We've reported on the political party SD's controversial posters in Östermalms subway station before, and the riot that followed, as well as an interview with the man behind the campaign.
Mårten Schultz, Professor of Civil Law, stated in Svenska Dagbladet newspaper that the campaign is "not criminal", and the Swedish Chancellor of Justice agrees that the campaign was not "hate speech". But a statement released by Michaël Guet, the Council of Europe's expert on issues concerning Roma, to Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, declared that they found the campaign to be "hate speech".
The poster campaign took place in conjunction with the International Remembrance Day of Roma Holocaust Victims, August 2, which Michaël Guet noted was "paradoxical".
Michaël Guet further says in the statement from the Council of Europe that it is "unfortunate that this type of anti-Roma rally lost in Sweden, which a year ago published a White Paper on abuse against Roma in Sweden during the 1900s"
As Mårten Schultz notes on his blog, "What the Council of Europe representative doing here is a criminal assessment of hate speech-crime. What is more: the categorical statement that the campaign is hate speech also means that the Council indirectly says that there is someone who committed this crime."
Mr Schultz has reached out to the Council of Europe for clarification but has not received a response yet. Meanwhile, I'll note that this statement isn't anywhere to be found on the official Council of Europe web page, and that the statement that was originally in SvD's reporting has now been reworded and the article has been edited. The article seems to have been changed from "Han anser att affischerna ger en negativ och stereotypisk bild av romer och att kampanjen är hets mot folkgrupp", to "Som han ser det är kampanjen hets mot folkgrupp". That's "He believes that the posters gives a negative and stereotypical image of Roma and the campaign is hate speech", to "As he sees it, the campaign is hate speech".
We too have reached out to the council of Europe for a clarification but have not received a response at the time of press. As Schultz ponders, so do we: What did the Council base their erroneous interpretation of Swedish law on? It is appropriate that the Council of Europe declares that crimes have been committed in this manner? Did they not realize that they were indirectly pointing out people, who might not even have been heard yet, as criminals?
Below, some found footage of the minor riot and vandalism at Östermalms subway station. "Skadegörelse, (vandalism) is a crime in Sweden.