Prominent local politician held in revenge murder plot

Battal Batti, a prominent local Social Democratic politician from Sandvik in east central Sweden, was remanded in custody on Sunday on suspicions of plotting an attempted murder and interference in a judicial matter, according to local media.

Batti is being held for probable cause, which is a higher degree of suspicion.

He is suspected of having ordered his 26-year-old nephew to stab two men in early May in order to settle a dispute with another family, reports the Gefle Dagblad (GD) newspaper.

The suspicions against Batti came to light last Thursday during questioning in a district court where his nephew, along with two other of Batti’s relatives, have been charged with attempted murder.

At the conclusion of the hearing, chief prosecutor Mikael Hammarstrand decided that the politician should be arrested.

Batti denies any wrongdoing, but Hammarstrand said the politician’s behaviour during initial questioning contributed to the decision to keep him in custody.

“Battal Batti doesn’t give a good impression. He is unfocused and would rather talk about something other than what I want to talk about. He has difficulty explaining why a person so close to him would lie,” Hammarstrand said to GD.

Hammarstrand added that there may be technical evidence linking Batti to the crime which he feared the politician might destroy were he to remain free.

The prosecutor refused to elaborate on what the evidence might be, however.


Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden.