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Swedish activist jailed for 20 years in Bahrain

A Swedish activist has been convicted to 20 years in prison in Bahrain for kidnapping a police officer, according to human rights group Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR).

“He has been fighting for democracy,” said head of BYSHR, Mohammed Al-Maskati, to the Expressen daily.

The man, who has dual-citizenship, was convicted together with eight others to 20 years in prison after allegedly kidnapping a police officer.

He is in his fifties and is a Muslim scholar from central Sweden, according to the Swedish foreign ministry.

The man lived for many years in Sweden but returned to Bahrain in the 2000s after there had been some reforms in the country.

According to Al-Maskati, he has been central in the protests carried out against the regime during the winter and spring.

The Swedish foreign ministry confirmed to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) that the Swedish embassy in Abu Dhabi has requested to see him but has so far not been granted access.

“One problem is that they don’t recognise a dual-citizenship in Bahrain,” Anders Jörle, head of information at the foreign ministry, told DN.

The man has previously been incarcerated for what the regime sees as “oppositional activity” after being arrested in August 2010 when was held isolated without being able to contact his family or lawyer.

He was later released together with some other prisoners in order to appease protesters earlier in the spring.

But when the regime smashed the protest they carried out massive arrests and the man was taken back to jail.

The Swedish man has stood trial in a newly formed military court and according to Al-Maskati they fear he has been undergoing torture.

Human rights organisation Amnesty has criticised the legal procedures in Bahrain where many imprisoned have reported being put through torture.

“We have previously criticised the arrests of this man and other activists.

We have also criticised the terrorist trials. We don’t think that the rule of law has been guaranteed,“ said press secretary Elisabeth Löfgren to Expressen.

The man is also set to faces charge of “terrorist activity” with the intention to overthrow the regime in an upcoming trial.

According to Al-Maskati two of the charges could mean the death penalty and several other life imprisonment.

“I fear that he will be condemned to death,” Al-Maskati told Expressen.

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SHOOTINGS

12,000 weapons were handed in during Swedish amnesty: police

A weapons amnesty has resulted in 12,000 weapons being voluntarily given up, according to Swedish police figures.

12,000 weapons were handed in during Swedish amnesty: police
File photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT

Hunting weapons constituted the largest proportion of the weapons given in to police during the amnesty period between February 1st and April 30th, while over 3,500 handguns were also submitted, according to the police website.

28 tonnes of ammunition were also handed in, police further confirmed.

A lower figure of 9,000 weapons had been reported around the time the amnesty ended in April.

But the 12,000 figure was confirmed via the statement on the police website, with project leader Joakim Norenhag declaring himself “satisfied” with the outcome.

“To have received so many weapons we were not previously aware of is naturally positive. But we should be very careful about saying this will have any impact on the shootings we have seen around the country,” Norenhag told TT.

READ ALSO: In figures: 2017's shootings in Sweden

The South (Syd) police region topped the list of areas with the highest number of relinquished weapons. Around 15,000 weapons were collected during a similar amnesty in 2013.

This year’s amnesty, which was authorised by parliament, ran for three months from February 1st to April 30th. The amnesty allowed people in possession of unregistered or illegal weapons and ammunition to hand them in to police without facing legal pursuit.

Weapons handed in under the terms of the amnesty had to be given up voluntarily.

Persons leaving weapons with police were able to do so anonymously, while police did not have the right to carry out inquiries related to any of the submitted weapons.

In cases where the weapons have registered owners, the owners are informed by police, after which they have a month to collect their property.

Unclaimed and other weapons will eventually be scrapped or handed over to museums should they be rare or of interest.

The amnesty was valid for weapons and ammunition but not for explosives or explosive materials.

READ ALSO: Swedish police hope amnesty can get more than 10,000 weapons off the streets

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