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Sweden Used as 'Haven' by Potential Terrorists – Migration Board Head

© AP Photo / TT News Agency / Pontus Lundahl(File) A police car is parked in front of a mosque in Uppsala, Sweden Thursday Jan. 1, 2015
(File) A police car is parked in front of a mosque in Uppsala, Sweden Thursday Jan. 1, 2015 - Sputnik International
Sweden's Migration Board wants to change the regulations to make the country less attractive for potential terrorists, who use Sweden as a “haven”.

Providing potential terrorists with a refuge despite numerous deportation decisions, the way things are now, is unreasonable, Migration Board Director General Mikael Ribbenvik maintained. In a surprising change of course, he went so far as to call it “offensive” for these people to remain in the country just like others.

“Despite deportation decisions, they often remain in the country on roughly the same conditions as everyone else in society. Today's regulations are unreasonable and deeply offensive to most people”, Ribbenvik wrote in an opinion piece in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

“It is important that we get a new regulatory framework in place as soon as possible that clearly signals that Sweden is not a safe haven for war criminals and potential terrorists”, he stated.

According to Swedish Radio, in 2019 Sweden saw a record number of asylum seekers (122) that the Security Police (SÄPO) see as a threat and who should therefore be rejected. None of them, however, were expelled due to legislation in place that prevents expulsion to countries where people risk torture, death, and degrading treatment. Among these, Iraq and Afghanistan, are to be found, to name a few. This leads to people posing a security threat never actually leaving Sweden.

Instead, the would-be terrorists are granted a time-limited residence permit that allows them to work in the community, support themselves and pick up government grants, such as such as a housing allowance, maintenance support, and parental allowance.

According to Ribbenvik, the Migration Board intends to stop this routine which paves the way for widespread abuse. People representing a security threat should be placed in a “waiting position” until an expulsion can be completed, Ribbenvik believes. Thus, they would not have the same rights as others. Since they would no longer be entitled to financial contributions, Sweden would become less attractive to Islamists and other threats.

“These are people who can pose a security threat to Sweden or war criminals. I think it's time to choose the way, because the rejection decisions are never put into action in many of these cases. This makes Sweden a little more attractive to these types of people, which we see as very unfortunate, Mikael Ribbenvik told Swedish Radio. “And then we are not held in high regard by other countries. They have a hard time understanding why people we believe to be dangerous are still given passports and residence permits”.

SÄPO would not comment on the agency's proposal, but agreed with the problems identified.

“We welcome a review of the legislation”, SÄPO press secretary Gabriel Wernstedt said, emphasising the need for a more effective and clearer law. “We concur that it is problematic that individuals who are deemed to be a security threat and who have an expulsion decision remain in Sweden. It is also problematic that temporary residence permits make it easier to stay and work in Sweden even when one is considered a security threat”, Wernstedt concluded.

Two policemen stand outside a mosque in Uppsala, Sweden - Sputnik International
Sweden's Dilemma: 'Failed to React on Islamist Threat' to 'Avoid Racism Stigma'
In late 2019, a total of six hardcore Islamists and hate preachers of immigrant background previously labelled a “security threat” by SÄPO and slated for expulsion from Sweden were notoriously released from custody, prompting strong reactions. The official and much-questioned explanation was that they risk persecution in their respective home countries, including Iraq and Egypt.

Sweden also remains one of Europe's leaders in terms of jihadists per capita, having provided about 300 “Daesh* travellers”, as they are sometimes referred to in official parlance.

In recent years, SÄPO's estimate of the number of violent Islamists has risen tenfold from about 200 in 2010 to about 2,000.

* Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and other countries

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