Ex-ambassador on trial for risking Sweden security
For the first time in modern Swedish history, an ex-ambassador has gone on trial and faces a possible jail term.
Anna Lindstedt is accused of going beyond her remit by holding unauthorised talks with a foreign power to gain the release of a Chinese-born Swedish citizen.
Gui Minhai, a Hong Kong bookseller, was later jailed by China for “illegally providing intelligence overseas”.
The prosecutor said Ms Lindstedt had put relations with China at risk.
She had acted in violation of Swedish foreign policy by arranging the negotiations, he told the court on Friday.
The former ambassador’s defence lawyer told the court in Stockholm she denied the charges.
What is the ex-ambassador accused of doing?
In February 2019 Anna Lindstedt was recalled from China as ambassador after she was accused of brokering an unauthorised meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in Stockholm between Gui Minhai’s daughter, Angela Gui, and two Chinese businessmen said to have connections to the Chinese Communist Party.
Before the meeting Ms Gui had been campaigning for her father’s release, and then said she had been invited to the meeting by Ms Lindstedt, who told her “there were some businessmen she thought could help, and that they wanted to meet me in Stockholm”.
She alleged that during a meeting over two days one of the businessmen had pressed her to accept a deal involving a “few years” in jail if she stopped publicising her father’s detention.
Ms Gui also alleged that the ambassador had backed the plan, warning her that if her publicity continued, China might “punish Sweden.