Sweden’s parliament ratifies new anti-terrorism law

Sweden’s parliament ratifies new anti-terrorism law

Law was one of Türkiye's main requests to approve Nordic country's NATO membership and will go into effect on June 1

STOCKHOLM (AA) - Sweden’s parliament approved a new anti-terrorism law Wednesday, which is seen as an important step in getting Türkiye to approve the Nordic country’s membership in NATO.

The bill was passed in a 268-34 vote with 47 lawmakers absent. It was opposed by the Left Party and the Green Party.

The legislation aims to criminalize membership in terrorist organizations in the country.

People who participate in terrorist activities or cooperate with terrorist organizations will be sentenced to up to four years in prison.

According to the law, this includes those who participate in activities with the intent to support, strengthen or encourage a terrorist organization.

If there are aggravating reasons, the penalty for these crimes will be a minimum of two years, which can be increased to a maximum of eight years for crimes deemed serious.

Those who are involved in crimes such as the supply of weapons, ammunition, flammable and explosive materials, transportation support and renting land and property to a terrorist organization can be sentenced to up to four years in prison.

If there are aggravating reasons for these crimes, prison sentences ranging from 1.5 to 7 years will be imposed.

The law gives authorities much broader powers to detain and prosecute people who finance or otherwise support terrorist organizations.

It will enter into force on June 1.

- Sweden's bid to join NATO

After the Russia-Ukraine war began in February last year, Finland and Sweden decided to abandon their decades-long military non-alignment policies and apply for NATO membership.

However, Türkiye, a NATO member for over 70 years, asked the two Nordic countries to take concrete action against terrorist groups such as the PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in order for them to join the alliance.

In June last year, Finland and Sweden signed a memorandum with Türkiye to address Ankara’s security concerns, and senior diplomats and officials from the three countries held various meetings to discuss the implementation of a trilateral agreement.

In March, the Turkish government said it would approve the process of Finland's NATO membership in parliament, adding that Finland had done what was necessary for the membership, whereas Sweden still had work to do.

On March 31, the Turkish parliament approved Finland's bid to join NATO, which showed Türkiye's support for NATO's open-door policy.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US and the European Union — has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

*Writing by Aysu Bicer

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