Sweden holds terror suspects on behalf of UK-report
Although the details remain undisclosed, Swedish newspapers have revealed that the June 8th raid was part of a comprehensive British investigation that started as early as last fall. On September 23, 2005 an international warrant request was made to the Swedish authorities and subsequently approved by the Swedish courts. From the moment the legalities were settled, Swedish Security Police have cracked down on individuals in Gothenburg and Stockholm and most recently Malmo – Sweden?s three largest cities. The suspects? homes have been searched and their computers and cell phones seized. The material was later turned over to British authorities for a scrupulous examination. In the case of Malmo one of the five detainees was already serving time in Malmo?s Kirseberg jail and one of the individuals was a woman. Both Swedish and British counter-terrorism officials are now interrogating all five suspects. Malmo is known for its large Muslim minority population and is frequently featured in the Swedish news due to its chronic problems. The issues include some of the same matters many major European cities are facing in its troubled suburbs: high unemployment, high crime rates, and lack of social integration of immigrant communities with the rest of the nation. Sweden is not dissimilar to other European countries in that the governments have failed to properly assimilate their new citizens into their language, culture, laws and way of life . The repercussions of the government’s inactions have begun to manifest themselves through the open rebellion and radicalization of second and third generation immigrants . As TRC has noted in the past, Sweden represents an unchallenged playing field for terrorists and sympathizers in which to maneuver . Sweden has one of the more lenient judicial systems in Europe when it comes to dealing with extremists and the Swedish government has in the past been slow in responding to the emerging threat . However, this seems to be changing. The Swedish counter-terrorism unit is stepping up their efforts and currently has several individuals under surveillance as they seek to unveil and disrupt terrorist plots within their borders. Sweden must also be placed into a regional context when analyzing and dealing with emerging terrorism threats since all four Scandinavian nations? share particularly exposed borders. Neighboring Denmark and Norway are experiencing an augment in radical activities as well, especially in Denmark after the infamous Mohammad caricatures (WAR Report and Intel Report). The Swedish Security Police have now increased their collaborative efforts with other European counter-terror units with last week?s arrests a clear demonstration of a cautious and successful operation. Klas Bergenstrand, the head of the Swedish Security Service, recently stated that there are well-known extreme Muslim terror networks operating in Sweden, working on terror financing and the spreading of radical propaganda. In addition, he said, there are an unknown number of sympathizers and jihad-inspired individuals who are now being perceived as the primary threat since they cannot be easily traced. Even though an attack on Swedish soil remains improbable, ruling out the possibility would be na?ve. His statement seems to point to an increased awareness and recognition that Sweden is not immune to terrorist activities. This is undoubtedly encouraging progress as recent events such as the attack on the Iraqi election premises in Stockholm , have proved the contrary.