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'We will likely appeal': defence lawyer

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'We will likely appeal': defence lawyer
17:55 CEST+02:00
The 26-year-old man and the 23-year-old woman who were charged with the abduction of a wealthy Uppsala student in December last year were on Tuesday convicted of eight years each in prison, yet lawyers point to contradictory evidence as a reason to appeal.

“We're naturally displeased with the court's judgment because my client denies the crime,” said the 26-year-old's lawyer Bengt-Göran Hugoson to the TT news agency.

He claimed that the court had incorrectly evaluated evidence and that there are several factors which contradict the student's explanations.

“They actually found that the so-called kidnapped person completely unharmed in an unlocked house. He was not bound, not taped, and could leave when he wanted. No demands were made for a ransom,” he said.

Hugoson added that the judgment would likely be appealed.

Meanwhile, prosecutor Lars Hedwall told local paper Upsala Nya Tidning that he aimed for a lengthier sentence.

"It is a serious punishment, but I did argue for a longer sentence. Now I will have to read the verdict and see if the district court's argumentation is convincing for the sentence that they have chosen," he said.

Apart from kidnapping, the man and the woman were also convicted of attempted extortion and attempted fraud after trying to force a man to buy an apartment, which the 26-year-old was selling.

They were also convicted of theft after stealing a large number of bicycles, 10 and 21 respectively, in southern cities Malmö and Lund in September.

The reason behind the attempted fraud, extortion and theft was to finance the kidnapping of the Uppsala student.

Hedwall had argued for at least fourteen years for both.

The 25-year-old Uppsala student went missing from his home in late December and was taken to a derelict house in the county of Västerbotten in northern Sweden, where he was found by police eight days later.

Police soon started to suspect three individuals who had been seen in the neighbourhood, and apprehended two of them after some items belonging to the missing man were found in their car.

A third man was brought in shortly after.

According to the prosecutor, the suspected trio's intent was to blackmail the man's wealthy family. The defence of the 25-year-old, that the whole thing was staged by the victim in order to get “famous”, was discarded by the court as “unrealistic”.

Neither did they believe the woman's explanation that the whole stunt had been a “joke”.

The prosecutor wanted at least ten years in prison for the third defendant, a 26-year-old man, but before he can be sentenced he has to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. A general examination has shown that he may be mentally ill. He has admitted to the charges.

The convicted pair will together pay a fine to the Uppsala student of a total of 132,300 kronor ($18,440). A potential appeal must be filed before June 19th.

TT/Rebecca Martin

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