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Sweden stabbing suspect remanded in custody

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Carina Lennquist, Deputy Regional Police Chief, gives an interview following a press conference at the city hall in Vetlanda on March 4, 2021, one day after a stabbing attack. – Three people are in life-threatening condition after a stabbing attack on March 3, 2021 that injured eight in the southern Swedish city of Vetlanda. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP)

A 22-year-old Afghan man was remanded in custody in Sweden on Friday after he was accused of stabbing seven people earlier in the week, the district court said.

The man was arrested after the attack on Wednesday afternoon in the quiet town of Vetlanda in the south of Sweden, home to some 13,000 people.

“He was remanded in custody, suspected of seven counts of attempted murder on March 3 in Vetlanda,” judge Anna Sjoman told AFP.

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She said the court determined he was at risk of fleeing, which could inhibit the investigation or increase the risk of further crimes.

The suspect was treated in hospital after being shot in the leg by police during the initial arrest but appeared in court for the hearing on Friday.

According to several media reports, the man, who denied the crime through his lawyer, was agitated during the hearing and shouted that he “hadn’t done anything”.

Prosecutors will need to decide on whether to press charges against the man by March 19.

Police have said the suspect has an Afghan citizenship and that the case is being investigated as attempted murder, but they are also looking into whether the young suspect had a “potential terror motive”.

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Swedish media outlets also reported that the man had arrived in Sweden in 2016 and was awaiting a decision on an extension to his residence permit.

Details of the man’s struggles with mental health have also emerged.

“As I understood it he had some psychological problems. Honestly, this guy wasn’t really normal,” an acquaintance of the suspect told newspaper Aftonbladet.

The newspaper also reported that the suspect had spoken about having psychiatric problems himself in an interview with police when he was suspected of a minor narcotics offence a few years earlier.

All the victims were men, with three of them receiving life-threatening injuries, according to health authorities, but on Thursday they were all reported to be in stable condition.

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In this article:
Carina Lennquistsweden
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