A man arrested by the Security Service more than one year ago on suspicion of espionage against refugees in Sweden has now been charged with serious unlawful intelligence activities against several individuals in Sweden.
Daniel Stenling, Head of the Security Service's Counter-Intelligence Unit explains, “Unlawful intelligence activities targeting refugees is a very serious crime. It undermines the democratic process, as it prevents people who are already vulnerable and have fled their countries from exercising the rights and freedoms they should be enjoying under Sweden’s constitution.”
The man who has now been charged was arrested on 26 February 2017 on suspicion of having been tasked by another country to unlawfully gather information about individuals in the Tibetan diaspora in Sweden and subsequently handing over this information to a foreign power. A criminal investigation headed by a national security prosecutor has been carried out by the Security Service.
“During the course of this investigation, the Security Service worked with other European police authorities. This cooperation is vital to fighting serious crime such as unlawful intelligence activities against refugees, and has made it possible to bring charges against this man."
Unlawful intelligence activities targeting refugees is a method used to prevent refugees from criticising the regime of the country from which they have fled. It is also used by certain regimes in an attempt to gain control over people who have fled their countries, regardless of why they have done so or where they are now located.
Daniel Stenling points out that unlawful intelligence activities targeting refugees is not a new phenomenon. Following a series of gradual changes in recent years, the intelligence threat to Sweden has reached a new normal level. Unlawful intelligence activities against individuals are part of the intelligence threat posed by foreign powers.
Such activities can also be used against people who are not refugees. For example, they could be used against Swedish citizens who are engaged in human rights in a particular country.
“The Security Service makes every effort to prevent and counter any unlawful intelligence activities carried out in Sweden against refugees. Such unlawful activities are often extensive, branched out in several countries and take a considerable amount of time to investigate. We follow up and investigate any indications we receive that unlawful intelligence activities targeting refugees may be taking place in our country”, says Daniel Stenling.