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CRIME

Remand for missing woman murder suspect

A 22-year-old has been remanded in custody in northern Sweden on suspicion of killing a 20-year-old woman who vanished three weeks ago and whose remains were discovered last week.

Remand for missing woman murder suspect

The suspect denies committing any crime, but was nevertheless ordered held on remand by Luleå District Court on Monday on suspicions of having murdered 20-year-old Vatchareeya Bangsuan, who was last seen on May 4th in Boden, northern Sweden.

Bangsuan’s remains were found last week in an abandoned military base by volunteer search organization Missing People.

The 22-year-old’s attorney said he wasn’t surprised by the court’s ruling.

“It wasn’t exactly unexpected,” attorney Bo Forssberg told the TT news agency following the decision.

However, Forssberg refused to divulge any details about what sort of evidence was presented by prosecutors, citing a gag order on the proceedings.

Prosecutors requested Monday’s hearing, which attracted a great deal of attention in the Swedish media, be held behind closed doors, a request the court duly granted.

The 22-year-old has said that Bangsuan was at his home the day before she was last seen alive and police have conducted a forensic investigation of his apartment and his parents’ house.

Investigators are now awaiting the results of tests carried out by Sweden’s National Forensics Laboratory (Statens kriminaltekniska laboratorium, SKL), but prosecutor Ulrika Schönbeck was unable to say exactly when the results would be completed.

Bangsuan was reported missing on Tuesday, May 7th. The previous Saturday she wrote on Facebook that she planned to exercise and then go to a friend’s to study. The friend’s house to which she went was that of the 22-year-old suspect.

An initial search by police was halted on Friday, May 10th.

On May 20th, members of a search party organized by Missing People found parts of Bangsuan’s body in an abandoned house in Boden.

Two days later, more remains were found in a nearby wooded area.

TT/The Local/dl

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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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