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TERRORISM

Malmö man freed from terror financing charges

A Malmö court has acquitted the head of the al-Aqsa Foundation in Sweden on charges that he used funds from the charity to support Hamas.

Malmö man freed from terror financing charges

“This is good. Now the work of sending money to children can continue,” said defence attorney Laue Traberg Smidt to the TT news agency.

Khalid al-Yousef had been charged with violated terror financing laws, with an alternative charge of violated sanctions laws.

As head of al-Aqsa Spannmål, the Swedish branch of the al-Aqsa Foundation, al-Yousef oversaw the collection of donations for Palestinian children suffering in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

According to the indictment, however, money ended up at organizations with ties to Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union (EU).

Deputy chief prosecutor Agnetha Hilding Qvarnström wanted al-Yousef to be sent to prison, claiming that Hamas was strengthened as a result of the charity’s activities.

During the trial she attempted to prove that the organizations which receive funding from al-Aqsa Spannmål were tied to Hamas.

Al-Yousef had collected more than 4 million kronor ($460,000) through the foundation, with about half of the proceeds supporting activities in the West Bank and Gaza, while other parts of his fund were frozen by authorities in the United States and Britain.

Traberg Smidt is especially please with the court’s reasons for the acquittal.

In its ruling, the Malmö District Court stated that Hamas and Israel have a relationship to one another akin to a state of war.

That Israel has declared illegal a number of organizations to which al-Yousef’s foundation sent money holds no importance, according to the court.

The court also considered the many newspaper articles, television reports, book excerpts and websites presented by the prosecutor as having “very low” value as evidence.

TERRORISM

Swede among ‘terror’ suspects arrested in the Netherlands

Dutch police have arrested four men including a Swedish citizen suspected of being involved in terror-related activities, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Swede among 'terror' suspects arrested in the Netherlands
Stock image/Depositphotos

“Rotterdam police detained four men early on Sunday evening on suspicion of being involved in terrorism,” the public prosecution's office said in a statement.

One of the men, aged 29, arrived on a flight from Stockholm earlier on Sunday while the other three aged 21, 23 and 30 come from the cities of Vlaardingen, Delft and Gouda in southwest Netherlands.

Dutch police raided three homes in the three cities and seized data but found no weapons or explosives, the statement said.

Although “there is no concrete information to indicate a terror attack, police and the public prosecution's office are not taking any chances,” prosecutors said without giving further information.

The suspects remain in custody pending a court appearance.

A Dutch citizen was sentenced to four years in November for preparing a terror attack following his arrest in Rotterdam last year, when police discovered an assault rifle and a large amount of fireworks.

In another scare, Dutch military police shot and wounded a man armed with a knife at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport earlier this month, but authorities said the incident was not terror-related.

The Netherlands has so far been spared from the slew of terror attacks to have rocked its closest European neighbours in recent years.