SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Swedish court locks up Vetlanda knife attacker for life

A 22-year-old man has been sentenced to life in jail for attacking seven people in a stabbing spree in the Swedish town of Vetlanda.

Swedish court locks up Vetlanda knife attacker for life
Police officers investigating the knife attack in Vetlanda in March. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

On March 3rd, police received calls about attacks in central Vetlanda, a town of about 13,000 people in the south of Sweden.

Seven men aged 35 to 75 were wounded, and while none died four receiving life threatening injuries.

The accused, Tamim Sultani, had said during the trial that he only remembered three of the attacks, however “he didn’t question what the plaintiffs said of the chain of events”, the court said in a statement.

The man also described his struggle with mental health, and said that the attack had occurred during a particularly distressing period and was triggered by a stranger who denied the existence of god, which had caused him to return home to grab a knife.

None of the victims had any previous connection to the man and were picked seemingly at random, but the court noted in its judgement that he had shown some discrimination, for instance by not attacking a group of schoolgirls.

The trial was briefly paused in early July in order for an assessment of the man’s psychological health, but it found he had not “committed the charges under the influence of a severe psychiatric disorder”.

Despite not being able to fully discern whether he intended to kill the victims, the court found that he had been aware that his attack had the potential to kill them, so the court found him guilty of seven counts of attempted murder.

He was sentenced to pay damages to the victims and was given a life sentence.

A life sentence in Sweden technically has no end date, but after 10 years the prisoner can apply to have their sentence commuted to a timed prison sentence, which is often granted – meaning in practice a life sentence is on average 16 years, according to Sweden’s prison service.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CRIME

Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 

READ ALSO: 

More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

 
The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.” 
 
 
SHOW COMMENTS