Sweden to compensate thousands of Roma after police illegally keep ethnic database on them
An appeals court in Sweden has backed the Romani plaintiffs who have sued over illegal data collection about them. The 11 people, eight adults and three children, will receive 35 000 Swedish crowns (EUR 3 600) as compensation for the damage done to them by police in the Skane District of southern Sweden creating a database about them solely on the basis of their ethnicity.
The case was first revealed four years ago by the Stockholm daily paper Dagens Nyheter. The police database of at least 4 700 people included records on individuals who were not suspected of any criminal activity, according to Czech news server novinky.cz.
The database kept track of Romani people, including how they were related to each other. "This is a big victory for all Roma in Sweden, that the legal system functions here," Fred Taikon, one of the Romani people affected by the case, told news server thelocal.se.
A court in Stockholm arrived at the same conclusion last year. The state then appealed the verdict, alleging that the people had not been listed in the database on the basis of their ethnic origin.
The appeals court, however, said the state provided no other explanation as to why the people were in the database. None of the 11 Romani plaintiffs were suspected of any criminal activity and were not related to any of the other families whom the Skane police had begun keeping track of.
The verdict was scheduled to take effect on 26 May if the state decided not to take the case to the Supreme Court. "I am of the opinion that this case must set a legal precedent. Anybody who was listed in these records must have the opportunity to sue for compensation for these damages and to be awarded such redress," Taikon said.
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