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Migration Board bans 'racist' lawyer

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18:04 CEST+02:00
An asylum lawyer and local politician from Skåne in southern Sweden has been blacklisted by the country's migration authorities following revelations about his personal blog on which he referred to Islam as a “psychosocial disease”.

Back in June, the local Sydsvenskan newspaper drew attention to the racist and anti-immigrant views espoused on the personal blog of Hans-Ola Mårtensson, a lawyer previously contracted by the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) to represent the interests of asylum seekers.

“Tear down Rosengård, Hammarkullen and Tensta and send those living there to Norrland and Lappland [in Sweden's far north]. There they can be integrated, learn Swedish, be de-Islamified, and be happy,” wrote Mårtensson, referring to areas in Malmö and Stockholm with high concentrations of immigrants.

The post is one among many on his blog which feature racist and anti-immigrant overtones. Following the newspaper's report, however, Mårtensson elected to take down the blog.

According to the Migration Board, the revelations about Mårtensson's views have damaged his credibility.

“It's important for our representatives to have the confidence of asylum seekers and we don't think that he does,” said acting Migration Board director Mikael Ribbenvik to the TT news agency.

In a response to migration officials, he argues that he is capable of drawing a line between his professional responsibilities and his private views.

But Ribbenvik rejected Mårtensson's reasoning.

“That doesn't work at all. When he goes public with those opinions and they can be viewed by asylum seekers, it damages not only his, but also our credibility with asylum seekers,” he said.

The Migration Board decision means that Mårtensson's name has been added to a list of lawyers deemed inappropriate for working with the agency as advocates for asylum seekers or others who require legal representation.

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