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CRIME

Men get eight years for ‘sadistic’ kidnapping

Two men from western Sweden have been sentenced to eight years each in jail after they forced a man at needlepoint to sign over ownership of a car, a motorbike and a ride-on lawnmower.

The two men, 37 and 40, were found guilty by Varberg District Court of kidnapping, aggravated robbery and interference in a judicial matter, Hallands Nyheter reports.

According to the court, the crimes included “elements of humiliation and, to a certain extent, sadism.”

The victim, 45, was ambushed on his farm outside Varberg early one December morning last year.

He was beaten with a baseball bat and thrown into the cellar of his house. There he was nailed to a work bench and threatened with a pistol and a gas flame.

He was later forced at needlepoint to sign his name to a document handing over ownership of his car, motorbike and lawnmower to his assailants.

Once he had completed this task, his arm was injected with an overdose of heroin.

In its judgment, the court rejected the claims of one of the convicted men that they had come into possession of the goods by legal means.

That the victim “might have cooked up his story because he regretted a voluntary sale […] is in no way probable,” said the court.

CRIME

Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 

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More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

 
The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.” 
 
 
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