Lost Swedish passports ‘should be probed’

Lost Swedish passports ‘should be probed’
Swedish passports are increasingly thought to be circulating on the black market. Photo: The Local
Sweden’s main opposition party on Saturday proposed imposing tighter rules on the handling of passports in a bid to prevent them from being used by terrorists, saying police should be able to question a person who applies for a new travel document after losing it twice.

In an op-ed piece published in Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, Moderate Party leader Anna Kinberg Batra and former justice minister Beatrice Ask said that Sweden cannot remain naïve when it comes to the large number of passports that go missing each year, saying there are strong indications that Swedish passports are increasingly being used illegally.

 “Almost 60,000 passports were reported lost in 2013. We can’t exclude that some of those are being used to facilitate extremists to travel in and out of the country,” they wrote.

“The terrorism and increased amount of radicalisation that we are seeing in our vicinity is unacceptable and demands that strict measures are taken,” the two politicians said pointing to last week’s terror attack in Copenhagen that left three people dead as well as the botched suicide bombing that took place in central Stockholm in 2010.

 “This is why the Moderates propose that police should be given the opportunity to call a person to a meeting the second time the person loses his or her passport and applies for a new one.”

They also suggested hiking the price for the issuing of new passports in cases where they have been lost or stolen.

“Today, it costs 350 kronor (€37) to have a passport issued. We propose that a person should only be able to get a passport issued to that price once every five years. A second passport should cost more. If you apply for a third one, the cost will rise additionally.”  

Last month, the national intelligence service confirmed that at least 100 Swedes have fought alongside Islamist extremists in Iraq and Syria. The agency said it was working hard to control fighters who had returned to Sweden and who could “perhaps” be prepared to carry out terror attacks on home soil.

"We have seen an increasing number of young Swedes travelling to Syria where they go and get training in training camps, they learn to become terrorists, handle explosives, handle weapons," the head of the agency, Anders Thornberg, was quoted by news agency TT as saying.

The Swedish government last week announced that it is also drafting a law to be able to confiscate passports from Swedes who have fought alongside militant extremists.