Several Swedish drug smugglers sentenced to death in Iraq

A Swedish citizen has been sentenced to death in Iraq together with two Iraqi citizens for drug smuggling. The Swedish man’s lawyer, Thomas Olsson, believes according to SVT that the punishment is too harsh and has pointed out that the death penalty does not exist in Sweden. Alexander Atarodi, a Middle East expert, believes that the death sentence could be a way for Iraqi authorities to speak out against the increasing drug trafficking and send a strong signal. Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reacted to the verdict and summoned Iraq’s representative in Sweden to present a protest.

The Swedish man, who has been detained since April 2021, claims that he is innocent. He and the two other convicted have the opportunity to appeal the verdict within a month. According to Thomas Olsson, the evidence against his client is weak, and there is great concern about how the legal process has gone.

This is not the first time similar sentences have been issued; three other people were sentenced to death for drug offences in Iraq during the same month. The situation has led to a discussion about how countries deal with drug crimes and whether the death penalty is an effective or ethical method to combat this type of crime. In Sweden, the death penalty has long since been abolished, and cases like this create debate about international legal and ethical standards. Recently, Amnesty International called on the countries of the world to end the death penalty for drug-related crimes.

Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now working to provide consular assistance to the convicted Swede and to review the possibilities of influencing the verdict through diplomatic channels.

The Swedish war on drugs a fiasco?

Swedish drug crime is not only noticeable in Iraq but also in Nordic neighboring countries and smaller cities. Sweden is conducting one of the Western world’s most intense battles against drugs. Many criminologists believe that the problem is driven by economic gaps and social exclusion. At the same time, right-wing extremists claim that the solution lies in a police state and closed borders. The increase in smuggling and trafficking in narcotics creates major societal challenges both nationally and internationally.

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