Sweden eyes stronger terror laws after truck attack

NNA – After the Stockholm truck attack that killed four people and injured 15 others, Swedish Justice Minister Morgan Johansson has told AFP he is seeking to toughen the nation`s terrorism laws.
The suspected truck driver who mowed down shoppers in the attack, named in court documents as 39-year-old Uzbek national Rakhmat Akilov, had expressed an interest in jihadist organisations, according to police.
He had gone underground after his application for Swedish residency was rejected last year.
Q: How do you want to strengthen Sweden`s terrorism laws?
Morgan Johansson: “We have criminalised departures abroad linked to terrorism and widened the scope of (punishing) the financing of terrorism. There is a possibility to extend this further.
“It could mean being active in an organisation that dedicates itself to terrorism even if it`s not connected to a certain crime. In doing so we could target a wider circle and intervene earlier against potentially dangerous individuals.
“It might include a prison sentence… We`re looking at the legislation that exists in Norway which has a similar constitution as Sweden.”
Q: How can you stop people from going underground?
“We want to give the police the opportunity, without concrete suspicion of a crime, to go into workplaces to make sure that people who work there are in Sweden (legally).
“Today there must be suspicion of a crime… With the new rules, the police should be able to go into workplaces and make a risk assessment on whether people work there illegally.”
Q: How many people in Sweden have received a deportation order and then gone underground?
“It`s very difficult to know the exact number but in recent years the figures have been around 10,000 people per year who have received a deportation order but later not left Sweden, at least not to the Swedish Migration Board`s knowledge.
“Some have left the country without us knowing. Last year, the number of forced and voluntary expulsions increased as nearly 19,000 people left the country.”
Q: Why do you think Sweden was targeted?
“That`s difficult to say… The perpetrator can answer what motives he had.
“It`s difficult to speculate before we know the circumstances. If it was a lone wolf then it was his individual reason that determined it.
“If it was an organisation that stood behind it then this question becomes more relevant.” —AFP
========R.A.H.

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