Six go on trial in Sweden terrorism case

One of the suspects is also believed to have been in contact with Rakhmat Akilov, above, a radicalized Uzbek asylum seeker who mowed down pedestrians in Stockholm in April 2017, killing five people. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2019
0

Six go on trial in Sweden terrorism case

  • The prosecution claims that the six men sent funds to Daesh to finance its terrorism operations
  • One of the suspects is also believed to have been in contact with radicalized asylum seeker Rakhmat Akilov

STOCKHOLM: Six Uzbek and Kyrgyz nationals living in Sweden went on trial in Stockholm on Monday accused of financing terrorism, three of them also charged with planning a terror attack.
“If the terrorist crime had been carried out, it could have seriously hurt Sweden,” the prosecution said in its charge sheet.
The first day of the trial focused on the prosecution’s claim that the six men sent funds to Daesh to finance its terrorism operations.
The prosecution argued that one of the men, 34-year-old Akromion Ergashev of Uzbekistan, sent almost 18,000 kronor ($2,000) to a middleman in Turkey, who in turn sent it to two Daesh supporters in Syria.
The prosecution presented chats on encrypted mobile phone apps and account statements as evidence.
The other five suspects were identified in court documents as Uzbek nationals Bakhtior Umarov, 30, Gulom Tadjiyev, 39, Shoahmad Mahmudov, 24, and David Idrisson, 46, and 39-year-old Kyrgyz national Atabek Abdullayev.
Abdullayev, Idrisson and Umarov are also accused of planning a terror attack in Sweden.
The prosecution believes they acquired large amounts of chemicals to make explosives, as well as gas masks, walkie-talkies and other military materials as part of their plot.
Photographs of crowded locations in Stockholm were found in some of the suspects’ phones, suggesting they may have been possible targets, according to the prosecution.
During a police raid in Stromsund, 600 kilometers north of Stockholm, in late April, neighbors told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper they saw police removing about 15 large plastic chemical containers from a shed on an empty property.
One of the suspects is also believed to have been in contact with Rakhmat Akilov, a radicalized Uzbek asylum seeker who mowed down pedestrians in Stockholm with a stolen truck in April 2017, killing five people.
Akilov was sentenced to life in prison in June 2018.
All six reject all of the charges against them.
The trial is taking place at a special high-security Stockholm courtroom, with the defendants sitting behind a bulletproof glass wall.


Voting closing in race to become UK’s new prime minister

Updated 22 July 2019
0

Voting closing in race to become UK’s new prime minister

  • Members of the governing Conservative Party had until 5 p.m. (1600 GMT) to return postal ballots in the contest between Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to lead the party

LONDON: Voting was closing Monday in the race to become Britain’s next prime minister, as critics of likely winner Boris Johnson condemned his vow to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a divorce deal.
Members of the governing Conservative Party had until 5 p.m. (1600 GMT) to return postal ballots in the contest between Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to lead the party.
The winner will be announced Tuesday, and will take over as the nation’s leader from Prime Minister Theresa May the following day.
Johnson, a populist former mayor of London, is the strong favorite.
Several members of May’s government have said they will resign before they can be fired by Johnson over their opposition to his threat to go through with a no-deal Brexit if he can’t secure a renegotiated settlement with the EU.
Most economists say quitting the 28-nation bloc without a deal would cause Britain economic turmoil. The UK’s official economic watchdog has forecast that a no-deal Brexit would trigger a recession, with the pound plummeting in value, borrowing soaring by 30 billion pounds ($37 billion) and the economy shrinking 2% in a year.
Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday that a no-deal Brexit would be “an act of economic self-harm that runs wholly counter to the national interest.”
EU leaders insist they won’t reopen the 585-page withdrawal agreement they made with May’s government, which has been repeatedly rejected by Britain’s Parliament.
Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan quit Monday, lamenting in his resignation letter that “we have had to spend every day working beneath the dark cloud of Brexit.”
Other government ministers, including Treasury chief Philip Hammond, are set to resign on Wednesday.
The new prime minister will preside over a House of Commons in which most members oppose leaving the EU without a deal, and where the Conservative Party lacks an overall majority.
Opposition parties are preparing for an early election which could be triggered if the government loses a no-confidence vote in the coming months.
The centrist Liberal Democrats, who have seen a surge in support thanks to their strongly anti-Brexit stance, were set to declare the winner of their own leadership contest on Monday.