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CRIME

Gothenburg man suspected of killing Australian appears in court

A 27-year-old man has been remanded in custody on suspicion of stabbing an Australian citizen to death in Gothenburg just before Christmas.

Gothenburg man suspected of killing Australian appears in court
The victim was found injured at Odinsplatsen in Gothenburg. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

The man, a Swedish national and Gothenburg resident, is suspected of murder on probable cause (one of the higher degrees of suspicion in Swedish law) according to court documents seen by The Local.

Gothenburg District Court heard on Monday that he denies the allegations.

The suspect is previously known to police, reports regional newspaper Göteborgs-posten (GP), in connection with offences including mugging and narcotics.

The victim was found seriously injured in the Odinsplatsen square in central Gothenburg in the early hours of December 20th. He was taken to hospital but died from his injuries.

The prosecutor said the 30-year-old Australian had visited a friend in another part of the city and was on his way home when he encountered the suspect, adding it appeared to have been a random brutal attack.

“They don't know each other at all. It appears to have been a coincidental encounter outside,” prosecutor Niklas Högdén told GP at the preliminary court hearing.

Australian media identified the victim as Kai Foley, who had a Swedish girlfriend and had moved to Gothenburg last summer. They reported that a private memorial service would be held and that his family had paid tribute in a statement to a “special, beautiful, fine young man”, asking for privacy during a difficult time.

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. 

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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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