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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Swedish politicians sue Ryanair
Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson (front) with the former foreign minister, Leila Freivalds
The two say the advert is offensive
The Swedish prime minister and former foreign minister are suing budget airline Ryanair over an advertisement that appears to mock them.

The advert for low-cost flights shows an unflattering picture of the two with the slogan "Time to flee the country?"

Goran Persson and Leila Freivalds are seeking 75,000 kronor (5,600) in damages from the Ireland-based airline.

A spokeswoman for Ryanair in Sweden said the lawsuit was a waste of taxpayers' money.

"Our marketing often alludes to current events, and these are very public figures," Lotta Lindquist-Brosjo said.

The publication of the advert in a Swedish newspaper coincided with heavy media scrutiny of both leaders.

The government faced criticism of its response to international crises such as the Asian tsunami and the row over cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad. Ms Freivalds resigned in March.

The lawsuit said the advertisement was offensive to the two leaders and a government spokesman said the images of Mr Persson and Ms Freivalds were used without their permission.

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