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Two Swedes face prosecution for terror killing in Syria

Published måndag 23 november 2015 kl 16.30
"The video clip shows two men getting their throats slit"
(1:42 min)
Göteborgs tingsrätt. Foto: Erica Hedin/ Sveriges Radio
The District Court in Gothenburg. Photo: Erica Hedin/Sveriges Radio

Two Swedes have been charged with terrorism offences linked to the murders of two people in Syria in 2013.

The two men, both in their early thirties, were arrested in Gothenburg earlier this summer by the Swedish Security Service, Säpo. They are suspected of having murdered two people in the Syrian city of Aleppo by slitting their throats. A third man has been arrested in absentia for having assisted in the murders.

The men are believed to be Isis sympathisers, but have both denied all charges against them. The case against them is based mainly on pictures and video clips from the area, and has been challenging to put together, according to chief prosecutor Agnetha Hilding Qvarnström at the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

"The difficulty lies in proving beyond reasonable doubt that these people have acted as members of a terrorist organisation or for their cause," says chief prosecutor Agnetha Hilding Qvarnström.

Hilding Qvarnström says that the strongest piece of evidence against the two men is a video clip found on a USB stick belonging to one of the suspects. 

"The video clip shows exactly what I claim has happened, two men get their throats slit," she says.

Säpo has estimated that approximately 120 Swedes have returned from fighting for Isis, but so far none have been convicted. A majority of them have been from Gothenburg and Marianne Olsson, a local politician, believes that a conviction could serve as an important signal to both potential perpetrators and the city's inhabitants.

"I think a conviction could have a deterrent effect. I think people would be less inclined to go abroad to fight and I also think that people in Sweden would feel more safe. Many citizens from my district are deeply worried about these people and how they sometimes even brag about what they've done," Olsson tells Swedish Radio News.

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