Knife threat tied to SDL chief

Swedish police seek pre-trial detention for the leader of the Swedish Defence League, Kamil Ryba. Ryba is under investigation for threats.

Øyvind Strømmen

Last Thursday a suspicious package was delivered to the reception desk of the Swedish local newspaper GT, based in Gothenburg. The offices of the newspaper and neighbouring offices were evacuated, and parts of Kungstorget – a central square in the city – were sealed off while police bomb technicians examined and later destroyed the package.

The 29-year-old Kamil Ryba, leader of the extremist right-wing Swedish Defence League, soon wrote on Twitter that he had handed in the package. On his Twitter profile, he also posted pictures of the contents of the package: a knife in Gothic style and what he called a “Qu’ran”. The latter picture does not actually show a Qu’ran, but rather a copy of the 14th-century work Reliance of the Traveller.

Ryba is also being investigated in connection with an earlier episode. In December, after the Swedish newspaper Expressen – which owns GT – ran an exposé of anonymous commenters on the radical right-wing website Avpixlat, he went to GT’s offices and demanded to speak with the editor-in-chief of both newspapers, Thomas Mattsson. After being told that Mattsson was in Stockholm, Ryba allegedly stated that the newspaper was run by “communists” and said that he would “return with a knife, if you continue to write”.

Ryba, a Polish citizen, is the leader of the minuscule Swedish Defence League, inspired by the English Defence League. The organization is active mostly on the Internet. In the past, Ryba has also worked in Norway and he has had close contacts with a number of central members of Norway’s equivalent of the SDL, the Norwegian Defence League, a group whose size is equally negligible. In summer 2012, he addressed an audience of less than 30 when the NDL held a demonstration in the coastal town of Stavanger, Norway, stating that he was happy to be there “together with the Norwegian people in the battle against Islam”.

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About Øyvind Strømmen

Øyvind Strømmen is a Norwegian freelance journalist, author and managing editor of Hate Speech International. He has written extensively on the extreme right and other forms of extremism since 2007, and has published the Norwegian-language books Det mørke nettet (2011) and Den sorte tråden (2013), the first of which is also translated into Swedish, Finnish and French.
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