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Swedish tabloid reported over organ theft story

Two race complaints have been filed to Swedish authorities over a newspaper report that alleged Israeli soldiers stole and sold body parts of dead Palestinians, a government lawyer said Tuesday.

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Håkan Rustand, a legal advisor to Swedish Chancellor of Justice Göran Lambertz, said that two written requests had been submitted to investigate whether the report in the Aftonbladet tabloid amounted to racial agitation.

"We have received a couple of complaints (against the article) and we have been asked to look into it," he Rustand told.

Lambertz, who was unavailable for comment, is a government-appointed official who acts as an independent judicial watchdog and is the only prosecutor in Sweden who can take legal action in cases concerning freedom of speech.

Yet Rustand stressed that "it is not up to the Chancellor to judge whether the article is acceptable" but only if it breaches Sweden's freedom of expression legislation.

"It is my own opinion that it does not constitute a crime but the chancellor can make another conclusion," Rustand explained.

Under the country's Freedom of the Press Act, it is a crime to publish an article that "threatens or expresses contempt for a population group or other such group with allusion to race, colour, national or ethnic origin."

Aftonbladet alleged in a story last week that Israeli soldiers had been involved in the illegal trafficking of human organs.

The claims sparked outrage in Israel and prompted senior figures in the Israeli government to demand that Sweden distance itself from the report.

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But Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has so far rebuffed calls to condemn the article, stressing a free press is an integral part of democracy.

"It's important for me to say that you cannot turn to the Swedish government and ask it to violate the Swedish constitution," he said on Monday.

 

 

Last Updated (Tuesday, 25 August 2009 17:27)

 

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