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Gothenburg police: terror arrest a 'mistake'

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Gothenburg police: terror arrest a 'mistake'
12:56 CET+01:00
Gothenburg police have accepted responsibility for wrongly suspecting and arresting a man in connection with a terrorist bomb scare in the city over the weekend.

A 39-year-old man has described how he was violently apprehended by heavily armed police in front of his wife and four children. Police have said that they have not yet begun an investigation into what exactly went wrong.

They also emphasised that they, and not public prosecutors, made a mistake, said Erik Nord, head of the county police system.

"The mistake that we have seen, it falls on us. It is not with the Security Police [Säkerhetspolisen, Säpo] or the prosecution," Nord told the TT news agency.

"When I talked with representatives of the police authorities that had received information from the prosecutor, it was crystal clear that the prosecution was in the clear," he added.

The account of what happened when the police undertook its collective action early on Saturday morning has been characterised by confusion. Both Säpo and the responsible chief prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand have stated that five people were arrested and taken in for questioning.

However, Gothenburg police initially reported that they had taken four people into custody, but now confirm that it was five.

The explanation for the contradictory information circulating in recent days was that only the prosecutor had a complete picture of how many people would be be arrested and taken in for questioning, according to Nord.

He also admitted that it was wrong to serve a writ on the 39-year-old suspect. However, Nord was unwilling to say present whether it was also wrong of the man to be forcibly apprehended in front of his wife and children.

The incident will now be examined in a preliminary investigation of misconduct launched on Wednesday by prosecutor Björn Ericson at the Swedish National Police Crimes Unit (Riksenheten för polismål).

Nord believes that the investigation may take a couple of months. The man who was violently taken into custody will have to wait until the investigation is complete to learn the possible excuses behind his arrest.

"An apology shot straight into the air like a firework falls flat as soon as it goes off. An apology must be backed up with us explaining how this has happened and it will take some time before we can do it," said Nord.

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