Sweden calls on Iraqi diplomat to protest death penalty reportedly imposed on two Swedes

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Sweden’s Foreign Ministry said officials on Friday summoned Iraq’s chargé d’affaires to protest death sentences handed down against Sweden in Iraq.

Swedish media reported in recent days that two Swedes have been sentenced to death in Iraq after being convicted of killing a member of a criminal gang there. On Friday, Swedish news agency TT quoted the Foreign Ministry in confirming from Stockholm that at least one person with a Swedish passport had been given a death sentence.

“We condemn the use of the death penalty. We are against it always, everywhere and regardless of the circumstances,” Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said in a statement.

He said officials conveyed Swedish protests at the meeting and demanded that the sentences not be implemented.

TT reported that two more Swedes have been arrested for alleged involvement in the murder of a criminal in Iraq.

The murder earlier this year is believed to be linked to an internal turf war between two Swedish groups that has resulted in numerous murders and attempted murders, some of which took place outside Sweden. The Foxtrot network and its rival Rumba have been locked in deadly feuds for years.

Sweden has been struggling with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out attacks. Swedish police have recorded 109 shootings so far this year, including 14 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 injured in a total of 363 shootings.

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