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Terror suspect freed by court, then seized seconds later

Published fredag 7 april 2017 kl 15.36
Lawyer: The next second he was informed he would not be released
2:37 min
Lawyer Lars Edman (right) and the Shia Islamic centre after the arson attack.
Lawyer Lars Edman (right) and the Shia Islamic centre after the arson attack. Credit: Martina Greiffe/Sveriges Radio/TT

The 30-year-old suspect in a Malmö terror courtcase was freed on Friday, only to be detained again moments later on the orders of Sweden's security police.

The man is accused of carrying out an arson attack on a Shia Muslim centre in the city, and also of being a member of the Islamic State terror group. 

In a detention hearing following the end the man's trial, a judge ruled that there was no longer any justification to keep the man detained.

"He was very happy and hugged me and the interpreter, and everyone who was close and then the next second he was informed that he was not at all going to be released," defence lawyer Lars Edman told Radio Sweden outside the courtroom.

"That was of course disappointing to him."

Edman said that Säpo's order appeared to be "some kind of administrative detention", rather than part of a new set of charges against the man, perhaps linked to his suspected links to Islamic State. 

He said that the decision to release the man suggests he will be found innocent of the charges when the court makes its decision. 

"There's only one indication for that decision and that is that they will not find him guilty. He will probably be freed. The proof that the presecutor has presented is not enough."

Chief prosecutor Agnetha Hilding Qvarnström was not willing to comment on Säpo's action, although she said that, unlike Edman, she had had prior warning.

"I had come to understand that it had been decided that he would be taken into custody, yes," she told Swedish Radio.

The arson attack did very little damage, but has gained a global significance after the terror organisation Islamic State in October claimed responsibility for it.

Sweden's police at first dismissed the claim, but in March they decided to charge the man for terror offences.

In February the US White House included the attack in a list of 78 terrorist attacks underreported by the media. 

Last week, it emerged that a recording submitted to the court showed officers from the Swedish security forces had threatened the man's wife that she could be sent out of Sweden if she did not provide evidence against him.

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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