Sweden sends new terror law to parliament

TT/The Local
TT/The Local - [email protected] • 9 Mar, 2023 Updated Thu 9 Mar 2023 14:55 CEST
Sweden sends new terror law to parliament
Sweden's justice minister Gunnar Strömmer said that the new law would not criminalise resistance groups fighting for a democracy in totalitarian societies. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden's government has sent a new law to parliament criminalising taking part in a terror organisation, a key step in convincing Turkey the country is taking action to crack down on the Kurdish PKK terror group.


In a press statement, the government said that the new law would criminalise "all forms of support to a terrorist organisation, regardless of whether it is material assistance or assistance in the form of participation in its activities". 

The law has been seen as an important step towards meeting the terms of the trilateral memorandum Sweden signed with Turkey and Finland in June, which committed the country to "prevent activities of the PKK and all other terrorist organisations and their extensions, as well as activities by individuals in affiliated and inspired groups or networks linked to these terrorist organisations". 


Sweden's justice minister, Gunnar Strömmer, refused to comment on how the new law would affect efforts to prosecute members and affiliates of the PKK in Sweden. 

"How the law ends up being used in practice is a question for the law enforcement authorities," he said. "What we can say is that every terrorist organisation will now have to face an even more powerful toolbox from Sweden's side." 

Although the new law will help Sweden's case in its attempts to win Turkish backing for its Nato application, it has in fact been in preparation for six years.

The law as initially proposed was heavily criticised by the Council on Legislation, which questioned the need for the law, given that "associating with a terrorist organisation" is already a crime, and criticised the way the law has been framed as too vague and liable to criminalise too wide a range of people. 

The government believes that the new law is necessary to change and convict people who actively support a terrorist organisation without taking part in or planning a specific terrorist attack. 

Strömmer said that the law could criminalise a wide range of actions taken to support a terrorist group, such as arranging meeting places, looking after housing, looking after children, making food, and arranging transport.  

Expressing support or sympathy for a terror group will, however, not be criminalised under law unless it qualifies as propaganda, and Strömmer said that the government had met some of the Council on Legislation's criticisms in its final proposal.

"We have made it even clearer that the law does not apply to resistance movements that are fighting for democratic social conditions in an totalitarian state," he said. 


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also