Knife attack suspect could face Greek trial

A Swede accused in 2001 of a knife attack on the Greek island of Kos could soon be extradited to Greece, thanks to the newly introduced European arrest warrant. But Calle Jonsson’s lawyers claim that the evidence against him is weak and the investigation by the Greek authorities has been incompetent.

Jonsson was about to start his final year at high school when police in Greece arrested him for the attempted killing. He was kept in jail without trial for over half a year before he was allowed to come home to Sweden on bail. On his return, Jonsson sad that he didn’t intend to go back to Greece to face justice.

Since then, Jonsson has found work at a restaurant and golf club outside Stockholm, and has moved into a rented flat. But the case has hung over him.

“Doing my last year at school doesn’t seem worthwhile if I can suddenly be forced to break off from my studies,” he told DN.

Unfortunately for Jonsson, political developments caught up with him, and the European arrest warrant means that it is now much easier for Greek police to get him extradited.

“It works on the principle that one should always respect another European country’s legal system,” his lawyer, Leif Silbersky, told Expressen.

But Jonsson’s supporters say that the Greek investigation has been incompetent, and that the evidence against him is weak. Silbersky told the paper that when the alleged victim was confronted with Jonsson, he said that he couldn’t be the person who attacked him. Silbersky told DN that he believes that the victim changed his story under pressure from the police.

Eyewitnesses also failed to identify Jonsson as the attacker. His legal team has criticized the way Greek police investigated the scene of the alleged crime, saying that they didn’t conduct body searches and that the DNA test they did was contaminated.

An attempt in June by the Greek authorities to force Jonsson to go to Greece to stand trial was thwarted after it emerged that the Greek parliament had not ratified the introduction of the European arrest warrant. Jonsson, who had been arrested by Swedish police after they received the Greek request, was set free after just seventeen hours.

This summer, however, Greece passed the laws to introduce the warrant. At the end of last week, Greek prosecutors requested that Sweden hand over Jonsson. If the order has been made correctly, Swedish authorities are obliged to hand him over. On Monday, reported DN, Jonsson was told by Södermalm police that he was banned from leaving Stockholm County, and had to report to a police station twice a week.

Still, Jonsson still hopes that he can avoid extradition. His lawyers argue that the old extradition procedures should apply, saying that the process against him started when he was arrested in June, before the new warrant system was ratified. If the court accepts this argument, then the justice minister, Thomas Bodström, can veto the Greek request.

A decision is expected from a Stockholm court on Friday.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet