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Tuesday, 30 November, 1999, 21:15 GMT
Swedish press warns of Nazi threat
National Socialist Front flag The Swedish flag's colours are used by some extreme-right groups

Sweden's four main daily newspapers have published a joint editorial on their front pages, warning of the rising danger to democracy from neo-Nazis.

In a co-ordinated decision that took months of planning, the four papers published the photographs, names and ages of 62 "key" extreme-right activists, in what they called a "map of hate and violence".

"We chose to publish the identities of these people because we determined that they are criminals wilfully using violence to undermine democracy", said Staffan Thorsell, editor-in-chief of the popular daily Expressen.

Far-right groups are breaking the foundations of democracy
Swedish newspaper editorial
The other three newspapers are Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Nyheter and Aftonbladet.

Those named are men aged 19 to 34 and one 21-year old woman, and are active members of some of Sweden's 13 neo-Nazi groups and the Hell's Angels and Wolfpack Brotherhood motorbike gangs.

Swedish law allows the details of criminal suspects to be published as long as there are no cases pending against them.

Intimidation and threats

The papers say there is evidence of growing intimidation of officials from these far-right groups, with more than half the country's police officers and prosecutors having received threats.

Witnesses in court cases against neo-Nazi activists have also been threatened.

The papers say the attacks are creating an environment of fear that is poisoning democracy.

"The groups threaten judicial authority, they threaten government, and they threaten the free press by going after journalists" the papers said.

Public anger

The newspapers' campaign follows recent demonstrations by thousands of people in Stockholm calling for an end to right-wing extremism.

We won't be scared into silence
Swedish newspaper editorial
Public anger peaked after the murder on 12 October of Bjorn Soderberg, a left-wing trade union official, who had complained about a neo-Nazi colleague.

The killing follows several other incidents this year by neo-Nazis including the murders of two policemen, who were targeted for their views.

Three young neo-Nazis are being held in custody in connection with Mr Soderberg's murder, and three others are currently on trial for the deaths of the policemen.

So far, Swedish authorities have backed away from calls to outlaw the extremist groups but have demanded stronger action by police.

Prime Minister Goran Persson welcomed the newspapers' initiative.

"This joint article is further proof that Sweden stands united: We will never ever let Nazism or other threats against democracy get a foothold in our country," he said.

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See also:
23 Oct 99 |  Europe
Swedes rally against racists
07 Sep 99 |  Entertainment
Bergman admits Nazi past
03 Dec 97 |  World
Russia closes book on Wallenberg, saviour of Jews
17 Dec 97 |  World
Nazi gold went to Sweden, says report

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