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CRIME

Six convicted of murder in Swedish honour killing case

Six people have been convicted of murder by a Swedish district court in an honour violence case in which a man was killed after having an affair with a married woman.

Six convicted of murder in Swedish honour killing case
The victim was found dead on a road south of Sundsvall in 2016. Photo: Mats Andersson/TT

The case involved 23-year-old victim Ramin Sherzaj, who was bundled into a car from a square in Gävle in April of 2016, then later found murdered in Sundsvall. Police were first alerted by a jogger who saw a screaming man being taken into a car by “some guys with hoods”. The man was beaten during the journey then strangled to death.

The murder was an act of revenge due to an affair between Sherzaj and a married woman which started in 2015. The woman separated from her husband then later ended the affair, to which Sherzaj responded by posting a picture of himself kissing her on Facebook and sending friend requests to her and her ex-husband's relatives.

Gävle District Court sentenced five of those convicted including the woman, her ex-husband and two of her relatives to life in prison, while the sixth was sentenced to 14 years in prison due to being under the age of 21 when the crime took place. He has also been given a deportation order and banned from returning to Sweden thereafter.

“The district court has found that these six people together and in agreement used violence to take the victim away in order to deprive him of his life, then assaulted him before taking his life; all in accordance with the charge sheet. They are convicted of murder, wherein kidnapping was involved. They are also sentenced to pay damages to the plaintiffs. Deportation was requested for three of the people. For two of them the deportation application was dismissed, but for the third who was sentenced to 14 years, the application was granted,” a Gävle District Court statement read.

The murder was honour related according to the verdict, seen by The Local, and triggered by the sharing of the photograph.

The court freed two other people from charges of assisting in kidnapping and assisting murder, as well as protecting a criminal.

Around 100 police officers across Sweden worked on the investigation, which was the biggest in the history of Gävle Police Aftonbladet reports, and involved evidence from CCTV cameras, mobile phones, computers and letters.

READ ALSO: 'Honour violence is a crime, there's nothing honourable about it'

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. 

READ ALSO: 

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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