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Swedish prosecutor confirms US spy probe

Sweden's top prosecutor revealed on Tuesday that his office had previously opened a preliminary criminal investigation against US agents suspected of spying in Sweden in 2009.

Swedish prosecutor confirms US spy probe

The probe was dropped, however, because the suspected spies left the country.

Left Party MP Jens Holm and attorney Sten de Geer reported the alleged spying to the prosecutor’s office on May 25th after the case was revealed in an article by the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

According to the report, Swedish intelligence service Säpo discovered two Americans conducting illegal, undercover investigations on Swedish soil.

The two men, believed to be working for the CIA, were discovered when Säpo noticed them tracking people under investigation by Säpo for suspected terror links.

But on Tuesday, Sweden’s top prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand said he had no intention of responding to calls for a new investigation, as the incident had already been looked into by his office.

Preliminary investigations into illegal intelligence gathering which don’t result in a remand order or a formal indictment are usually kept secret.

However, as so many details about the case of the suspected CIA spies had already been made public, Lindstrand – who is in charge of cases dealing with terrorism and national security – thought it was appropriate to release certain details.

He confirmed that the agency had diplomatic immunity. While diplomats can be investigated for criminal conduct, they cannot be charged.

The government, however, can choose to declare that individual persona non grata and kick him or her out of the country.

But according to Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, the suspected spies, who left Sweden shortly after being exposed, were not formally kicked out by the Swedish government.

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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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