Man arrested for 'spying on Tibetan refugees' for unnamed foreign power

'In general ... countries which carry out refugee espionage in Sweden are states which do not like both human rights and freedom of speech,' says security chief

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The Independent Online

Swedish security services have arrested a man on suspicion of spying on Tibetan refugees in the country.

Police believe the man illegally obtained intelligence relating to Tibet on behalf of an unnamed foreign power while in Sweden.

"The security police have been able to see over time how the man acted in and collected information about the Tibetan group in Sweden," the country's security police, Säkerhetspolisen, said in a statement.

"This information is suspected to have then been passed on to intelligence operatives working for a foreign power."

The security agency said the man had been detained and a decision on whether he will remain in custody would be made in the following days.

The force would not disclose the nationality of the man and would not confirm whether China was the country allegedly involved.

Beijing claimed Tibet as part of its sovereign territory in 1951 and political tensions in the region continue to run high.

"The man has lived in Sweden for several years, and had a mission, as we see it, from a foreign power,"  Nina Odermalm Schei, head of the national security agency, told news agency TT.

"In general you can say that the countries which carry out refugee espionage in Sweden are states which do not like both human rights and freedom of speech," she added.

The agency said: "Refugee espionage is a method to try to prevent refugees from expressing criticism of the regime in the country they have fled.

"It is also a way for the regime to try to get control over who has fled from home, why they did it and where they now are."

Update. An earlier version of this article included an image which showed a Tibetan man arriving at a function in Lalitpur to celebrate the Tibetan New Year. We are glad to clarify that the image, and the man depicted therein, had no connection to the incident reported by the article. 28/2/17