• Sweden edition
 
SWEDEN SAYS
Mixed reactions to Beltran verdict and interest rate rise

Mixed reactions to Beltran verdict and interest rate rise

Published: 15 Feb 2008 12:25 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Feb 2008 12:25 GMT+01:00

Swedes had their week interrupted by two decisions which set much of the country talking.

As reported by The Local on Tuesday, a court in Ystad delivered a guilty verdict in the much watched rape trial of a well-known opera star.

Tito Beltran was sentenced to two years in prison for a rape that occurred back in 1999, with testimony by two other Swedish celebrities playing a pivotal role in the case.

The verdict was controversial because Beltran was convicted without any physical evidence.

Legal expert Pelle Svensson used Expressen's ‘Page 4’ editorial to question the fairness of the verdict, calling the trial a "full blown witch hunt."

He pointed out that the multiple duties of the plaintiff's lawyer, Thomas Bodström, may have compromised his integrity in the case. Bodström, a former Minister of Justice, currently chairs the Riksdag's judiciary committee as well as the board of an organization working against sex crimes.

"Beltran has not received a fair trial because the power broker Bodström, chair of the judiciary committee, considered him a criminal, besides getting him convicted for an alleged crime," wrote Svensson.

According to Svensson, the court also failed in accepting a standard of evidence too low to ensure that "an innocent man isn't convicted."

Others hailed the verdict as a milestone in cases of violence against women, believing that Beltran's conviction would embolden other female victims to come forward.

On the eve of the verdict, Aftonbladet's Monica Gunne reminded readers that a previous case in which Beltran was freed on charges of molesting a 7-year-old had inspired the victim in the current case to come forward in the first place. She went on to explain that the trial's significance lay not in revealing the truth, but whether or not witness testimony would be sufficient for a conviction.

"The trial in Ystad isn't going to answer the question of what is true or not. The trial in Ystad will only tell us whether or not the evidence is enough," she wrote.

In reporting on the trial, Dagens Nyhter (DN) asked several legal experts their opinion on the case. Attorney Björn Hurtig saw the trial as a routine rape case that received an inordinate amount of media attention because it involved several celebrities.

"Otherwise evidence appears to have been evaluated much the same as it would in any other rape case. There are much more exceptional cases than this one," he said.

Criminal sentencing specialist Lena Holmqvist also clarified in DN that the criminal code doesn't place especially high demands for physical evidence in cases involving sexual intercourse.

Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) columnist Maria Abrahamsson, on the other hand, asked whether the court may have been affected by the intense media attention given to the celebrity trial. She pointed out that DNA-evidence led to a two year sentence for a man convicted in a more violent Stockholm rape case the same day as Beltran's conviction.

"The question must be asked if the Ystad district court has held itself coolly neutral to all the media attention when the court hands down a similarly harsh penalty in the Tito Beltran case. The judgment in clear and easy to read, yes. But it begs more questions than it answers," she wrote.

As Sweden came to grips with the significance of the Beltran case for the legal community, they were met with another surprising decision, this time from the financial community.

As The Local reported on Wednesday Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, raised its benchmark interest rate 0.25 percent to 4.25 percent. The move took experts and financial markets by surprise, with most expecting that the bank would keep rates unchanged in light of growing economic uncertainly around the globe.

Aftonbladet criticized the decision on economic grounds, citing several reasons why the bank should not have raised rates. According to the tabloid, the bank seems more concerned about inflation in the future rather than today's stagnating wages.

"The rate hike creates concern in a time when uncertainty is already too great. Perhaps it's true that the Riksbank governor Stefan Ingves and the other representatives in the bank's leadership yesterday fulfilled their assignment. But in this case it's an assignment that is so one-dimensional as it has developed into an impediment for the Swedish economy," wrote Aftonbladet.

DN is less critical of the Riksbank's economic justifications for raising interest rates. The paper admits that inflation rose in Sweden in 2007 and could rise further in the coming years. However, the paper also cites several signs that the Swedish economy will not ultimately escape the global financial downtown.

What bothers DN more, however, is the way the Riksbank communicates externally. The paper questions the bank's ability to send appropriate signals, asserting that it ends up causing an undue amount of turmoil in the markets.

"When markets are expecting rates to go up, the Riksbank takes no action. Then long thereafter, the bank starts to react, but by that time there is no one left who expects the move," writes DN.

DN calls the bank "out of phase with the times" and points out the costs of a Riksbank that doesn't send out clear signals.

"Blurred decisions are hardly in anyone's interests. They work against the ambitions for an open monetary policy. They create unhealthy swings in markets. And they make it harder for the Riksbank to gain the approval of Swedish society," said the paper.

In the end, DN suggests that the the Riksbank governor would be well served by hiring a new communications advisor.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Business & Money
American sales squeeze Ericsson profits
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg presents the third-quarter earnings report at the company's headquarters in Kista. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

American sales squeeze Ericsson profits

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson reported a decline in net profit in the third quarter despite an increase in sales, boosted by business in emerging markets. READ  

Interview
'Too many concerts feel the same'
Sofar hosts secret gigs in Swedish apartments. Photo: Sofar

'Too many concerts feel the same'

Kattis Bjork founded Stockholm's secret gig scene - Sofar - a year ago. The Local caught up with her as she prepared to celebrate the project's anniversary this weekend and revealed the concept will spread to other Swedish cities in 2015. READ  

Stockholm 'sub hunt'
Sweden calls off suspect submarine search
Ships are returning to shore in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden calls off suspect submarine search

The core search for a suspected foreign vessel in Swedish waters has been called off. The armed forces said they remained convinced foreign underwater activity had taken place but had not identified an intruder. READ  

Business & Money
US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks
Ed Carbaugh prepares to install parts on a truck engine on an assembly line at Volvo Trucks' powertrain manufacturing facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, March 2014. Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

US and Japan fuel surge for Volvo trucks

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. READ  

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery
Cigarettes and beer photo: Shutterstock

Inspectors attacked at rogue doc’s surgery

Inspectors who were sent to shut down a doctor’s surgery in Gothenburg were physically attacked and fled the premises to get help from the police. READ  

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water
A Swede loads a car with alcohol in northern Germany. File photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Police turn Swede’s vodka into water

Swedish police say they will pay a man 16,000 kronor ($2,200) in damages after much of the alcohol they confiscated from him was stolen, while many of the bottles they returned were filled with water. READ  

Diplomacy
US to get first female ambassador in Sweden
File photo: Athena Center for Leadership Studies

US to get first female ambassador in Sweden

The United States Embassy in Stockholm is set to get its first female ambassador after the White House announced it was nominating the Iranian-American ex-investment banker Azita Raji to take over from Mark Brzezinski. READ  

Neo-Nazi attacks
Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian
Police intervene after neo-Nazis attack an anti-Nazi rally in Kärrtorp, December 2013. Photo: Hampus Andersson/TT

Neo-Nazis cleared of knife attack on Nigerian

A Stockholm court has cleared three neo-Nazis of stabbing a Nigerian man in an unprovoked attack. But two of the men will face jail after they were convicted of racial agitation at a riot. READ  

Julian Assange
Assange court ruling expected on Monday
Julian Assange at Ecuador's embassy in the UK. Photo: Anthony Devlin

Assange court ruling expected on Monday

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can expect the next court ruling on his case to take place on Monday October 27th in Stockholm. READ  

Politics
Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at an EU summit in Brussels this week. Photo: TT

Sweden to get EU 'Christmas present'

Sweden is set to get 1.2 billion kronor ($168 million) back from the EU on December 1st, according to leaked EU documents which suggest that other European countries will have to make large top-up payments this year. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
Blog updates

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 

24 October

Is darkness weather? (Blogweiser) »

"I try very hard not to talk about the weather. This has come after a decade..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Get 20% off unique Swedish homeware
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
Gallery
People-watching: October 19th
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden: October 17th - 24th
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
What's on in Sweden: October 10th - 17th
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Society
My Swedish Career: A French fashionista in Sweden
Society
Swede's anti-bully Facebook tale goes viral
Society
Have you seen Sweden's viral subway cancer campaign?
National
Isis: Swedes linked to Turkish prisoner swap
National
Should Swedes be banned from buying sex abroad?
Gallery
Fredrik Reinfeldt's leaving presents
National
Five Swedish TV shows you shouldn't miss
Gallery
A tool belt, a casserole, and a book. Fredrik Reinfeldt's parliament gifts
TT
Lifestyle
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
TT
National
Sami reindeer herders win mine reprieve
Gallery
Property of the Week: Gamla Enskede
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

979
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN