Police confirm searching mosque in Gothenburg

Sweden’s National Security Service, Säpo, has confirmed it raided a mosque in Bellevue, Gothenburg, with the help of local police, on Thursday.

Police confirm searching mosque in Gothenburg
Art gallery Röda Sten in Gothenburg

A search warrant of the mosque’s offices was requested by Agnetha Hilding Qvarnström, the deputy chief prosecutor of the Prosecution Office for National Security, in relation to the investigation into a suspected terror plot against the Röda Sten (Red Rock) art gallery last weekend

The charge was changed earlier last week to conspiring to murder and three of the four suspects were subsequently arrested.

Säpo’s press secretary Sirpa Franzen, would not comment further on the raid.

“However, we regret that we sometimes have to go into buildings with a religious connection. It has been done with the utmost respect and consideration to the congregation,” Franzen told local news Göteborgstidningen (GT).

According to reports, Säpo seized a computer belonging to a religious leader at the mosque to find evidence of the crimes against the gallery.

“It is important to us that we can dismiss or strengthen evidence concerning serious crimes,” Franzen told the GT.

The Bellevue mosque had become a place of interest after visits from several controversial religious leaders.

“Searches are done in an investigation to locate evidence. Anything that has to do with coercion is strictly confidential. It is not forbidden to search the office premises of a mosque,” said Qvarnström, who would not elaborate on the reason for the search and what evidence was gathered.

During Gothenburg’s Art Biennial last week, police evacuated the Röda Sten gallery for unknown reasons. A large number of internationally acclaimed artists participate in the arts festival, which draws a large number of viewers.

Police did not disclose any further information regarding the incident.

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Prosecutor calls for Oslo mosque shooter to be jailed for 21 years

A prosecutor in Norway has called for the man behind last year's failed mosque shooting to be sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum sentence possible, arguing that he was an "extremely dangerous person".

Flowers lain outside the Baerum mosque last August. Photo: Orn e. Borgen / NTB Scanpix / AFP
Philip Manshaus, 22, killed his 17-year-old stepsister Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen at their home in Oslo on August 10 last year.
He then entered the Al-Noor Mosque in Bærum and opened fire, before being quickly overpowered by two elderly members of the congregation. 
Prosector Johan Øverberg said that he could see no mitigating circumstances which might point to a lesser sentence for Manshaus, whose only regret during the trial was that he had not killed more people. 
“He showed no mercy,” he said of the murder of Ihle-Hansen. “This was a simple execution of his stepsister from childhood. Johanne was defenceless. It was a cynical and deliberate murder. He is saying that he can decide who deserves to live, and who deserves to die.” 
Øverberg said that the failure of the mosque attack did not mean it should be treated less seriously that a successful attack, such as that carried out by Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand. 
“It may have been…a clumsy and unsuccessful terrorist attack, with a young person simply disarmed by older men,” Øverberg said. 
“But although he may have made some mistakes along the way, he was determined to take as many lives as possible. He had enough ammunition to kill as many people as Tarrant. There is no basis for questioning the severity of the attack.” 
Øverberg agreed with the verdict of court psychiatrists that Manshaus was not psychotic, and had instead been radicalized over a two-year period.
Manhaus has also maintained throughout the trial that he is criminally accountable. “I was afraid that the opinions I had could be defined as a personality disorder,” he told the court.