October 8, 2012

court positively rebukes embassy for revoling Pirate Bay founder's passport

One of the founders of The Pirate Bay, Fredrik Neij, has had his passport returned to him by a Swedish Court – thereby revoking the Swedish Embassy’s previous decision to revoke his passport. The decision is a beauty to read: it’s the bureaucratic equivalent of “you’re all morons, and you should feel bad (rotten)”.

The background of the story is that one of The Pirate Bay Four, Fredrik Neij aka TiAMO, has moved to the borderline between Laos and Thailand, has settled down and had children there, and he and his wife is currently expecting another. All of a sudden, the Swedish Embassy in the area thought it was a good idea to revoke his passport. Neij appealed, which was a good thing to do. In the decision (in Swedish), the court basically says that the Embassy did every single part of their job wrong, and revoked the Embassy’s decision.
The three-page decision opens in a typical bureaucratic fashion:
The Court revokes the decision of the Embassy.
As we approach the “background” section, we get a sense that something’s not quite right here:
Neij appeals the Embassy decision and presents his case as follows: there are no valid reasons to revoke his passport. It is noteworthy that neither in the Embassy’s written decision, nor on asking specific questions, has it been declared what reasons lay behind the revocation. The case therefore presents certain difficulties for him to counter the normally-given reasons deemed legally sufficient to revoke his passport. [...]

This is very, very sarcastic bureaucratic language, and we get a sense that the Court have been shaking their heads and biting their lips hard while writing it. But wait, it gets even better:
[...skipping a bit...]
An elementary requirement is that authorities state their legal basis when making decisions like these. To issue a motivation that only quotes text from the law is not sufficient. It must be possible to read a decision and understand what has been the determining factor or factors in the individual case.
In its decision, the Embassy has only referred to paragraph 12, section 4 in the Passport Act, but at the same time, quoted the contents of paragraph 12, section 3 in the Passport Act. Therefore, it is possible to understand neither which legal basis nor which factual circumstances underlie the decision. Therefore, the Embassy’s decision doesn’t fulfill the basic requirements of a decision from an authority, according to paragraph 20 of the Exercising Authority Act (Administrative). Considering this, and the additional fact that the Embassy hasn’t presented any circumstances as to why the reasons for the decision have been omitted, the decision of the Embassy shall be revoked.

This, right here, is a level-60 buffed and boosted bureaucratic bitchslap for over 9000 hitpoints.
By: Rick Falkvinge

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