Sweden to try migrants over synagogue firebomb attack

Three young migrants to be tried in Sweden for allegedly attacking synagogue in Gothenburg with firebombs last December.

Ben Ariel, Canada,

Police outside synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden
Police outside synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden
Reuters

Three young migrants are to be tried in Sweden for allegedly attacking a synagogue with firebombs last year, prosecutors and their lawyers said Friday, according to the AFP news agency.

The three suspects, a Syrian and two men of Palestinian Arab origin, were identified by the synagogue’s surveillance cameras and will appear before the Gothenburg district court on June 12 over aggravated arson. The three are aged between 19 and 24.

The prosecution argues the charges, which the accused deny, are aggravated by “the crime’s motive to violate an ethnic group because of its beliefs.”

The attack took place on December 9, 2017, several days after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. A dozen people threw multiple burning objects at the synagogue in Sweden’s second largest city of Gothenburg.

Some 20 youngsters participating in a celebration briefly took shelter in a cellar during the attack, but no one was injured.

A total of five people were arrested and two of them were later released due to lack of evidence.

Around the same time, in Malmo, participants of a protest rally against Israel chanted in Arabic about shooting Jews.

Edip Samuelsson, a lawyer representing the Syrian suspect, the oldest, said on Friday the investigation launched into the attack does not prove his client was at the premises.

Samuelsson said all evidence is based on surveillance footage which shows more than a dozen people he said are unrecognizable because of their covered faces.

“You wouldn’t even be able to recognize your own son,” he told AFP, adding his client is “an ordinary young man who works to provide for his family in Syria.”

The youngest defendant also insists he’s innocent, his lawyer told AFP.

Lindqvist acknowledged that the CCTV images “aren’t very clear,” but that they did help identify the suspects’ clothes. Other evidence is based on the alleged perpetrators’ phones and witness testimonies.

If found guilty, the suspects could be sentenced to a minimum of six years in prison followed by expulsion.

Sweden has a Jewish population of some 20,000. In 2014 and 2015, Sweden saw a total of 547 cases in which a hate crime targeting Jews was reported, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention, or BRA. Of those cases, a quarter were reported in the Scania region, whose capital is Malmo, where approximately 1,000 Jews live.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)


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