The two people who were arrested by the SÄPO (Swedish Security Service) on Monday, are suspects of violations of the ”law for public provocation, recruitment and training for terrorist offenses”. It is the first time that the law is used since its introduction in 2010, according to several media.
– They are key figures in this game in Sweden, says terror expert Hans Brun.
Two people suspected of having recruited and trained terrorists to Syria and Iraq have been arrested in Örebro and Stockholm. Interior Minister Anders Ygeman (S) believes in more arrests.
SÄPO’s operational chief Anders Kassman explains that the reason why the law has not been used until now, is due to the difficulty of finding evidence.
That the law will now be tested in practice is positive, says terror expert Hans Brun.
– It’s perfectly fine to present a couple of cases in court and maybe get a few convictions so we get practice in this area and can begin to search out these recruiters more actively.
First came the SÄPO with information that a man had been arrested and detained in Örebro, suspected of terrorist recruitment.
– The basis for taking this action is obviously information that people have gone to Syria and Iraq, says Anders Kassman, head of operations at the SÄPO.
The 45-year-old man in Örebro was arrested along with his son. The son was released after a few hours, and is at the moment not a suspect anymore.
45-year-old, who is from Iraq, is since many years famous for his extreme views. He has been interrogated earlier by the SÄPO, but not prosecuted. The man has in private associations praised al-Qaeda and attempted to conduct recruitment there, rather than to the IS, which can be seen as a competitor.
The man has recently preached in a mosque in Eskilstuna, but had previously been active in a parish in Örebro.
The 45-year-old’s lawyer, Andreas Hahn, would not say how he stands to the arrest and charges.
– I can say that he denies the crime, but the way the investigation looks like right now, I have no authority to speak any further, says Mr Hahn.
Jamal Lamhamdi is the spokesperson for Örebro mosque, where the man previously had been active. He is upset that the mosque is now linked with terrorism.
– We are fighting hard against all of radicalization, and cooperate with all authorities. We would never allow someone to recruit here. We are Swedish and part of this society, it’s what happens here that is most important to us, he says.
He does not believe that the 45-year-old man would have recruited to terrorist groups, nor have any links to al-Qaeda. The 45-year-old had recently been asked to take a break from the mosque. Though it had nothing to do with radical views to do.
– There was some misunderstanding with other members, we do not want conflicts within the mosque. I have never noticed that he would have some radical views, we have known him since 2003, says Jamal Lamhamdi.
On Monday information was released that another person had been arrested, in the Stockholm area, on suspicion of ”training on terrorism.” The crackdowns was not connected to each other.
SÄPO has in the Örebro case seen links to mosques in Örebro and Eskilstuna, but stresses that the mosques are not linked to recruitment. They’ve only been availed by the recruiter because of the premises serving as gathering places for many people.
– There they’ve tried to identify people who are susceptible, says Anders Kassman.
Recruitment should also have taken place in, for example cafes.
Magnus Ranstorp, terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defence College, says there had not been any similar arrests in Sweden.
– This could be the start of more aggressive interventions, says Ranstorp, hoping that Monday’s actions may also have a deterrent effect.
Interior Minister Anders Ygeman (S) believes in more arrests and that Swedish terrorist criminals will end up ‘behind bars’. He looks forward to the report with proposals on tightenings of the law about the recruitment, organization, financing, training and terror travels, presented in about two weeks.
– There are a number of gaps to be filled. Today, for example, it’s prohibited to provide terrorist training, but it is not forbidden to receive it, says Ygeman.