Swedish tabloid Expressen's editor-in-chief Thomas Mattsson and two journalists recieved a court sentence for a news story on purchasing weapons. Photo: Leif R Jansson/Scanpix.

Court says Expressen's gun sting was illegal

The editor-in-chief and two journalists at Swedish tabloid Expressen were found guilty on Friday of purchasing illegal guns, and given a suspended sentence and fined. Expressen will appeal the judgment, according to Swedish Radio news.

As part of an investigative news story on how easily weapons can be obtained in the southern city of Malmö, the newspaper's reporter Diamant Salihu bought a semi-automatic pistol in October 2010.

The news story set out to investigate Malmö police's statement that the city was "over-flowing with weapons", made in the wake of a suspected mass-shooting incident. According to news agency TT, it took Salihu only five hours to hunt down and buy the gun.

The purchased gun was immediately handed over to the police after the newspaper ran the story.

In November of 2010, editor-in-chief Thomas Mattsson defended the purchase in a comment on the court charges against the newspaper.

"This is investigative journalism that is important for society", he said.

Mattsson, along journalist Diamant Salihu and news editor Andreas Johansson, who were responsible for the news story, were given a suspended sentence by the Malmö district court and will have to pay fines. According to the court, this is a mild sentence for this kind of crime, and was given in light of the fact that the weapon was voluntarily handed in to the police.

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