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CRIME

17-year-old Bulgarian citizen shot dead at hairdressers in Copenhagen

Police in Copenhagen backtracked after first identifying the victim of Friday's shooting as a 17-year-old Swedish youth.

17-year-old Bulgarian citizen shot dead at hairdressers in Copenhagen
Copenhagen police at the scene of Friday's shooting. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Two men wearing black rain gear with the hoods pulled down opened fire at a hairdressers on Islev Torv in the Copenhagen suburb of Rødovre, shortly after midday on Friday.

A 15-year-old Danish boy, who police said was a pupil at a nearby school, and a 21-year-old man were also injured in the attack.

Police first said the 17-year-old boy was Swedish, but later said that he was in fact a Bulgarian citizen who had arrived in Scandinavia earlier this year. Swedish news agency TT reported it was not clear whether or not he had a connection to Sweden.

The attack came just a day after a man was shot in the back in the Copenhagen district of Nørrebro, with Danish police arresting two suspects an hour afterwards. One of those suspects was a 21-year-old man from Gothenburg, who has previously been jailed in Sweden.

Copenhagen police on Friday evening said in a press release that they considered the two shootings were gang related, and were imposing a “visitation zone”, around Rødovre and Herlev to prevent violent reprisals. 

“While we work hard to stop this and prosecute the culprits, our citizens must be able to feel safe where they live and move – and with a visitation zone, we make it harder for criminals to carry out their activities in the area,” said Police Director Kim Christiansen, Copenhagen West Region Police. 

Danish police have yet to arrest anyone for involvement in the second shooting, and are asking anyone who witnessed the event to come in to the mobile police station set up at the square, or to ring 004543861448. 

When an area is designated a “visitation zone”, police are empowered to carry out random inspections on anyone within the areas, checking their clothing, vehicles, and bodies. 

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Swedish gangs were behind the worst shooting seen in Copenhagen in 2019, when two members of the Shottaz gang from the troubled Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby were killed by a rain of bullets in the Copenhagen suburb of Herlev. 

In August last year, three men belonging to the rival Death Patrol from the same Stockholm suburb, were sentenced to 20 years in prison by a court in Glostrup, outside Copenhagen.

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SWEDEN AND IRAN

Swedish court to give verdict in Iranian war crimes trial in July

A landmark trial against a former Iranian prison official accused of war crimes during a 1988 purge of dissidents wrapped up in Sweden on Wednesday, with a verdict due in July.

Swedish court to give verdict in Iranian war crimes trial in July

The proceedings marked the first time an Iranian official has gone on trial for the purge.

Hamid Noury, 61, faces charges including crimes against humanity and war crimes for his role in the killing of as many as 5,000 prisoners across Iran, allegedly ordered by supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini.

The killings were revenge for attacks carried out by the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), an exiled opposition group, at the end of the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88.

Last week, prosecutors called for a life sentence for Noury, who has been on trial in Stockholm district court since August 2021.

“It’s ironic, because I was witness to many of my friends being sentenced to death in one-minute trials in Iran. How different it is here”, Ramadan Fathi, a former prisoner who testified against Noury, told AFP.

On Wednesday, the final day of the trial, the judge set the date for the verdict on July 14.

“I hope these hands will be cleared … with the help of God,” Noury told the court, his palms raised to the sky and holding a Koran. “Friends, I love you, I’m not angry at you”, he told those present in the courtroom, his remarks in Farsi translated into Swedish by a court-appointed interpreter.

The defence had contested Sweden’s principle of universal jurisdiction — which allows it to try the case regardless of where the offences took place — and called into question the plaintiffs’ testimony.

“There is a lot of uncertainty about the way in which the name Hamid Noury arose in the testimonies”, Daniel Marcus, one of Noury’s two lawyers, told the court, calling the evidence “insufficient”.

‘Small, small holes’

According to the prosecution and survivors who testified against him, Noury was assistant to the deputy prosecutor of Gohardasht prison near Tehran at the time of the events.

He allegedly handed down death sentences, brought prisoners to the execution chamber and helped prosecutors gather prisoners’ names. Noury has argued that he was on leave during the period in question, and said he worked in another prison, not the Gohardasht one.

Noury was arrested at a Stockholm airport in November 2019 after Iranian dissidents in Sweden filed police complaints against him.

Throughout the nine-month trial, which briefly relocated to Albania to hear some testimony at the end of 2021, MEK supporters protested loudly outside the Stockholm courthouse.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Kenneth Lewis, said the evidence in the case was “overwhelming”. The defence “tried to find small, small holes, but in my opinion, they weren’t very comfortable” in their argument.

A lawyer representing the MEK expressed however concern that Noury — who is currently held in custody pending the verdict — would flee Sweden if acquitted, before an appeal could be lodged.

Ramadan Fathi, the former prisoner, said meanwhile he was “very happy to see with my own eyes” someone from the regime facing justice.

“Now that we’ve reached the end of this trial, I hope a day comes very soon when the entire leaders of this regime, perpetrators of this massacre, are brought to justice here or elsewhere.”

The trial has rendered Stockholm’s already chilly relations with Tehran even frostier.

Iran summoned the Swedish ambassador last week, the same day the prosecutor in Stockholm called for a life sentence against Noury. The Swedish foreign ministry has meanwhile advised its nationals against non-essential travel to Iran.

According to the Iranian news agency Isna, Iran plans to execute Swedish-Iranian academic Ahmadreza Djalali, who was sentenced to death in 2017 for spying for Israel, before May 21.

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