Swedish court jails Iraqi for war crimes after Facebook post

A Swedish court on Tuesday jailed an Iraqi man for six months for war crimes in a landmark case after he posted photos on Facebook of himself posing with dead bodies in Iraq.

Swedish court jails Iraqi for war crimes after Facebook post
The man jailed for war crimes had posted pictures of himself posing with dead bodies. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The photos posted on Facebook in July 2015, show Iraqi citizen Raed Abdulkareem, 24, who sought asylum in Sweden in October that same year, posing next to a severed head on a plate and decapitated bodies. He claims to have fought for the Iraqi government against the Islamic State group.

The police discovered the photos while investigating Abdulkareem over robbery, for which he is currently serving a prison sentence.

The court said even dead people are protected against violation of “personal dignity” under Swedish law and the Geneva Convention.

“It is satisfying that the district court has made this interpretation, as we also have, of Swedish law in the area. Posing the way this person has done constitutes humiliating and degrading treatment of a protected person. That means it is a war crime,” prosecutor Reena Devgun commented.

The prosecutor added that the judgment is an important one as similar images are common on the internet, and could lead to copycat occurrences in conflicts if not curtailed.

Abdulkareem denied all charges against him, arguing he was forced to pose next to the bodies.

The court ruled Abdulkareem would be deported to Iraq and not allowed to reenter Sweden until 2026.


Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden.