Swedish court convicts man of supporting outlawed Kurdish PKK

A Swedish court has found a man guilty of attempting to finance the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in a ruling that could help end Turkey’s veto of Sweden’s application to join the NATO military alliance.

Ankara accuses Sweden of harbouring members of “militant” groups on its territory and says it must crack down on them before it can join NATO. The PKK, deemed a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union – to which Sweden belongs – and the United States, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984.The Stockholm district court sentenced Yahya Gungor, a 41-year-old Turkish Kurd, to four years and six months in prison for gun crime, attempted extortion and attempted funding of terrorism, the verdict showed.

Judge Mans Wigen said Gungor had tried to pressure a Kurdish businessman in Stockholm at gunpoint to pay money to the PKK.

“The blackmail attempt has taken place within the framework of an extensive fundraising activity that the PKK conducts in Europe, i.e. through extortion,” Wigen said in a statement.

The court also ruled that Gungor should be deported from Sweden after serving his sentence. Gungor’s lawyer said his client did not accept the charges and would appeal the verdict.

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