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CRIME

Sweden’s first spy trial in 18 years gets under way

Sweden's first espionage trial in 18 years got under way on Thursday, with a Swedish tech consultant accused of selling sensitive information about truckmaker Scania and Volvo Cars to Russia.

Sweden's first spy trial in 18 years gets under way
File photo of a Volvo Cars factory. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

The 47-year-old man is accused of espionage and illegal intelligence gathering that put Sweden’s national security at risk, prosecutors said.

The accused was arrested in dramatic fashion in February 2019 while dining at a restaurant in central Stockholm with a Russian diplomat suspected of being an intelligence officer.

The diplomat was briefly detained but released on account of his diplomatic immunity.

The arrest led to a diplomatic row between Sweden and Russia, with Stockholm subsequently denying visas to two Russian envoys. Moscow responded by expelling two Swedish diplomats.

At the time of his arrest, the consultant had just received 27,800 kronor ($3,355) for passing information to Moscow, prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said in February.

The information regarded “manufacturing, such as source codes and construction of products in the automotive sector”.

According to the indictment, the man illegally transferred material from his work computer to his private computer and thereafter to USB memory sticks.

In order to hide his activities from being logged by the IT system, he also photographed material from the screen of his work computer.

The man denies the allegations.

The trial is expected to conclude on September 1st, and the accused risks a maximum of six years in prison if convicted.

In its latest annual report published in 2020, Sweden’s intelligence agency said Russia, along with China, posed the biggest intelligence threat to the Scandinavian country.

According to public broadcaster SVT, this is the first time a person has gone on trial in Sweden for espionage in 18 years.

The trial continues.

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HEALTH

Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime 

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