2 men given life sentences in Sweden for terror crimes

AP News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2015 3:28 PM

HELSINKI (AP) — A Swedish court on Monday convicted two men of terror crimes in connection with killings in Syria in 2013, and handed them life sentences.

The Goteborg District Court ruled that the men — 32-year-old Hassan Mostafa al-Mandlawi and 30-year-old Sultan al-Amin — were involved in the killings. The men had denied being at the scene.

The court said police found photographic and video evidence on computer memory sticks seized during a search at the Goteborg home of one of the men. It showed two killings, including a beheading, at an industrial area north of Aleppo between April 12 and May 2, 2013.

One of the videos purportedly had footage proving that the men were present at the killings, which were intended to intimidate and frighten people in Syria and abroad, the court said, adding that it shares the prosecutor's view that they were terrorist crimes.

Chief Prosecutor Agnetha Hilding Qvarnstrom said the pair, who were arrested in July in Sweden, had both "expressed joy over the deeds."

The men have denied involvement and said they would appeal. A life sentence in Sweden generally means a minimum of 20-25 years in prison.

Al-Amin, who has been jailed since July, will begin serving his life sentence immediately. The court also ordered the imprisonment of al-Mandlawi, who had been released after questioning because he used a wheelchair following a gunshot wound to the head.

Al-Mandlawi's lawyer, Lars Salkola, said he was not satisfied with the verdict especially as he can only discuss it with his client's relatives because al-Mandlawi is unable to communicate with him because of the brain injury.

In line with international practice, Swedish courts may try certain crimes committed abroad if the suspects live or are apprehended in Sweden.