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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

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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