Trial testing Sweden's new terror trip law begins today
A man suspected of having travelled with the intention to join a terrorist group will stand trial on Thursday, the first of its kind since a new law came into force on April 1.
The 25-year-old suspect travelled to Turkey on April 12, where he was stopped and sent back to Sweden. He was then arrested at Stockholm Arlanda airport. According to the prosecutor, there is evidence proving he intended to travel to Syria to join the al-Nusra Front, an extremist group with links to al-Qaeda.
The trial at the Attunda District Court marks the first time Sweden's new law against travelling with the purpose of committing terrorist acts is being put to the test. The law makes it illegal to travel or start a journey with the intention of committing or preparing serious crimes. It carries a maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment.
Amir Rostami, committee secretary at the National Coordinator Against Violent Extremism told Swedish Radio he thinks the law could have a deterrent effect, but that the biggest impact is that it gives certain authorities the possibility to act quickly.
“I think that symbolically it has an impact that the legislation is put into use this quickly after April 1,” Rostami said.
The prosecutor's evidence includes a text-message conversation in which the 25-year-old wrote that he was travelling to Syria for jihad. A bullet-proof vest, knee and elbow pads were also found in his luggage.
The man himself denies the charges, claiming he was travelling with the intention of taking part in humanitarian work.