Bildt: Serious implications in case of Uzbek imam
Following a Swedish court's ruling on the attempted murder in Sweden of an Uzbek imam, Sweden's foreign minister says that the implications of the case must be taken extremely seriously.
On Thursday, a Swedish court freed an Uzbek couple from charges relating to the attempted murder of the imam, who had been critical of the Uzbek regime. Then, on Saturday, Bildt wrote on his blog that he did not want to comment on or highlight the ruling itself, but rather the court's description of the event as having "happened because of political reasons" and as something that was "planned and carried out by an organization outside of Sweden."
"The person that the prosecutor indicated as the murderer has been identified, and his different activities leading up to the murder, as well as his quick trip out of Sweden in the direction of Moscow afterwards are well mapped out," wrote Bildt. He went on to write that according to the ruling, whoever was behind the crime tried purposefully – and with help – to figure out where the imam lived, as well as his daily routine, so that the culprit could go there to carry out the deed adeptly and afterwards leave the country.
"Behind this lies organization and experience," writes Bildt, concluding that an organization with foreign experience must have been trying to carry out a political assassination on Swedish soil, and that this must be taken extremely seriously.
Bildt stressed that Sweden must protect refugees seeking and receiving asylum here as much as it protects its other inhabitants, and he underlined that Sweden naturally takes a harsh stance towards foreign governments who attempt to spy on refugees here.
Bildt wrote that he had never come across a situation like this in all his years serving in government and that both the Swedish authorities and the government will "do everything that can be done to get to the bottom of this question."
The imam was shot in the head in the middle of the day on 22 February in the stairwell of the building where he lived in Strömsund, in northern Jämtland. He is still being treated at the hospital for serious injuries and is in a coma, reports news agency TT.
The imam came to Sweden as a refugee in 2006.