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CRIME

Man sentenced for carrying offensive placard

A man who displayed a placard accusing immigrants of group rape at an anti-racism rally has been convicted of agitation against an ethnic group.

During a March 2007 rally organized in the south west coast town of Ängelholm by SSU, the youth wing of the Social Democratic Party, the man was seen holding a sign reading, “While Swedish girls are being group raped by immigrant gangs the SSU is fighting racism.”

The man was arrested and eventually indicted on charges of agitation against an ethnic group, according to the Helsingborgs Dagblad newspaper.

During his trial, the man claimed he simply wanted to point out the absurdity of holding a demonstration against racism and hoped the sign would spark debate. He asserted he was simply expressing an opinion, which is a right afforded to him under the European Convention on Human Rights.

But District Prosecutor Lars Danielsson disagreed, arguing that the man “expressed disrespect for a group of people with reference to their national or ethnic background.”

The court agreed with Danielsson, fining the man 4000 kronor ($650).

In its decision, the court found the placard made gross generalizations that immigrants are inclined to rape Swedish girls, which falls under the legal definition of disrespect.

The court furthermore rejected the man’s free speech argument by pointing out that he could have expressed his opinions in a manner other than wandering around the Ängelholm central square on a Saturday morning carrying an offensive sign, and that even the human rights convention has its limits.

CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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