The ruling Wednesday by Court of Appeals for Western Sweden was on a motion filed by one of three men who in June were convicted of the attempted arson of a synagogue in Gothenburg in December, hours after locals marched in the southern city against the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The appellant, who was not named in the Swedish media, was sentenced in June to two years in prison and ordered to be deported after serving that term. But whereas the appeals court kept in place the conviction, it overturned the deportation order, the SVT broadcaster reported Wednesday.
Since the man committed a crime that “could be perceived as a threat to other Jews,” and that 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 broadcaster quoted the judge as writing in his opinion.
The three Arabs who were convicted of trying to torch the synagogue were part of a group of more than a dozen men who hurled firebombs at the building. Teens from the local Jewish community were attending a party inside the synagogue complex at the time.
Annika Rothstein, a Swedish Jew, tweeted a response to the court decision, saying, "So not only does the Swedish appeals court say that the state of Israel may somehow retaliate against the man but also that they would rather jeopardize the safety of Swedish Jews than those of the man who tried to kill them."
The other two assailants caught had Swedish residency permits, according to The Associated Press. The Palestinian man was on a visa for asylum-seekers.
The attack, which was classified as a hate crime, was caught on surveillance cameras, according to Aftonbladet. There was only minor damage to the building.
Following the attack, the Jewish teens waited for police and their parents in the synagogue basement for safety reasons.