Sweden summons Iraqi diplomat to protest death penalties reportedly handed to 2 Swedes

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Sweden’s Foreign Ministry said officials summoned the Iraqi chargé d’affaires Friday to protest against death sentences handed down to Swedes 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 criminal gang there. On Friday, Sweden’s news agency TT cited the foreign ministry in Stockholm’s confirmation that at least one person with a Swedish passport has received a death sentence.

“We condemn the use of the death penalty. We oppose it always, everywhere and regardless of the circumstances,” Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said in a statement.

He said officials conveyed Sweden’s protests at the meeting and demanded that the sentences not be enforced.

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

The killing earlier this year is believed to be linked to an internal gang war between two Swedish groups that has resulted in numerous killings and attempted murders, some occurring outside Sweden. The Foxtrot network and its rival, Rumba, have for years been involved in deadly feuds.

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

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