• Sweden edition
 
Swedish tabloid editor guilty of weapons crimes

Swedish tabloid editor guilty of weapons crimes

Published: 18 May 2012 11:29 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 May 2012 11:29 GMT+02:00

The editor-in-chief of Swedish tabloid Expressen and two other journalists with the paper have been convicted of weapons crimes related to a report about how easy it is to buy guns in Malmö in southern Sweden.

Expressen's editor Thomas Mattson was convicted of instigating a weapons crime, while former news editor Andreas Johansson was found guilty of being an accessory to a weapons crime.

Journalist Diamant Salihu, who actually purchased the gun, was convicted of a weapons crime.

All three were handed suspended sentences and fined by District Court in Malmö, which issued its ruling Friday morning.

The fines were 30,000 kronor ($4,200) for Mattsson; 13,500 kronor for Johansson and 14,400 kronor for Salihu.

The case stems from a 2010 story about illegal weapons purchases in Malmö.

As part of the report, Mattsson and Johansson gave Salihu permission to buy a weapon to show readers ease with which someone could obtain of illegal weapon in Malmö.

The purchase which took place on October 24th, 2010, was for a report commissioned as part of the newspaper's ongoing coverage of 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 semi-automatic pistol.

The firearm was turned into police immediately following the purchase, something which the court cited in its decision to hand the three journalists lighter sentences.

"Journalists examining the illegal weapons trade, and who turned a smuggled gun over to police, have been convicted by the Malmö District Court – at the same time there are eight unsolved killings in Malmö," Mattsson told the TT news agency.

"There are likely more than just I who think this seems a bit strange."

Mattsson added that he isn't against employing similar methods at Expressen in the future.

"As editor-in-chief, one shouldn't promise one thing or another ahead of future publication, but clearly Expressen will continue to use unconventional methods in order to examine criminality that police and prosecutors have failed to stop."

Jonas Nordling, chair of the Swedish Journalists Union (Svenska Journalistförbundet), also criticized the ruling.

"This is an indictment which never should have been filed. It's disappointing, to say the least," he told TT, questioning the extent to which the court took into consideration that the purchase was made as part of a journalistic project.

According to the ruling, the court reasoned that possession of the weapon amount to taking a conscious risk with the aim of creating news.

But Nordling countered that committing a crime is justified in journalists' efforts to draw attention to important issues.

He cautioned, however, that doesn't mean journalists should be given special treatment when breaking the law.

"We can't commit criminal acts as individuals, but if we want to show society's shortcomings, which is a part of our journalistic mission, then we can. It's not about a special treatment but taking our duty seriously," he said.

In considering the case, the court weighed freedom of speech and expression against Sweden's weapons laws in an attempt to determine if possessing an illegal weapon is justified in the course of writing a report for a newspaper.

As weapons crimes normally carry prison sentences, there was little room for such justification.

The fact that other journalists had handled weapons in other circumstances and avoided charges wasn't reason enough for an acquittal, the court ruled.

Judge Eva Wendel Rosberg, who served as the lead judge in the case explained that the court tried to take a wide interpretation of free speech protections, which are guaranteed in the Swedish constitution and the European Convention for Human Rights.

"Even on this basis, journalists aren't free to commit crimes for the aim of writing an article," she said in a statement.

The gunman who sparked the Expressen probe was arrested in November 2010,

and his trial opened on Monday.

Peter Mangs, 40, is accused of three murders and 12 attempted murders motivated by racism. He has denied the charges.

TT/AFP/The Local

Follow The Local on Twitter

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

15:42 May 18, 2012 by Swedishmyth
"...free speech protections, which are guaranteed in the Swedish constitution and the European Convention for Human Rights."

When convenient. They're no First Amendment.
15:58 May 18, 2012 by rasmusse
Obviously no Second Amendment either.
16:07 May 18, 2012 by matser
That's the best news ever to come out of "Expressen". The Judge should have thrown all three of them in jail. Typical naive Swedish reporters.
16:29 May 18, 2012 by Britt-Marie7
I assume we should not let anyone know about how easy it is to get weapons in Malmö, easier to crack down on that, than to stop the illegal guns from entering the country and being sold. That is apparently OK. No wonder Malmö is so well known for it's crime all over the world.

Good for Expressen to uncover the ease of getting weapons! Swedish people always like to sweep the unpleasantries under the rug. What we don't know, we don't have to deal with.
16:36 May 18, 2012 by RobinHood
The prosecutors clearly couldn't think of anything better to do with their time and the state's valuable resources than prosecute this pointless case. Meanwhile gun crime amongst Malmö's real criminals continues unchecked. For that reason alone the prosecutors should be moved to other tasks (counting the paper clips for example), so that better people can be employed to properly focus on Malmö's terrible crime and murder rates.

Over at Expressen, they should double their efforts to expose the huge levels of incomptence and waste amongst Malmö's politicians, its police, its judiciary, and its prosecutors. Do whatever it takes Expressen, if ever a city needed a detailed journalistic examination of its leadership, it is Malmö.
21:51 May 18, 2012 by Carbarrister
"Swedish tabloid editor guilty of weapons crimes"

Maybe technically correct but snarky and misleading as journalism.

How about "Editor shows holes in Gun Law." or Gun Restrictions only benefit criminals"

The only reason the editors received the fines is that they embarassed the police and government..
23:36 May 18, 2012 by Stuart Parsons
What a farce, convicted and fined for rendering a public service. Sweden is apparently as politically correct as the rest of Europe.
00:16 May 19, 2012 by saab
The State spent time and resources on this rather than on controlling gun traffic in Southern Sweden. So they "kill" the messenger and ignore the message. No wonder Sweden is rotting from within
09:34 May 19, 2012 by HYBRED
"We can't commit criminal acts as individuals, but if we want to show society's shortcomings, which is a part of our journalistic mission, then we can. It's not about a special treatment but taking our duty seriously," he said,(Nordling)

Your duty is to report stories in a unbiased mannor and let people make up their own mind on the subject, not tell them what to think,(Rush Limbaugh syndrom).

And wrong Nordling, it IS about special treatment, you should have involved law enforcement from the start. And "journalist's" like Nordling are part of "society's shortcomings".
Today's headlines
Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden
Michael Boatwright (R) and Medieval knight re-enactors.

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden

The "motel mystery" American who baffled US authorities by only speaking Swedish when he woke up from a coma last year has passed away, Swedish media reported on Wednesday. READ () »

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king

UPDATED: Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. READ () »

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop
TeliaSonera CEO Johan Dennelind. File photo: TT

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop

Stockholm-listed telecom operator TeliaSonera on Wednesday said profits had fallen in the first quarter, but hoped offering customers more data solutions in the future would turn things around. READ () »

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'
Fredrik Reinfeldt. File photo: TT

'Imperfect EU better than revolting nationalism'

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday urged young voters to head to the European parliamentary polls on May 25th "to cure the European disease of nationalism". READ () »

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg at the first quarter press conference. Photo: TT

Ericsson quarterly profit defies sluggish sales

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson on Wednesday announced a drop in sales but posted a sharp rise in first-quarter profit, which nonetheless fell shy of analyst predictions. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping brawl
Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Four brothers held as cops fear brawl reprisals

Swedish police fear that several people involved in a brawl in eastern Sweden on Monday night may be seeking revenge after two brothers were shot dead. READ () »

Sponsored Article
Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden
The town of Västervik.

Beautiful pearls of southeast Sweden

Ask a Swede, and they are likely to say that their favourite holiday spot is in the southeast of Sweden. Eastern Småland and Öland offer a smörgåsbord of all the things dearest to the Swedes - from the beloved children's book author Astrid Lindgren to deep forests, long sandy beaches, perfect spots for that all-important 'fika', and a surprising amount of space, peace and quiet. READ () »

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth
Swedes enjoy hot dogs and cherry blossoms in Stockholm's Kungsträdgården. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Weekend weather to bring summer warmth

The sun is set to stick around and temperatures could climb into the twenties over the weekend, Swedish meteorologists said on Wednesday READ () »

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

'Day-care rapist' admits molesting eight kids

A 21-year-old man confessed on Wednesday to sex crimes against eight children at a day care where he was working as an intern. READ () »

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles
An unrelated bodybuilder. File photo: Ann Törnkvist

Swedish cops nab man for having big muscles

Police in Sweden's south who hauled a muscular man in for steroid testing have had their knuckles rapped, after it was ruled that big biceps cannot be grounds for narcotics suspicions. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Advertisement:
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

718
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com