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Innocent 'terrorist' shocked by paltry payout from Sweden

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Innocent 'terrorist' shocked by paltry payout from Sweden
Photo: Anders Ahlgren/SvD/TT
08:27 CEST+02:00
A man falsely accused of terrorism has reacted with disbelief at how little Sweden will pay him in compensation.

Moder Mothanna Magid was seized in November at an asylum accommodation in Boliden in northern Sweden on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack on Stockholm. 

In the days leading up to the arrest Sweden had raised its terror threat to the highest in the country's history as security police hunted the suspect. 

But the 22-year-old Iraqi was soon cleared of all suspicions and Swedish commentators lambasted security service Säpo for what was seen as an embarrassing false alarm.  

After his name and photograph had appeared all over the national press, Magid demanded a million kronor in compensation from the state. 

But Sweden's highest legal official, Chancellor of Justice Anna Skarhed, ruled this week to award Magid a measly 12,000 kronor ($1,500), plus 3,308 kronor in legal fees. 

“I am shocked, considering everything that's been published about me, but I can't comment more on it until I've spoken to my lawyer,” he told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. 

Magid was detained from November 19th to 22nd, before Sweden's security police, Säpo apologized and put him on a plane back up north. 

When he got home he said he started receiving threatening messages on social media and in the post, with many people advising him to move back to Iraq. 

“I've had a lot of problems since then. I've said that I want to change address but haven't had any help,” he told the TT newswire. 

“I haven't had any support from the authorities. The only support I've got has been from my friends.” 

The office of the justice chancellor said it hadn't seen any reason to deviate from its conventions for compensating people falsely detained, and that the sum awarded included recompense for unwanted publicity. 

Mårten Schultz, a civil law professor at Stockholm University, said the decision was expected, but added: 

“Personally I think this convention is too stingy in cases like this, where the media damage is extensive.”

Schultz noted that the current justice chancellor had done away with an earlier practice of paying out extra compensation for damages linked to high media exposure. 

“There is merit in doing what the justice chancellor is doing here and sticking to templates, but if the template is so low, in these extreme cases it comes across as being almost offensive. 

“I think there should be room for discretion when there is really major media damage.”

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