Report: Terror suspect wants to serve sentence in Swedish prison
The 23-year-old suspected of participating in the Brussels terror attacks wants to serve his prison sentence in Sweden were he to be convicted, sources tell Swedish Radio News.
The 23-year-old was born and raised in Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city, where he is still registered. According to the British Daily Mail, he travelled to Syria in 2014 to join IS.
Last autumn, the man returned to Europe via the Greek island Leros, using a fake identity and passport. Three weeks ago, he was arrested in Brussels on suspicion of participating in the March 22nd terror attack in Brussels which killed 32 and wounded more than 300.
Now, a lengthy judicial process awaits for the 23-year-old and it could take up to a year before the court delivers the verdict.
According to information obtained by Swedish Radio, the suspect wants to serve his prison sentence in Sweden, were he to be convicted. However, his defence attorney has not confirmed that information.
A legal amendment in Sweden last year opened up for this type of prison transfer and if the 23-year-old applies for a transfer to Sweden, it will likely be granted.
"According to the law, one has to examine whether the person is a Swedish citizen and lives in Sweden. So it is not the citizenship alone that we look at, though that is of course a key factor," said Lisa Gezelius, head of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service's legal department.
It was an EU directive that lead to Swedish legislation being changed last year. The aim was to allow convicted criminals to serve prison sentences in their home countries. Sweden went further than required by the EU, meaning that even individuals who are not Swedish citizens but who have a connection to Sweden have a bigger chance of serving their sentences in Sweden should they wish to do so.
Swedish law stipulates that the convict should have lived in Sweden for at least five years and should hold a Swedish residence permit, prosecutor Ashraf Ahmed explained to Swedish Radio. Ahmed was an expert in the inquiry that heralded the legal amendment.
Since the new law was introduced, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service has received around 30 applications for transfers to Sweden. The authority does not take into consideration the type of crime that the individual has been convicted of, but according to the authority the number of inmates with extremist and violent ideologies now looks set to increase. Later this spring, the authority will present a strategy for how to handle the situation.