Fewer than one in seven terror suspects convicted in Sweden: report

Fewer than one in seven terror suspects convicted in Sweden: report
A Swedish law book. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
Only five people have been convicted of terror related crimes in Sweden of a known 34 arrested or detained, according to a study done by radio station Sveriges Radio.

Sweden introduced special terror laws 15 years ago, and during that time 34 people have been either arrested or remanded during investigations for suspected terror-related crimes. But only six of those were subsequently convicted of terror offences, and one of them was convicted in Denmark.

The radio station's investigation included both cases where a person was detained for crimes related to terrorism, and cases where an arrest or remand warrant for crimes related to terrorism was issued.

The most recent case was the arrest of a man in his 30s, who was detained by Uppsala district court suspected of planning to commit a terror offence last November, but was released the following day. The investigation is now closed and he has been cleared of all terror-related suspicions.

The prosecutor in the case explained that authorities often have to act quickly based on early information if they feel there is a plausible risk of a terror attack being committed.

“Our task and the Security Service's task is to prevent: for something not to happen. We do everything we can to ensure that attacks don't happen in Sweden and that means we have to act early. We can't sit and wait until it has happened,” Ewamari Häggkvist, a prosecutor at the Swedish Prosecution Authority explained.

In the case of the man in Uppsala there were suspicions that he had started preparing an attack in Sweden, but his lawyer said prosecutors acted too quickly in this instance.

“They decided to act quickly because they thought something might happen, but had they followed up on it at an earlier stage than they did, perhaps spoken to the people in my client's circle, they would have understood clearly that there was no substance to the allegations of terror offences,” Leif Silbersky told Sveriges Radio.