Our Swedish correspondent Freedom Fighter has translated an article published yesterday in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet about an ongoing legal controversy in Sweden. The issue concerns an Egyptian Christian who is seeking asylum in Sweden and was assigned a Muslim lawyer. The man, alarmed at being represented by a traditionalist Muslim, found it very difficult to be granted the right to change counsel. The interesting thing is how deeply resistant the Swedish legal system was to the merits of the man’s appeal.
The translator includes this comment:
While it may be discrimination, it is quite understandable that a Christian seeking asylum because of persecution by Muslims finds it hard to have confidence in a religious Muslim lawyer.
Another Swedish contact writes:
The Muslim lawyer in question is a hardcore Islamist who supports the death penalty for sexual offenses. She was roundly criticized in the Swedish media. There’s a post about her at the Swedish blog Politiskt Inkorrekt.
And the translated article:
Swedish State sued after the ruling on veils
In a ruling by the Migration Court of Appeals, a veiled female lawyer has been dismissed from serving as counsel for an asylum seeker because she is Muslim.
The lawyer’s employer is very critical of the decision.
“It is pure discrimination. We will sue the State for damages of SEK 100,000 for the violation,” says Ismo Salmi, at the law firm Salmi & Partners, where she is employed.
The firm is also asking the Administrative Court for a review of the ruling.
The Migration Board appointed the lawyer last fall as attorney for an Egyptian man seeking asylum in Sweden. He is a Christian, and as grounds for asylum has said that he and his family were persecuted by Muslims in their homeland.
When he realized that the counsel appointed for him was a Muslim asked for a change of counsel.
The Migration Board rejected his request on the grounds that the lawyer’s religion was not sufficient reason for the change. The man appealed to the Immigration Court and argued that the lawyer was a Muslim and wore a veil and that he lacked confidence in her. The Court reached the same conclusion as the Migration Board, and refused the man the right to change counsel.
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The man appealed again, now to the Migration Court of Appeal, and on Thursday came the decision which gives him the right to change counsel.
“He may be deemed to have indicated such asylum grounds and have such experiences that his situation is understandable,” writes the court in its decision.
“It is amazing that a decision such as this can be made by a court of law in Sweden. It is incredibly offensive,” says Ismo Salmi.
“If this ruling stands, I see a danger that other law firms will hesitate to hire lawyers who have a veil, if it leads to an inability to obtain legal assignments from the Immigration Service,” he says.
See The Local for a similar article in English on the incident.