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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                      

Kingdom of Sweden

Conditions in prisons and temporary detention facilities are adequate, but concerns have been raised against excessive use of long detention periods.

  [Freedom House Country Report2018]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Sweden

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Sweden.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Sweden

Executive Summary, CPT/Inf (2021) 20 - Part

[accessed 9 September 2021]

POLICE ESTABLISHMENTS -- However, as regards the fundamental legal safeguards against ill-treatment by the police, namely the right of detained persons to inform a close relative or another third party of their situation (notification of custody), to have access to a lawyer, and to have access to a doctor, the Committee is concerned to observe remaining shortcomings regarding their implementation.

ESTABLISHMENTS FOR FOREIGN NATIONALS DEPRIVED OF THEIR LIBERTY UNDER ALIENS LEGISLATION -- The Committee is concerned by the fact that, despite its long-standing recommendation, foreign nationals detained pursuant to aliens legislation could still be held in prisons. The CPT must stress once again that, in those cases where it is considered necessary to deprive persons of their liberty under the aliens legislation, they should be accommodated in centres specifically designed for that purpose, offering material conditions and a regime appropriate to their legal situation.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Sweden

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 9 August 2021]


The constitution and law prohibit such practices, and there were no reports that government officials employed them.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 18 May 2020]


Conditions in prisons and temporary detention facilities are adequate, but concerns have been raised against excessive use of long detention periods.

UN Committee against Torture’s Concluding Observations on Sweden, Ukraine, Venezuela, Australia, Burundi, USA, Croatia and Kazakhstan

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights OHCHR, Geneva, 24 November 2014

[accessed 7 December 2014]

The UN Committee against Torture will be holding a news conference to discuss the concluding observations of its 53rd session ... Among the issues discussed during the session:

SWEDEN: Restrictions on remand prisoners; excessive length of pre-trial detention; wide use of solitary confinement; no separate juvenile justice system; coercive measures, including physical restraints and isolation in psychiatric institutions and hospitals; detention of asylum seekers and irregular immigrants; race hate crimes; absence of definition of torture as defined in the Convention against Torture.

'Torture-like' conditions for kids in Swedish jails

The Local - Sweden's News in English, 19 Mar 2013

[accessed 15 Aug  2013]

[accessed 7 August 2017]

Children in Sweden detained on criminal suspicions are rarely afforded any human contact and subject to isolation akin to torture, according to a new report.

"Our in-depth analysis shows that children are routinely isolated while under arrest or being held on remand and are held shielded from social human contact for 22 or more of a day's 24 hours," Fredrik Malmberg, Sweden's Ombudsman for Children (Barnombudsmannen) told the TT news agency.

Malmberg, who on Tuesday presented a report to the government detailing conditions facing children held on remand, said he was upset that prosecutors often decide to keep children longer than the standard six hours.

According to figures from the ombudsman's investigation, children were held under arrest on at least 3,118 occasions in 2011, although it's unclear how many of the cases resulted in further detention.

Report to the Swedish Government on the visit to Sweden

European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 11 December 2009

[accessed 26 March 2014]


ILL-TREATMENT - 9.  The overwhelming majority of the persons met by the CPT's delegation during the 2009 visit who were, or had recently been, detained by the police, indicated that they had been correctly treated. Nevertheless, the delegation heard a few isolated allegations of physical ill-treatment by police officers. For example, two persons alleged that, in the context of their apprehension, they had been thrown to the ground and handcuffed, after which police officers had proceeded to punch and kick them. Another person alleged that following his apprehension the preceding day, a police officer had thrust his head against the concrete cell floor, as a result of which one of his front teeth had been damaged; he had apparently lodged a complaint. On examination by a medical member of the delegation, the person concerned displayed a chipped left upper first tooth.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/SWE/CO/5 (2008)

[accessed 6 March 2013]

Statute of limitations

10. The Committee notes with concern that the offence of torture, which as such does not exist in the Swedish Criminal Code, is punishable under other provisions of the Criminal Code, and is, therefore, subject to the statute of limitations. While noting information provided by the delegation that a review of the statute of limitations will be conducted, the Committee is concerned that the statute of limitations applicable to provisions of the Criminal Code may prevent investigation, prosecution and punishment of these grave crimes, in particular when the punishable act has been committed abroad.  Taking into account the grave nature of acts of torture, the Committee is of the view that acts of torture cannot be subject to any statute of limitations. (arts. 1, 4 and 12)

Fundamental safeguards

11. The Committee notes with appreciation the new legislation on fundamental safeguards that entered into force on 1 April 2008 in respect of access to a lawyer and notification of custody. However, it is concerned that a public defence counsel will only be appointed once the person is considered to be a suspect. The Committee regrets that Swedish legislation does not include a legal provision on access to a doctor and that a request to see a doctor is evaluated by, and therefore left to the discretion of, the police officer in charge. It further regrets reports that notification of custody is not systematically delivered to family members and is frequently delayed with reference to possible interference with the investigation. The Committee notes that an information leaflet on the fundamental rights afforded to persons suspected of a crime and therefore detained and deprived of his or her liberty has been produced by the National Police Board, in cooperation with the Swedish Prosecution Service, and that this leaflet is currently being translated into the most commonly used languages. (arts. 2, 11, 13 and 16).

Cases Involving Diplomatic Assurances against Torture

Human Rights Watch, 24 January 2007

[accessed 12 February 2013]

MOHAMMED AL-ZARI AND AHMED AGIZA (Update) - Asylum seekers Mohammed al-Zari and Ahmed Agiza were transferred from Stockholm to Cairo in December 2001 aboard a United States government-leased airplane. The government of Sweden expelled al-Zari and Agiza, both suspected of terrorist activities, following written assurances from the Egyptian authorities that they would not be subject to the death penalty, tortured, or ill-treated, and would receive fair trials. Swedish and Egyptian authorities also agreed on a post-return monitoring mechanism involving visits to the men in prison.

Agiza and al-Zari were held incommunicado for five weeks after their return. Despite monthly visits thereafter by Swedish diplomats, none of them in private, both men credibly alleged to their lawyers and family members-and, indeed, to Swedish diplomats as well-that they had been tortured and ill-treated in detention. Agiza remains in prison to date after a patently unfair retrial in April 2004.[38] Al-Zari was released without charge or trial in October 2003 and remains under surveillance by Egyptian security forces, and reports regularly to the police. He is not permitted to speak with journalists or human rights groups.

The UN Human Rights Committee in November 2006 concluded that Sweden's involvement in the US transfer of Mohammed al-Zari to Egypt breached the absolute ban on torture, despite assurances of humane treatment provided by Egyptian authorities prior to the rendition. The committee stated that Sweden "has not shown that the diplomatic assurances procured were in fact sufficient in the present case to eliminate the risk of ill-treatment to a level consistent" with the ban on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT - In December, Ahmed Agiza rejoined his family in Sweden after the authorities granted his application for a residence permit. Ahmed Agiza was detained with Mohammed al-Zari in Sweden in December 2001 and subjected to rendition from Sweden to Egypt on a CIA-leased plane. Both men were subsequently tortured and otherwise ill-treated while being held in Egypt. In 2008, the Swedish government awarded both men financial compensation for the human rights violations they suffered. Ahmed Agiza was released from prison in Cairo, Egypt, in 2011, having been held for over nine years after an unfair trial before a military court. Awarding Ahmed Agiza a residence permit contributed to ensuring that his right to redress for the human rights violations he has suffered is fulfilled. However, an effective, impartial, thorough and independent investigation into these violations remained outstanding.


For more articles:: Search Amnesty International’s website

[accessed 14 January 2019]

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Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 12 February 2013]

[accessed 7 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, there were isolated reports that government officials employed them.

In May a court convicted two police officers for assault and excessive violence against a 64-year-old man. The court sentenced each of the officers to three-months' imprisonment and dismissed them from the police force. In September authorities initiated investigations against three police officers accused of use of excessive violence during a confrontation near Stockholm in September. The investigations were ongoing at year's end.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 1   Civil Liberties: 1   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 12 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

The judiciary is independent. The government maintains effective control of the police and armed forces. Swedish prisons generally meet international standards, although overcrowding and lengthy pretrial detentions sometimes occur.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Sweden",, [accessed <date>]