Leaving gangs is hard process: Copenhagen exit programme

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Leaving gangs is hard process: Copenhagen exit programme
Tributes to reformed gang leader Nedim Yasar in Copenhagen on Thursday November 22nd, three days after he was fatally shot. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

A representative of a programme run by Copenhagen Municipality for people who want to leave a life of crime has commented after the fatal shooting of a former gang leader.


Nedim Yasar, a 31-year-old former gang member who worked as a radio show host and mentor for young people, was killed this week.

The potential effect of Yasar’s death on others who want to leave gangs is difficult to predict, according to Dea Seidenfaden, who leads the municipality’s Unit for Preventative Response against Crime (Enheden for kriminalpræventive indsatser).

“We don’t expect it to have a great impact in a general sense,” Seidenfaden told Ritzau via a written comment.

“Of course, it will provoke some thought amongst those who are going through exit processes and subsequently wish to be open about their stories, for example in the press,” she added.

“It’s impossible to say whether this will frighten people away from going through exit,” Seidenfaden said.

Yasar, who left a Copenhagen-based criminal gang in 2012, worked on Radio24syv’s programme ‘Politiradio’ and as a mentor for young people and was about to release his memoir ‘Rødder’ (Roots), written in collaboration with journalist and author Marie Louise Toksvig.

He was shot around 7:30pm on Monday evening on the Hejrevej road in the Nordvest neighbourhood of Copenhagen after leaving a launch event for the book, which was published on Tuesday – the day Yasar’s death from his injuries was confirmed by police.

READ ALSO: Reformed gang member shot dead in Copenhagen after book launch

A number of Danish politicians reacted angrily to the news that Yasar had been killed, particularly given its connection to his decision to quit organised crime.

“Incomprehensible that a man who had left a life of crime behind him became a victim of it. Nedim had found another way and was passionate about getting others to follow him. May he be successful, in spite of his untimely death. RIP,” Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) leader Morten Østergaard wrote on Twitter.

Seidenfaden said that it was difficult to make general statements about the difficulty or risk associated with leaving a gang.

“Leaving a gang is not easy, it is a long and hard process in which many significant choices must be made before, during and after an exit,” she told Ritzau.

“It is a sometimes-risky process which must be managed by individual case. So you cannot say anything general about the risk of reprisals,” she wrote. 


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