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Activist jailed after writing threats in blood

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15:50 CET+01:00
The 22-year-old animal rights activist, suspected of arson and of writing threatening letters, sometimes penned in his own blood, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

His offences include sending 17 threatening letters to 50 different people or organizations that are linked to animal cruelty or the fur-trade.

“The majority of those who received the letters reacted most to the fact that their family members were included in the threats,” said Johan Dalén, CEO of 'Sweden's fur-breeder federation' (Sveriges pälsdjursuppfödares riksförbund - SPR) to the TT news-agency.

A Gothenburg court sentenced him to three years and six months prison and he will also have to pay some 400,000 kronor ($58,158) in compensation to those affected by his crimes.

The court judged that two of the threats within the letters were serious enough to warrant prison time.

The court also considered it to be proven that the man was responsible for setting fire to a fast food restaurant by Gothenburg’s Scandinavium arena in July.

Two cans, of which at least one contained petrol, had been thrown inside the empty eatery through broken windows, at 5am.

While the fire had been extinguished by the sprinklers, the damage to the restaurant was still severe enough to cause almost one million kronor in repairs.

The man’s DNA was later discovered on a shard of glass at the scene of the crime, as well as on a nearby plastic bag. The word “scum” (avskum) was written on one can, which was a term also found in several of the threatening letters.

The activist was also convicted of smashing the windows of another restaurant he believed to be serving shark-fin soup. This was the only crime he confessed to during the trial.

He is also convicted of assaulting the owners and staff of a fashion shop during a demonstration, in co-operation with other activists.

Exactly what the convicted man did during the demonstration was not investigated, but the court considered it proven that he had taken part in the campaign.

The 22-year-old was fined a total of 428,000 kronor in compensation to those affected.

“I don’t have an opinion about the reasonableness of the judgment, or what would make a suitable punishment. But, it’s nice that society has shown that undemocratic means and criminal methods are never acceptable,” Dalen said.

It has been established that the man has a mental disorder, though it is not deemed serious.

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