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Swedish editor charged with weapons crimes

Swedish editor charged with weapons crimes

Published: 27 Dec 2011 15:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Dec 2011 15:20 GMT+01:00

Thomas Mattsson, editor-in-chief of one of Sweden's largest newspapers, has been charged for instigating a weapons offense.

Mattsson heads the Expressen daily newspaper, and in the fall of 2010 he gave one of the newspaper's reporters permission to buy a pistol in Malmö in southern Sweden.

Authorization was granted in connection with the reporter's efforts to show how easy it was to obtain a firearm in Sweden.

"If journalists can't work under cover, investigative journalism is robbed of one of its most important opportunities for unveiling wrongdoings," said Mattsson to newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

The reporter has also been charged, as has the head of news on duty that day.

Purchasing the pistol was intended to show readers how simple it is to get hold of illegal weapons in Malmö, as part of the newspaper's reporting on the hunt for the serial shooter then on the loose in Sweden's third largest city.

It took Expressen five hours to get hold of their weapon, a 7.65 millimetre Crvena Zastava pistol.

Editor-in-chief Mattsson was the one who decided that the weapon be bought, and then immediately turned over to the police.

According to a statement made by the police, "Malmö is flooded with weapons".

"The idea of Expressen not conducting active journalism at that point is completely foreign to me. If politicians and police are claiming things, and calling for changes to the laws, it's our journalistic duty to investigate if what they say is true," said Mattsson to DN.

Prosecutor Jörgen Larsson wrote in his report that he found the charges justified from the public's perspective.

"This is a situation that Expressen has created on its own. The defense is built on the line that it was journalistically defensible to buy this weapon, and that's why I think there's a public interest in clarifying whether this is criminal or not," said Larsson to newspaper Dagens Media.

Thomas Mattsson, the reporter and the head of news have all denied the crimes.

"There was absolutely no intent," said Mattsson to news agency TT.

TT/Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:44 December 27, 2011 by Borilla
Appears to be a case of shooting the messenger, with a legal weapon of course. The Moderates strike again. If you can't simply ignore the extent of the problem, prosecute the people informing the public about your failings.
17:56 December 27, 2011 by tgolan
Apparently it is easier for the cops to go after reporters than crooks who actually kill people. the situation in Malmö is a disgrace and the government should clean out the police and politicians in the city. It is worse than Chicago in the 1920s, What will it take to get some action a mass murder???
17:58 December 27, 2011 by Kevin Harris
The prosecutor needs to think again. Is it really in the public interest that journalists be prosecuted for exposing gun crime in Malmö? Wouldnt Mr Larssons time be better spent prosecuting those responsible for ..., well, for gun crime in Malmö instead. There seems to be plenty of that at the moment.

Which is hardly suprising, if this is what the prosecutors do all day.
20:19 December 27, 2011 by J Jack
The charges are purely symbolic.
20:22 December 27, 2011 by bjorkon
What a waste of my tax money
00:48 December 28, 2011 by jimmyjames
Well, let us look at the facts. Both Sweden and the UK have extremely strict firearms laws yet both are experiancing yearly increases in violent gun crime. In both countries the person's responsible for the barbaric violence, in 90% of the incidents, are people of colour ( Arabs, Africans, Afro-Carribean, ect.). The people in Western European countries are going to have to decide if "multi-culturism" is worth the complete destruction of their cutures and societies because you can not have it both ways. You continue to allow a minority group of politicians with a select agenda go against the will of the majority of the population in order to implement a hybred, multi-cultural, bastard nation then prepare yourselves for a steady increase in violence, crime, and deterioration of everything that makes a nation unique and individual and civilized.
04:07 December 28, 2011 by Roy E
So the real 'crime' here is embarrassing the authorities by demonstrating the ineffectiveness of their laws.

How petty.
16:41 December 28, 2011 by notpresto
Cops lose gun in Ikea bathroom, newspaper takes one off the streets. One slides by with a smack on the wrist the other faces the full front of the law. Awesome system.
11:13 December 30, 2011 by Bones
Jimmy James, quit trolling. In a high % of the cases here in Sweden the incidents have actually committed by people of Eastern-European descent with organised crime syndicates, many of whom are Swedish as well. Maybe in the UK it's different, but 90% is a completely false and uneducated figure for here in Sweden.
17:24 December 30, 2011 by tadchem
I suspect his REAL crime was in exposing the incompetence of the police when it comes to enforcing gun laws.
23:09 December 30, 2011 by babydriver
You mean your government won't let you carry the means for self defense?

I carry a pistol every time I leave the house. Not much crime around here because the criminals never know who is armed.

Wow. I can go down to the store and buy a pistol in about an hours time.
23:24 January 5, 2012 by Mai Bad
Lock them up!! Justice is giving everyone the same punishment for the same violation!
07:50 January 9, 2012 by Regor
I certainly agree with @babydriver above -- but he obviously doesn't live in Sweden!

The more I read about the conditions and politics in my old home country the crazier it sounds over there!

Check the gun ownership vs. gun crime statistics in Sweden, the UK, Australia and the USA and you will find that when guns are outlawed only outlaws have guns.

And only in the US with its "castle doctrine" and/or "Concealed Carry" laws in many of the states is it legal to use lethal force to protect your home and family without being automatically thrown in jail!

I have a Concealed Carry permit, but don't use it often. I have a pistol within reach of my bed and a shotgun with a led light in a closet next to my bed so any intruder that got into my house will be moved out on a stretcher! Yes, as babysitter will probably agree -- it is an awesome responsibility, but rather them than me or my family!
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