After one of the biggest gang-related trials Sweden has ever seen, two rappers and a former member of the country's national soccer team were among 26 people to receive prison sentences Wednesday. Chart-topping rapper Yasin Mahmoud, who was named Artist of the Year earlier this year at an event organized by public radio, was sentenced to 10 months for his role in the March 2020 kidnapping of a rival artist, the Local reports. Another rapper, Haval Khalil, received a 2.5-year sentence for his role in the plot. Prosecutors said Mahmoud was involved in planning the kidnapping but did not take part. The 23-year-old's lawyer says an appeal will be filed.
Prosecutors said the victim was beaten, robbed, and forced to pose for humiliating photos, which were released on social media after he refused to pay blackmail, Euronews reports. The soccer player, 24-year-old Ilika Jurkovic, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for crimes including aiding and abetting attempted murder. Authorites say the convictions have taken out the entire top layer of the Varbynatverket organized crime network, Aftonbladet reports. Gang leader Chihab Lamouri, who controlled the network from Spain, was sentenced to 17 years and 10 months for crimes including extortion and attempted murder, along with drug and weapon offenses. (Read more Sweden stories.)