Sweden ends refugees' nightmare

More than 100 would-be refugees from the Middle East and Asia have been granted asylum in Sweden and neighbouring Nordic states after a nightmare journey to the West.

The refugees, most of whom are Iraqi Kurds claiming political persecution, set out almost two years ago, travelling to the Baltics via Moscow, having paid thousands of US dollars to smuggling gangs. They were captured in Latvia last year and spent more than two weeks being shunted back and forth by train to Russia and Lithuania. None of the three countries wanted to accept them.

After protests from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, they were moved to a Latvian prison. Sweden has agreed to take 52 of the 108 refugees, with Denmark, Finland and Norway accepting 25, 20 and 11 apiece. Adrian Bridge