Swedish knife suspect to be tried in Greece

After three years of legal wrangling, the 21-year old Swede accused of knifing a man while on vacation in Greece will have to return to the island of Kos - but this time he'll face trial.

Calle Jonsson is accused of attacking a Greek man while holidaying on Kos in the summer of 2001. He has consistently proclaimed his innocence. The family revealed to Aftonbladet that the victim wanted a payoff of 160,000 SEK but when they refused to pay, the man pursued the accusation through legal channels.

The local district court decided Jonsson’s case in compliance with a new Swedish law that states EU member states must trust each other’s justice systems and extradite suspects to face trial in the country where they are accused.

This case is the first time Sweden has complied with the law, which took effect on January 1st 2004.

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

But this week he appeared not quite to have grasped that principle.

“There’s a great risk that Calle won’t get a fair trial in Greece,” said Silbersky, who told Aftonbladet that he plans to appeal against the extradition.

The parents of the 21-year old are also concerned. His father Gösta Jonsson said the “drawn-out suffering” is unreasonable and believes that the Minister of Justice, Thomas Bodström, should be involved in the case.

Jonsson’s mother, Katarina, told Dagens Nyheter: “Calle doesn’t trust the Greek justice system at all…maybe it will go quickly because of the media attention but they could hold him for a year and a half before he even goes to trial.”

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.

Jonsson could face a 20-year prison sentence, but the Swedish court has demanded in the extradition agreement that if found guilty, he be allowed to serve his time in Sweden.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Expressen, Aftonbladet