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A trial in process. File photo: Jenny Tibblin/Sveriges Radio

Örebro man detained over execution in Syria

"You can’t just do anything in an armed conflict"
2:36 min

A 45-year-old man with a Swedish residence permit has been detained on suspicion of breaking international law in Idlib, northern Syria, where he apparently participated in the execution of seven men.

According to tabloidExpressen, the execution took place in February 2012. A video clip of the incident shows that the men’s hands were tied behind their backs as they were shot dead and it appears that the 45-year-old suspect was among the executioners. He is registered at an address in Örebro, a town in central Sweden.

District prosecutor Kristina Lindhoff Carlesson of the International Prosecution Authority is handling the inquiry into the case and told Swedish Radio News: “I can’t say much more other than the person has been detained for this crime, which was apparently committed around Idlib in northern Syria in 2012.” 

According to Lindhoff Carlesson, the execution is a breach of international law. “In an armed conflict, when there’s a war on, you have the right to kill and do other things in a way that you wouldn’t have the right to when you're not in an armed conflict,” said Lindhoff Carlesson. “But there are still rules that you have to follow, according to international law. You can’t just do anything in an armed conflict – you could be breaking international humanitarian law.”

Lindhoff Carlesson did not want to say whether the Swedish intelligence agency, Säpo, has been involved in investigating the 45-year-old’s actions and she did not want to reveal whether or not the video clips showing the execution are part of the evidence in the case.

The 45-year-old’s lawyer, Susanne Ekberg-Carlsson, told Swedish Radio News that the suspect opposed his detention and says he has not committed any crimes.

Prosecutor Kristina Lindhoff Carlesson said it is important to try this and other, similar cases. She said: “It’s important that countries really look at these kinds of deeds so that you can’t leave the country where the crime is committed and then get away with it. That is why we have the obligation, internationally, to ensure that legal authorities address this type of criminality.”

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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