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TODAY IN SWEDEN

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Earlier Nato decision, Sweden Democrat 'ghetto plan', and Iranian war crime trial: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Thomas Baudin after being elected as the Social Democrat's party secretary at the Congress in November. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Social Democrats could decide on Nato on May 15th

The ruling board of Sweden’s Social Democratic Party could take its decision on whether the party should back Nato membership at a special extra meeting on May 15th, party secretary Tobias Baudin told Sweden’s TT newswire. 

“The party committee can take a decision then,” he said. 

The meeting had previously been planned for May 24th.

Swedish populists call for crime-hit areas to be demolished

The populist Sweden Democrats party has called for the most severely crime-hit areas in Sweden to be demolished, and their populations moved elsewhere in a policy drawn from Denmark’s controversial ‘ghetto plan’.

The party said it wanted to first use urban planning strategies to “build away” crime-hit areas, but that if that fails, it believed the worst areas should be demolished, as has happened to apartment blocks in cities in Denmark.

“We need to look at demolitions as an alternative,” the party’s leader, Jimmie Åkesson, said at a press conference on Tuesday to launch measures to combat the so-called “parallel society”.

He said that Sweden was “plagued by escalating serious crime”, and that no other problem faced by society so severely diminished Swedes’ freedom.

Other measures include bringing in so-called ‘search zones’ in areas badly affected by crime, or “culturally burdened”, another measure taken from Denmark.

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.

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.

NEW POLL: Sweden Democrats support down since start of Ukraine war

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, support for the Sweden Democrats has decreased. At the same time, the Social Democrats have seen their support increase.

Although the new election poll, carried out by polling company Novus on behalf of state broadcaster SVT, only shows small changes over the last few months, there are two clear changes in party support since the start of the war in Ukraine in February.

In February, in figures collected before the start of the war, the Sweden Democrats were polling at 19.8 percent. In the most recent poll carried out between April 4th and May 1st, they were down at 17.9 percent, the first time they have polled under 18 percent since March 2021.

“The Sweden Democrats have lost support slowly but surely over the last months, and now have a statistically significant decline since February,” Torbjörn Sjöström, CEO of Novus told SVT.

Iran to execute Swedish-Iranian academic in May: report

A Swedish-Iranian academic convicted of spying for Israel is set to be executed in Iran later this month, a news agency in the country reported on Wednesday.

Ahmadreza Djalali, formerly based in Stockholm where he worked at the Karolinska Institute, was arrested during a visit to Iran in April 2016.

He was sentenced to death in 2017 after being found guilty of passing information about two Iranian nuclear scientists to Israel’s Mossad spy agency that led to their assassinations.

Citing informed sources, ISNA news agency said on Wednesday that his death sentence would be carried out by May 21.

Djalali was granted Swedish citizenship while in detention in February 2018, a few months after Iran’s supreme court confirmed the death sentence.

United Nations rights experts said in March 2021 that he was in critical condition after months of solitary confinement and called for his release.

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Magdalena Andersson in the US, property prices drop and Turkey's Nato objections. Here's Sweden's news on Thursday.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson to visit US President Biden

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson is in Washington today alongside Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö. The two will visit US President Joe Biden to discuss the war in Ukraine and Turkey’s opposition to their Nato applications, which were handed in yesterday.

“The meeting is an important security policy signal,” Andersson wrote on her Instagram account from Washington DC.

The two Nordic leaders boarded the flight to Washington DC shortly after their Nato ambassadors applied to join the alliance.

At the meeting in the White House today, the delicate security situation in both Finland and Sweden will be discussed. A number of countries, including the USA, have stated that they will support Sweden and Finland in the period before their Nato applications are approved by all member states in the alliance.

A final approval could take up to a year, and Russia is expected to react to the two countries joining Nato in some way.

Sweden and Finland’s decision to join the Nato alliance was applauded by Ukrainians taking part in a demonstration outside the White House.

Swedish vocabulary: stöd – support

Property prices plummet after central bank increases inflation rate

Property prices have dropped after the Swedish central bank increased inflation rates.

At the same time, the amount of apartments on property website Hemnet has increased to a record level, as sellers seek to get their property on the market quickly.

Valueguard’s price index, which measures changes in prices, sank by 1.7 percent in the two first weeks of May in the Stockholm region. In Gothenburg, prices decreased by 1.3 when compared with April.

This is the first property price measurement in May since the central bank decided to increase key index rates by 0.25 percent while also sharply raising their interest rate forecast.

Having said that, there was also a decrease in property prices in April – 0.3 percent for apartments and 0.5 percent for houses.

Swedish vocabulary: en nedgång – a decrease

Turkish president Erdogan urges Nato to ‘respect’ concerns over Sweden joining

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has threatened to block Finland and Sweden from joining Nato, urged the alliance’s members on Wednesday to “respect” Ankara’s concerns about the two countries, which Turkey accuses of harbouring terrorists.

“Our only expectation from Nato allies is… to first understand our sensitivity, respect and finally support it,” Erdogan told his party’s legislators in parliament.

Finland and Sweden submitted a joint application to join Nato on Wednesday May 18th as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forces a dramatic reappraisal of security in Europe.

Erdogan accused Stockholm of providing safe haven to members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) designated as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

“We asked them to extradite 30 terrorists but they refused to do so,” he said.

“You will not send back the terrorists to us and then ask our support for your Nato membership … We cannot say ‘yes’ to make this security organisation being lacking in security,” he added.

Swedish vocab: terrorister – terrorists

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