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Swedish rappers jailed on kidnapping charges in major organised crime trial

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By Matthew Holroyd with AFP
Rappers Yasin (L) and Haval (R) were both convicted by the Södertörn District Court.
Rappers Yasin (L) and Haval (R) were both convicted by the Södertörn District Court.   -   Copyright  Polismyndigheten
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Two Swedish rappers have been jailed for plotting to kidnap a rival musician, in a major trial against organised crime that received widespread national attention.

Yasin Mahamoud -- known by his stage name Yasin -- was accused of involvement in the planning of the kidnapping in March 2020.

The court heard how he had planned to meet the victim, a young rival rapper, at a recording studio, and then lure him into a car in central Stockholm to "harm his life or health" and blackmail him.

Prosecutors said that Yasin had "received and passed on information and gave orders and instructions" related to the kidnapping.

Yasin -- who had previously been convicted of carrying weapons in 2018 -- was included in the kidnapping plot when it was already at an advanced stage, the prosecution added.

The 23-year-old rapper was sentenced to 10 months in prison on Wednesday. He denies the charges and will appeal the decision, his lawyer told Swedish television.

Yasin has regularly topped music charts in Sweden in recent years and his songs are listened to by more than 750,000 people each month on Spotify.

Although the abduction plot was initially abandoned, other criminals carried out the kidnapping several weeks later without Yasin.

The victim was beaten, robbed, photographed in humiliating conditions, and blackmailed, according to the prosecution. Photos were later posted on social media when the victim refused to pay a blackmail fee.

Another rapper, Haval Khalil -- known as "Haval", was jailed for two and a half years for complicity in the kidnapping and robbery.

Most of the evidence involved in the case was based on discussions via the encrypted communication network EncroChat.

Yasin's trial was part of a larger case into the Vårbyn criminal network of 30 people, accused of various violent and drug trafficking offences.

On Wednesday, the leader of the group, Chihab Lamouri, was sentenced to 17 years and 10 months in prison, the Södertörn District Court said.

Meanwhile, Ilija Jurkovic, a former youth national team footballer, was given eleven years in prison.

Twenty-four others were sentenced for "serious crimes committed within the network or related to network crime in the spring of 2020."