Swedish prosecutors appeal decision not to deport Gazan who firebombed synagogue

Judge previously ruled that Palestinian immigrant cannot be returned to West Bank because anti-Semitic nature of attack could put him in danger from Israel

Police arrive after a synagogue was attacked in a failed arson attempt in Gothenburg, Sweden, on December 9, 2017. (ADAM IHSE/AFP)
Police arrive after a synagogue was attacked in a failed arson attempt in Gothenburg, Sweden, on December 9, 2017. (ADAM IHSE/AFP)

Swedish prosecutors appealed to their country’s Supreme Court against a lower tribunal’s decision not to deport a Palestinian immigrant who firebombed a synagogue.

The unusual appeal announced Thursday by the Public Prosecutor’s Office is of a June court decision not to deport Gaza-born Feras Alnadim, who attacked a synagogue in Gothenburg in December with two accomplices. The appeal follows vocal protests of the trial by Israel and the World Jewish Congress.

Last month, a Swedish appeals court overturned a criminal tribunal’s ruling from June stating that Alnadim would be deported at the end of his two-year prison term. The firebombing, he and his accomplices said, was payback for President Donald Trump’s decision to have the United States recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Since Alnadim committed a crime that “could be perceived as a threat to other Jews,” and Israel “might be interested in the matter,” the appeals court ruled that one “cannot safeguard the man’s fundamental human rights if he is deported to Palestine,” the judge wrote in his opinion.

Gothenburg Synagogue (Gumisza / Wikipedia)

The Public Prosecutor’s Office decided to appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court because “there is no reason to assume that the man would be subjected to death penalty, torture or other inhuman treatment upon return to Palestine,” the office wrote in a statement Thursday.

Aron Verstandig, president of the Council of Swedish Jewish Communities, in a statement on Facebook called the prosecutors’ call to appeal an “important decision.” He said the community expects the Supreme Court to order Alnadim’s deportation.

A few days after Trump recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital last December, a dozen people threw multiple burning objects at the synagogue in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city.

Some 20 Jewish teens participating in a celebration briefly took shelter in a cellar during the attack, but no one was injured, and minor damage to the building was caused.

The attack, which was classified as a hate crime, was caught on surveillance cameras, leading to the arrests of Alnadim as well as a Palestinian and Syrian immigrants. The other perpetrators reportedly held Swedish residency permits, and subsequently were not ordered deported by the court.

There are around 20,000 Jews living in Sweden, according to the Official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities. The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention says there have been between 150 and 280 anti-Semitic acts, including threats, insults and violence, each year in the past decade.

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