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TERRORISM

Swedish terrorist gets life sentence

Swedish citizen Ousama Kassir was sentenced to life imprisonment on Tuesday by a New York court after being after being found guilty earlier this year of planning to set up an Al-Qaeda training camp in the United States.

Swedish terrorist gets life sentence
Kassir escortedto a courtroom in Prague on April 25, 2007.

Kassir, a Swede of Lebanese origin, was convicted in May. He was extradited to the United States in September 2007 from Prague, where he was jailed after his arrest in 2005 during a stopover while flying from Sweden to Lebanon.

Prosecutors said in the jury trial at a federal court in Manhattan that Kassir, 43, tried to set up a “jihad” (holy war) camp in Oregon, in the northwest United States.

Kassir declared his innocence when he was charged last year, and his lawyer said his client had “a big mouth,” but was not a criminal.

Prosecutors said he reached the United States in 1999 and spent a year at an Oregon ranch, imparting religious teachings at a Seattle mosque before returning to Europe, according to the prosecution.

BREAKING

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

Prosecutors in Sweden are now treating the murder at the Almedalen political festival as a terror crime, with the country's Säpo security police taking over the investigation.

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

In a press release issued on Monday evening, the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said that the 32-year-old attacker, Theodor Engström, was now suspected of the crime of “terrorism through murder”, and also “preparation for a terror crime through preparation for murder”. 

Engström stabbed the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren last Wednesday as she was on her way to moderate a seminar at the Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland. 

Although he was a former member of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, police said his motive seemed to be to protest against Sweden’s psychiatry services, who he felt had treated his own mental illness badly. 

The release gave no details as to why the 32-year-old was now being investigated for a more serious crime, but terror expert Magnus Ranstorp told the Expressen newspaper that the shift indicated that police had uncovered new evidence. 

READ ALSO: What do we now know about the Almedalen knife attack? 

“The new crime classification means that they’ve either found a political motive for the attack which meets the threshold for terrorism, and that might be a political motive for murdering Ing-Marie Wieselgren,” he said. “Or they might have discovered that he was scouting out a politician, or another target that could be considered political.” 

Engström’s defence lawyer said last week that his client, who he described as disturbed and incoherent, had spoken in police interrogations of having “a higher-up target”. 

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