Stockholm: A Swedish prosecutor on Tuesday filed
preliminary charges of plotting murder against four men
initially suspected of preparing a terrorist attack in the
country`s second largest city.
The men, aged 23 to 26 and of Somali and Iraqi origin,
were arrested in a sting in Goteborg late Saturday that also
involved the evacuation of an arts centre.
The arrests on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the
September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States spread
jitters across Sweden, which saw a suicide bomber blow himself
up on a pedestrian street in Stockholm in December.
Police have released little information about the case,
and it wasn`t immediately clear why prosecutor Agnetha Hilding
Qvarnstrom dropped the suspicions of terrorist activity today.
Prosecution spokeswoman Karin Rosander said the category
of the crime might change at a later stage.
"It is not unusual that when you get new information
during the course of an investigation the classification of a
crime changes," Rosander said.
She also pointed out that the burden of proof is greater
for terror crimes, with stricter requirements on proving
intent than for crimes such as murder.
Swedish authorities didn`t name the suspects, but court
documents show that they live in the Goteborg area. Three men
are of Somali origin and one was born in Iraq. One is a Somali
citizen and the rest are Swedish nationals.
Lawyer Bjorn Sjolander, who represents one of the
suspects, said his client denies committing any crime.
"He doesn`t know what the police are talking about at
all," Sjolander said.
Lawyers of the other three suspects didn`t immediately
The SAPO security service has said that Goteborg police
and a national police anti-terror unit were involved in the
Goteborg police said they had evacuated the Roda Sten
arts centre, located beneath the city`s landmark 930-meter
Alvsborg bridge, because of a threat deemed to pose a "serious
danger to life, health or substantial damage of property."
The six-lane bridge runs over Goteborg harbour connecting
the mainland to the island of Hisingen. It is a vital link
from the Norwegian capital, Oslo, to southern Sweden.