Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2018, 10:32 GMT

Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Sweden

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 31 July 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Sweden, 31 July 2012, available at: [accessed 22 January 2018]
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: During the past few years, terrorism networks have showed an increased interest in carrying out attacks in Sweden. According to violent extremist groups, Sweden's military presence in Afghanistan and Swedish artist Lars Vilks' cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed continued to make Sweden a potential target. Authorities estimated that there were about 20 individuals from Sweden in terrorism training camps or fighting abroad, most commonly in Somalia but also in Pakistan. Conflict zones around the world remained one of the main sources of inspiration for violent extremist groups in Sweden. The National Threat Advisory level in Sweden remained "elevated" and has stayed at that level since it was first raised in October 2010.

On November 25, a Swedish citizen visiting Mali was kidnapped together with two other Westerners. Al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the act in a communiqué, and the man remained their captive at year's end.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: In December, most Swedish political parties agreed on a formula for legislation to allow the Swedish Security Service (SAPO) renewed access to intelligence from the Swedish National Defense Radio Agency for the first time since 2009.


  • On April 27, Swedish citizen Paul Mardirossian was arrested in Panama City for allegedly having agreed to provide military-grade weapons to Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia members in exchange for cocaine. Mardirossian was surrendered to the United States on May 6, and was facing 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.

  • On September 10, four men were arrested for preparation to commit an act of terrorism in Goteborg, Sweden's second largest city. However, soon after the arrests, one of the men was released and the charges against the remaining three were revised to "preparation for murder." The chargers were revised because the plot was aimed at one person and not against a population or part of a population, as required by Swedish terrorism legislation. The trial against the men began on December 20.

  • On December 29, 2010, five individuals were arrested (four in Denmark and one in Sweden) for conspiracy to commit terrorist crimes when planning to attack the newspaper Jyllands-Posten in Denmark. Four of the five individuals were Swedish citizens or residents. The man who was arrested in Sweden was eventually extradited to Denmark in April, and the Swedish authorities have closed the domestic case. Danish authorities are scheduled to try the case in 2012.

Resolution and continuation of cases from 2010:

  • On December 8, 2010, Goteborg District Court convicted two Swedish citizens of conspiracy to commit terrorist crimes and sentenced both men to four years imprisonment. The defendants appealed their sentences and were later released and their convictions were overturned by the Swedish Court of Appeal on March 2.

  • The prosecutor for national security cases continued conducting a pre-investigation related to the December 11, 2010 suicide bombing carried out by Taimour Abdulwahab in Stockholm. Though the perpetrator died, the authorities were still investigating some of the circumstances to try to determine whether the perpetrator acted alone. Among other leads, the prosecutor was looking into the trips the suicide bomber undertook to Syria and Iraq. There was also an ongoing investigation connected to this case in Glasgow, Scotland, where a man was being tried for terrorist financing in connection with money wired to Abdulwahab.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Sweden is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and in its 2010 Mutual Evaluation Report, FATF recognized that Sweden had made significant progress.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 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 as well as via funding to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime-Terrorism Prevention Branch and the Office of Security and Cooperation in Europe. Sweden also supported the European Union's (EU) work with capacity building projects in prioritized countries and regions such as Afghanistan/Pakistan, Yemen, the Horn of Africa, the Maghreb, and the Sahel. Sweden provided trainers to the EU Training Mission to assist with the training of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government security forces. Sweden gave direct funds to the UN's Counterterrorism International Task Force (CTITF), with most Swedish funds going to the CTITF workgroup that focuses on strengthening human rights.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: In March, the Swedish government hosted a conference on "National Action Plans against Political and Religious Extremism and Preventive Work at the Local Level." On December 9, the Government released its first ever Preventing Violent Extremism plan, the "Action Plan to Safeguard Democracy against Violent Extremism." The plan was based on government-commissioned studies on extremism in Sweden from the past three years and put equal focus on left wing, right wing, and Muslim extremists. The Swedish government has allocated U.S. $9 million for the plan's implementation through 2014.

The action plan has six overarching aims, to:

  • strengthen awareness of democratic values;

  • increase knowledge about violent extremism;

  • strengthen the structures for cooperation;

  • prevent individuals from joining violent extremist groups and supporting exit strategies;

  • counter the breeding grounds for ideologically motivated violence; and

  • deepen international cooperation.

The Swedish National Police initiated a project to increase knowledge about and enhance work methods to detect radicalization. The project is partially connected to and financed by the EU's Community Policing, Preventing Radicalization, and Terrorism group, which has created an education package on radicalization for police officers. The education material has been translated into Swedish and training sessions to educate police officers will be carried out throughout Sweden.

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