Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 - Sweden

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 30 May 2013
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 - Sweden, 30 May 2013, available at: [accessed 16 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: Violent Islamist extremists in Sweden and abroad have increasingly looked to Sweden as a target for attacks. Perceived insults to Islam and Sweden's military presence in Afghanistan have, as previously, been used as motives. Individuals within violent extremist groups in Sweden have continued to have contacts with foreign terrorist networks. The contacts include financial and logistical support as well as the recruitment of individuals to travel to conflict areas to attend terrorism-related training and combat. In previous years, Somalia and Pakistan were well established destinations for travelers from Sweden, but in the past year, Yemen and Syria became increasingly popular. Authorities estimated that at least 10 individuals left Sweden for Syria and some of these individuals are frequently using social media to circulate photos and recruitment videos that clearly are targeting a Swedish audience. The travelers who remain abroad and keep in touch with actors in Sweden, as well as returnees who stay in contact with foreign terrorist networks, continued to pose a potential threat to Sweden according to Swedish authorities.

The National Threat Advisory level in Sweden has remained "elevated" since it was first raised in October 2010, due to sustained terrorist-related activities with a connection to Sweden.

On February 14, the government released an updated version of its national counterterrorism strategy. This is the first revision Sweden has done since the original strategy was announced in 2008.

A Swedish citizen who was kidnapped by al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), together with two other Westerners when visiting Mali in November 2011, remained in AQIM's custody at year's end.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: On November 28, the Swedish Parliament approved the government's bill on changing the current legislation to allow the Swedish Security Service and the National Bureau of Investigation to order specific signal intelligence from the Swedish Radio Defense Establishment. The required legislative changes were scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2013.

Resolution and continuation of cases from 2010 and 2011:

  • Swedish citizen Paul Mardirossian, who was arrested in Panama City in April 2011 for allegedly having agreed to provide weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in exchange for cocaine, pled guilty in U.S. court to charges for conspiracy to engage in narco-terrorism, conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, and money laundering.

  • The three men who were arrested and charged for "preparation to murdering" Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks in September 2011, were acquitted of the attempted murder charges by the district court, which was affirmed on appeal. In the end, the court fined all three for being in possession of knives in public.

  • A pre-investigation related to the December 11, 2010 suicide bombing carried out by Taimour Abdulwahab in Stockholm was still being conducted in 2012 by the prosecutor for national security cases. Authorities were investigating whether the perpetrator acted alone.

  • On June 4, the four men from Sweden who were arrested in Copenhagen in December 2010 for planning a terrorist attack on Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, were each sentenced to 12 years in prison.

  • On August 27, the case in Glasgow, where Nasserdine Menni, among other things, was tried for providing funds to Taimour Abdulwahab in 2010, was concluded and Menni was sentenced to seven years in prison for terrorist financing.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Sweden has been a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) since 1990, but is not a member of any of the regional FATF-style bodies. Sweden provided its latest Mutual Evaluation Report to the FATF in October. For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:

Regional and International Cooperation: Sweden continued to contribute to counterterrorism capacity-building projects through its development aid work carried out by the Swedish International Development Agency, and also via funding to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime-Terrorism Prevention Branch and the OSCE. Sweden also supported the EU's work with capacity-building projects in prioritized countries and regions such as Pakistan, Yemen, the Horn of Africa, Maghreb, and the Sahel. Sweden provided trainers to the EU's Training Mission to assist with the training of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government security forces. Sweden was the largest donor to the UN's Counter-Terrorism International Task Force (CTITF), with special focus on the CTITF workgroup that works on strengthening human rights in counterterrorism work.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: On March 22, the Government of Sweden hosted a conference on Sweden's national action plan to safeguard democracy against violence-promoting extremism. Since the Swedish government announced its first action plan to counter violent extremism in December 2011, several projects have been initiated as part of the implementation process. An expert group has been established and will conduct a study on how work to prevent violent extremism can be carried out more efficiently. Funds have been distributed to organizations that provide individuals with assistance in leaving violent extremist organizations. The National Media Council is conducting a study on how youth are using the internet and how they are influenced by what they read. The Swedish National Defense College was drafting a report on foreign fighters that will include suggestions on preventive measures.

Under the auspices of the EU's Community Policing Preventing Radicalization and Terrorism (COPPRA) project, the Swedish National Police continued to work to increase knowledge to detect radicalization and added sessions on the topic on the curricula for National Police Academy students. The education material from COPPRA that was translated into Swedish has been used during training sessions to educate police officers who now will "train the trainers" for a wider distribution throughout Sweden.

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