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GOTHENBURG POLICE PROBE

TERRORISM

Men locked in mosque during terror raid

The Gothenburg police are facing more criticism following revelations that they locked eight men in a mosque when responding to a terror threat on October 30th.

Men locked in mosque during terror raid

The eight men were reportedly locked in a mosque located at the Römosse school in Gothenburg’s Gårdsten neighbourhood where they were forced to wait for three hours without being given any information, the Göteborgs-Posten (GP) newspaper reports.

One of the men forced to stay in the mosque was elderly and begged police to be allowed to leave because he lacked certain medication, but his request was refused.

Police raided the mosque because one of the four men they planned to arrest had attended the mosque for morning prayers.

Those who were locked in the mosque by the police had no other connection to the terror accusations other than that they happened to be in the mosque when police arrived.

Detective Bertil Claesson, who heads the northeast Gothenburg police unit, regretted the incident.

Ahmed Al-Mofty, chair of the Islamic Information Society (Islamiska informationsföreningen), met recently with Ingemar Johansson, head of the county police in Gothenburg.

During the meeting, Al-Mofty complained about the police’s actions at the mosque.

“The police surely wouldn’t have behaved that way if they were entering a church or a synagogue. What happened is totally insane,” he said.

However, the men who were locked in the mosque have no plans to pursue the matter further.

“No, not for the moment. We’ve received a sincere and acceptable apology from Ingemar Johansson. But the police need to learn more about Muslims and mosques, that’s obvious,” said Al-Mofty.

Speaking about a week after the incident, head prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand explained that there was a bomb threat in Gothenburg at the time of the mosque raid and police were justified in acting quickly. Unfortunately, added Lindstrand, people were arrested who had nothing to do with the threat.

Police conducted their raids against a number of people in connection with the bomb threat in central Gothenburg based on information from witnesses, Lindstrand wrote in a statement on the website of Swedish Prosecution Authority (Åklagarmyndigheten).

According to the witness information, that up to 100 people could die in an attack on a certain part of central Gothenburg on Saturday, October 30th.

Based on the threat, Lindstrand, together with Swedish security service Säpo and the Västra Götaland County police, decided to conduct a quick series of raids which included making arrests and searching properties.

“That the actions affected people whom were quickly revealed to be free of suspicion by the investigation is clearly regrettable,” wrote Lindstrand.

He still believes, however, that the information on which the decision to conduct the raids was based was credible.

The information was also connected with “certain surveillance observations”.

According to Lindstrand, there is still a conceivable threat in connection with suspected terror crime preparations.

Lindstrand is the head of the Public Prosecution Office for Security Cases (Åklagarkammaren för säkerhetsmål). His actions and those of the police are now being reviewed by prosecutor Björn Ericson with the Swedish National Police Crimes Unit (Riksenheten för polismål).

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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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