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Diplomat and wife jailed for smuggling cigarettes

TT/The Local · 16 Dec 2009, 15:36

Published: 16 Dec 2009 15:36 GMT+01:00

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The man and the woman arrived in Sweden from Finland by ferry on November 18th.

When customs officials inspected their Russia-registered car they discovered the massive stash of cigarettes hidden under blankets and sheets in the back seat and trunk of the car.

At the time of the seizure the man, who is stationed at the North Korean trade mission in St. Petersburg, Russia, claimed that both he and his wife had diplomatic immunity and therefore couldn’t be held accountable for the alleged smuggling.

But the Stockholm District Court ruled that since neither of the two were accredited in Sweden, the Vienna conventions governing diplomatic relations didn’t apply.

Instead, according to the court, the incident is a simple case of two people who were caught in the act of smuggling large quantities of cigarettes into the country.

During the trial, the North Korean diplomat claimed that the cigarettes were going to be sent to his home country “for the purpose of supporting public projects”.

But at the time of the seizure, the couple told customs officials that the cigarettes were going to be sold in Sweden to finance a medical operation for his wife.

Story continues below…

The court refused to buy either excuse, however, calling them both remarkable and blatant fabrications developed after the fact.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:11 December 16, 2009 by peropaco
The Russians should apply the same sentence to the pantyhose peddler. But let me get this straight. In Sweden you get stiff prision time for smuggling cigs while murderes and rapist get less that two years. The message is that killing and raping is a better crime.
18:54 December 16, 2009 by eZee.se
Heck, raping and murdering is better than filesharing as well... with filesharing an MP3 you can get upto 2 years, rape a minor... 6 months.

Would really love to see that dartboard they use to make up laws and their sentences.
02:38 December 17, 2009 by lingonberrie
Through covert back-channel diplomacy, they will both be let-off and returned, should their luck hold, to Russia, where Putin might see a use for them as bargaining-chips--but should their luck have run-out altogether--back to North Korea for execution.

One other possibility does exist:that humanitarian Sweden might see them as celebrities, and release them to the delight of the posters on the blogs, and in the bargain save the taxpayer'[s money for eight years to house and feed them.

Who will get the fags is anyone's guess.
08:52 December 17, 2009 by martell
This news report must be a fake.

Accredited diplomats bearing diplomatic passports are immune to legal actions of the host country. They cannot be tried nor jailed for any crime, not even for murder, only declared 'persona non grata' and deported.

In which country are they accredited diplomats, Sweden, FInland or Russia?

If these news are true (no matter if you like or dislike North Korea), this would be an unbelievable breach of international laws.
09:41 December 17, 2009 by Fishtank
Martell read the news mate. It says he is stationed in Russia and he is smuggling stuff into Sweden so swedish court seems to DO right thing first time. Congrats!

I agree with others on JOKE about rapist and murderes. :)
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