilometres to the west of Sweden’s capital.

The couple then took their case to the European Court of Human Rights to seek compensation for the inconvenience and additional costs incurred from the move.

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