News from Sweden about tightening the law on terrorism. News headlines and events Last Minute Russia
A few months after Sweden reached an agreement with Turkey to settle objections to its application for NATO membership, it decided to tighten its laws on membership in terrorist organizations.
The new law, which the Swedish government hopes to come into force in June, gives authorities greater powers, through financial or other means, to detain and prosecute people who support terrorist organizations.
“We are talking about an extremely wide range of crimes,” Swedish Justice Minister Gunnar Strommer told reporters.
Justice Minister Strommer noted that it has so far been very difficult to prosecute unless it is related to a specific terrorist attack in Sweden. The new law will cover all forms of participation in terrorism.
Strommer said that in Stockholm in 2017, a man drove his car into pedestrians on a crowded street, killing 5 people, indicating the need for tougher laws on terrorism.
The Swedish minister said the threat level had risen as Sweden was perceived as a legitimate target after far-right Danish politician Rasmus Paludan burned a Koran in Stockholm last month. “There is clearer and stronger rhetoric,” Strommer said.
Sweden has pledged to increase cooperation with Turkey in the fight against terrorism as part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in June after Ankara objected to Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership.
Turkey suspended talks last month on the grounds that Sweden failed to take adequate steps following protests by Danish politician Paludan.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement yesterday: “We are positive about Finland in relation to NATO membership, not in relation to Sweden.”
Swedish Justice Minister Strommer said the new terrorism law would not affect the right to protest and would not interfere with the flying of the PKK flag.
“Raising the flag as an expression of a different point of view will not be punished,” Strommer said.
Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but have since faced unexpected objections from Turkey.
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