Sweden jails Kurd for financing terrorism after Turkey calls for crackdown
By Paul Kirby
Jul 6, 2023
A Swedish court has jailed a Kurdish man for four-and-a-half years for crimes including attempting to finance terrorism.
It is the first time Sweden’s updated terror laws have been used in a case involving the Kurdish militant PKK.
Turkey has long called on Stockholm to crack down on Kurdish separatists.
Sweden’s bid to join Nato has been delayed principally by Turkey’s demand that it extradites dozens of people it views as terrorists.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet the Swedish prime minister in Lithuania on Monday ahead of a Nato summit, where Sweden is hoping to be welcomed into the Western defensive alliance.
President Joe Biden told Sweden’s leader Ulf Kristersson this week that the US was “anxiously looking forward” to his country’s membership.
Addressing Stockholm district court on Thursday, Judge Mans Wigen was at pains to stress that Sweden’s bid to join Nato had had no impact on its decision.
Last month prosecutor Hans Ihrman stressed that the timing of the case was “pure coincidence”, even though Turkey had urged Sweden to use terror laws to target Kurds suspected of having links to PKK militants.
But the timing was not lost on commentators who pointed out that it sent a message to Ankara that Sweden was getting tough on the PKK, which launched an armed struggle against the Turkish state in 1984.
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the case was an example of how organised crime in Sweden was linked to terrorist organisations in Turkey.
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