(Stockholm) Sweden’s parliament on Wednesday passed a new law banning activities linked to extremist groups, strengthening its terrorism legislation, a key requirement for Turkey to approve Stockholm’s NATO bid.
The law, which criminalizes “participation in a terrorist organization”, is due to come into force on June 1.
In his presentation in February, Justice Minister Gunnar Strommer said it was a “significant expansion in scope compared to current legislation”.
Mere logistical support for a terrorist organization may be considered a crime under the new law, Strommer said.
In November, Sweden amended its constitution to allow this legislative change, as it was contrary to Swedish laws on freedom of association.
Sweden has passed tougher anti-terrorism laws since 2017, after an Uzbek asylum seeker who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group carried out a ramming truck attack on a Stockholm shopping street, killing five people.
A more radical fight against extremist groups is one of Ankara’s main requirements to approve the country’s candidacy for NATO, which requires the unanimity of all members of the Organization.
But while Finland joined NATO in April, Turkey still refuses to give Sweden the green light, accusing the country of being a haven for ‘terrorists’, especially members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. (PKK).
Pro-Kurdish demonstrations in Sweden, where PKK flags are common, are regularly denounced by Ankara.
However, Mr Strommer assured in February that “participation in a demonstration or meeting will not be punishable in itself”.