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'Mafia puppet master' granted appeal trial

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'Mafia puppet master' granted appeal trial
08:14 CEST+02:00
An appeals court will examine the case against Bernard Khouri, the suspected sergeant-at-arms of the Södertälje Network criminal gang who was jailed for life after being convicted of ordering three murders.

Khouri's lawyer, Fredrik Ungerfält, lodged the appeal soon after his client was jailed for life at the close of the high-profile trial, which concluded one of Sweden's most expensive police investigations in August.

The defence team argued that the case against their client was based on circumstantial evidence and a hypothesis, in which Khouri's name had been inserted.

The prosecutors argued that the Khouri had an executive function in a grouping of criminal young men in the town of Södertälje, one hour south of Stockholm. The defence has denied that the grouping could even be dubbed 'mafia', instead arguing there were social structures in place with 'elements of a criminal culture'.

He was jailed for ordering the murders of Muhaned Ali, Yacoub Mossa, and Eddie Moussa - the latter a local football star in the Assyriska FC.

In the appeal, Khouri argued that the prosecutor's could as well have replaced his name in their hypothesis with that of Bülent Aslanoglu, another Södertälje residnt who was detained earlier this year in connection with a 250 kilogramme cocaine smuggling operation.

Khouri's appeal is based on what his defence team perceived was the prosecution's and court's failure to "examine other hypotheses".

Furthermore, the defence argued in the appeal that the prosecutors leaning on Khouri after he refused to talk to the police was incorrect, as the right to remain silent and not to incriminate oneself were protected by European law.

Ann Törnkvist

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