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OFFBEAT

Swordsman jailed for ‘cat-fight’ custody threat

A Swedish court sentenced a man to six months in prison on Thursday after for using a samurai sword to try and intimidate a friend into giving him two cats.

Swordsman jailed for ‘cat-fight’ custody threat

The man, a 48-year-old from the Baltic island of Gotland, had been cat-sitting for a friend of his who was in prison.

When the prisoner emerged in March and managed to set himself up with a place to live, he asked for his two cats back.

However, the 48-year-old had become attached to the feline friends, and refused to hand them over at a meeting in the ex-cons apartment.

He left in a rage, later returning with a samurai sword which he stabbed deeply into the door, before threatening both the ex-cat owning ex-con and his landlord.

Police were called to the scene. Two witnesses alleged that the man continued to make threats as he was being apprehended by police.

He has been sentenced to six months prison by the Gotland Court for assault and criminal damage, and has been asked to pay 22,000 kronor ($2,959) to one of the threatened men, 10,000 to the other, and 2,000 to the Gotland housing association for the damages, wrote the Gotland Allehanda newspaper.

Both cats lived to tell the tale, according to the TT news agency.

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MILITARY

Sweden steps up Baltic defence in ‘signal’ to Russia

Sweden's defence minister has said his country is carrying out military exercises in the Baltic Sea to 'send a signal' to countries including Russia.

Sweden steps up Baltic defence in 'signal' to Russia
Swedish troops on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland. Photo: Joel Thungren/Försvarsmakten/TT

The so-called “high readiness action” means the Swedish army, navy and air force are currently more visible in the southeastern and southern Baltic Sea and on the island of Gotland.

No details have been disclosed about the number of troops involved in the action.

Sweden is “sending a signal both to our Western partners and to the Russian side that we are prepared to defend Sweden's sovereignty,” Hultqvist told news agency TT.


Ground troops on Gotland. Photo: Bezhav Mahmoud/Försvarsmakten/TT

“There is currently extensive military activity in the Baltic Sea, conducted by Russian as well as Western players, on a scale the likes of which have not been seen since the Cold War,” the Swedish Armed Forces' Commander of Joint Operations, Jan Thörnqvist, said in a statement.

“The exercise activities are more complex and have arisen more rapidly than before. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has caused global anxiety and uncertainty. Over all, the situation is more unstable and more difficult to predict,” Thörnqvist said.


A Visby-class corvette and two Jas Gripen jets in the air. Photo: Antonia Sehlstedt/Försvarsmakten/TT

Hultqvist said Sweden was also monitoring developments in Belarus “very closely”.

Non-Nato member Sweden, which has not been to war in two centuries and which slashed military spending at the end of the Cold War, reopened a garrison on Gotland in January 2018 amid concerns about Russian intentions in Europe and the Baltic.

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