Beatrice Ask

Justice minister defends deportation policy

Sweden's Beatrice Ask says that police who stop and question "foreign looking" people are not following the rules. The Justice Minister is responding to criticisms of the "Reva project", which involves police stepping up their work to find and deport people who do not have permission to stay in Sweden.

Many have accused the police of targeting people with dark hair and skin. Author Jonas Hassen Khemiri, whose father comes from Tunisia, wrote an open letter to the minister in Wednesday's edition of Dagens Nyheter, saying that despite being born in Sweden he has constantly faced suspicions from the Swedish authorities because of his darker skin. He challenged Beatrice Ask, to "swap skins" and understand each others experiences.

By Thursday morning Khemiri's article had been shared over 114,000 times on social media and was by far the most read article on Dagens Nyheter's website.

Beatrice Ask says says to Swedish Television that the police have to deport people who are in Sweden without permission, but that officers have to have reasonable grounds to stop and ask someone for proof of identity.

Writing in Dagens Nyheter the minister also rejects the idea that she does not understand racism, saying that, as an exchange student, she stayed with a black family in the USA during the 1970s.

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