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OFFBEAT

Out-of-hours police turn away murder suspect

A 45-year-old man wanted in connection with the 2011 killing of a gang leader in Malmö tried to turn himself in on Monday, only to be told that the local police station was closed.

Out-of-hours police turn away murder suspect

He has been on the run since a warrant was issued for his arrest just days after the November 2011 killing of the 31-year-old leader of the Brödraskapet Wolfpack gang (‘The Wolfpack Brotherhood’).

The suspected mobster was shot to death at a taxi depot in a Malmö industrial area and the 45-year-old, who had previously owned the taxi business, immediately came under suspicion.

But when the suspect finally showed up at a Malmö police station on Monday night to turn himself in after nearly 15 months at large, he was amazed by the response he received, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reported.

Upon ringing the bell on the door shortly after 6pm, he was informed that the police station was closed.

“Closed? I’m suspected of murder and a wanted man – you guys really want to get ahold of me,” he said into the intercom.

But instead of being let in to the station, he was instead directed to another police station. When he had made his way there, he was placed under arrest.

Swedish criminal justice expert Sven-Erik Alhem expressed his shock at how the Malmö police handled the wanted man’s attempt to turn himself in.

“It seems really strange and totally bizarre that he was told to go away when he’s suspected of murder. He must have been very confused,” Alhem told the Expressen newspaper.

Alhem added that, at the very least, an officer should have been sent down when the suspect turned up at the first police station.

The suspect’s lawyer was also critical of law enforcement authorities in Sweden for how they handled his client’s wishes to return to Sweden.

“It’s a little strange that a person who has been a suspect for such a long time and even expressed a strong wish to come home doesn’t get help but is required to come home on his own despite the existence of an arrest warrant,” defence attorney Gunnar Falk told the Kvällsposten tabloid.

His client maintains his innocence, telling Sydsvenskan he had “nothing to do” with the gang leader’s killing, which the Swedish media has dubbed the Malmö “taxi murder”.

“I’d be an idiot to come back otherwise,” he continued.

He is scheduled to attend a remand hearing on Thursday.

When asked why a man suspected of murder was turned away by the police station, a Malmö police commander cited ongoing renovations as one possible explanation.

“Things are a bit messy right now,” Anders Oxelbrand told Sydsvenskan.

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CRIME

Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 

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More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

 
The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.” 
 
 
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