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Reasonable doubt needed before ID check

4:28 min

A human rights expert says the ongoing police campaign to find undocumented migrants by stopping subway passengers in Stockholm goes against the European Convention on Human Rights.

Henrik Bergquist, who is Deputy Director of Sweden's Cabinet Office, writes in newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that police who routinely check people must have a reasonable suspicion of a crime to detain a person. He adds that if this were to be taken to the European Court of Human Rights, Sweden would most likely not win the case.

Last week, a police spokesman told Swedish Television that they were concentrating on "foreign looking" people in order to achieve the government's goal of deporting more immigrants without residence permits.

But Intergration Minister Erik Ullenhag said that this creates a climate of fear for members of the public, and that police should not stop anyone based on their appearance.

Chief of the border police in Stockholm, Peter Nilsson, was critical of Ullenhag and said, "If he has more concrete examples, he is welcome to take them up, but I haven't seen anything of substance. There's too much in the media that's purely fabricated."

Maria Ferm from the opposition Green Party was also critical of the police, saying what they are doing is discrimination and that it should not be happening.

Nilsson, however, said: "People who are critical and who are driving this debate are the ones who don't want us to deport people in general."

For his part, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said: "We don't have open immigration. We have a regulated immigration, and that means rules."

Reinfeldt added that if, after their migration cases are examined, people are are notified that they cannot stay, "then it's remarkable if that doesn't make a difference, and everyone stays in any case."

Reinfeldt went on to say that enforcement should be humane and regulated, but that he does not want to go in and discuss the police's way of working.

"(It's) not my responsibility to say what's right or wrong," Reinfeldt told news agency TT last week.