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565 Swedes missing in tsunami

Court orders list made public after police resistance

STOCKHOLM -- The list made harrowing reading: A 9-month-old boy, entire families, and nearly 100 children younger than 13 were among 565 Swedes still missing in the Asian tsunami.

The National Police had compiled the names of the missing, including 43 confirmed dead, but kept the list secret, citing privacy concerns for victims' families, until yesterday after a court ordered its release.

Among those confirmed killed were four children under age 13, who with their families had fled the harsh Swedish winter for the warmth of Thai beaches over the Christmas holidays.

If the list does not change dramatically, the tsunami will be the worst disaster Sweden has experienced since the ferry Estonia sank in an autumn storm in the Baltic Sea in 1994, killing 852 people, including 551 Swedes.

The list included names, ages, hometowns, and national identity numbers of the missing and those confirmed dead from the tsunami. Six names were blacked out, as those individuals had protected identities, police said, without elaborating.

Sweden's four largest newspapers published the names on their websites, saying it would help clear up some of the confusion still lingering over the extent of the tragedy. The Swedish news agency TT, which requested the court order to make the names public, also sent the list to all its subscribers.

''It is important to create clarity regarding the list, which is surrounded by so many question marks," Anders Gerdin, editor in chief of the tabloid Aftonbladet, said on the paper's website.

The list included five members of the Weinz family, all from the northern town of Luleaa. Also missing were Anna Kristina and Bo Lennart Kihlblom, and their three children -- Carin, 4; Carl, 14; and Caroline, 14 -- from a Stockholm suburb. Ninety-one of those listed were younger than 13.

Unlike their counterparts in neighboring countries, Swedish police had refused to release the names, saying they wanted to protect victims' relatives and loved ones from unwanted media attention.

But Sweden's Supreme Administrative Court ruled Tuesday in favor of TT, saying ''information that a person was at a popular Swedish vacation resort during the Christmas holiday and was then affected by a natural disaster is not [invasive]."

The leading newspapers that published the list took out several names at the request of relatives, listing only their gender, age, and hometown.

The police said it wished the list had remained private. ''I can only say that I possibly think that the court showed too little consideration for this," National Police chief Stefan Stroemberg said.

Police spokeswoman Linda Widmark said dozens of relatives called after the court ruling asking to take the name of a loved one off the list.

Some relatives of the missing said the list should have been published sooner.

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