Friends and relatives of two Somali-Swedish men outside the courtroom after they were released from jail where they had been held on terror charges. Photo: Jan Andersson / Sveriges Radio

Court orders terror suspects released

A Swedish appeals court Wednesday ordered the release of two men convicted in October of preparing to carry out suicide bombings in Sweden and Somalia.

Swedish citizens of Somali origin, the men were found guilty by a lower court of conspiracy and sentenced to four-year jail terms. The final verdict of the Gothenburg appeals court will not be announced until early March, but Wednesday’s action indicates that the pair will probably be found not guilty. “That will likely be the verdict, or they may be found guilty but given lighter sentences,” said defense attorney Richard Backenroth.

Prosecutors claimed that the two men, one 22 years old and the other 26, are members of the Somalia-based al-Shabaab terrorist group. Both denied the charges, although one of the men admitted that he had spent time at an al-Shabaab camp in Somalia.

The lead prosecutor in the case, Agneta Hilding Qvarnström, said no decision had yet been made on whether to ask a higher court to reinstate the conviction.

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