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Swede jailed for desertion despite end of conscription

Published: 07 Sep 2010 18:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Sep 2010 18:40 GMT+02:00

A 20-year-old Swedish conscript has been convicted for desertion, even though compulsory military service ended in Sweden three months ago.

The man, who hails from Halland in western Sweden, dropped out of his mandatory military service last winter after serving for just a few days, the Hallandsposten newspaper reports.

The man was among the last crop of Swedes forced into service under the country’s conscription laws, which officially came to an end on June 1st, ending more than a century of compulsory military service in Sweden.

The centre-right government decided last year to end military service, which on average had lasted about 11 months, and move toward a professional military.

But life as a soldier, professional or otherwise, didn’t sit well with the 20-year-old Halland native.

According to the newspaper, the man quit the military because the setting reminded him of the death of a close relative, causing him to become depressed.

But the district court in Halmstad wasn’t sympathetic to the man’s reasons for deserting, sentencing him to two weeks in prison, despite pleas by the man’s attorney that the court refrain from handing out any punishment in the case.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:13 September 7, 2010 by Kaethar
Hmmm... I wonder why he joined then in the first place? And it was the screening that was compulsory. But if you explain in the screening interviews why you don't want to do it (pacifist, scared of guns, stress easily, injure easily/etc etc) then they won't force you to participate. If someone joins and then changes their mind they've wasted money, time and resources. Jail is over the top, but that's how it is in most militaries. :/
19:49 September 7, 2010 by Brtahan
2 weeks are much better than 11 months anyways so even if it was compulsary imprison every youth for 2 weeks better than a bigger prison for a yr... but he joined with his own will so he deserves the punishment.
21:32 September 7, 2010 by janeway
Anything could have happened between the screening and the day he actually started his service. None of you know the complete facts so don't be so judgemental!
07:19 September 8, 2010 by Rick Methven
This guy was conscripted BEFORE Lumpen was abolished. He went through the standard Mustering that all 18 year olds do. He must have passed the tests with a high percentage to be called up. In 2004 when my son did his Military service only the top 30% got selected. and each subsequent year the numbers called up have been less.

Once you are called up you HAVE to do your service and as he walked out at a time when conscription was still in force was was a deserter. Going to court after the end of conscription in no way changes the fact that he was in breach of the law applicable at the time
09:09 September 8, 2010 by hpunlimited
The law always applies to when the crime was committed.

I think it is better that Sweden has a pro-military now anyways and it also creates jobs. People needs to be proud of our men and women that protect our country and freedoms.

Sweden is a small country and really needs to beef up their military. There are alot of unstable countries that could be a potential threat and also there are still alot of terrorists in the world that could threaten our freedoms.
10:25 September 8, 2010 by Puffin
The headline is a little strange as it makes it sound as though he was convicted of a bogus crime - whereas the article makes it clear that the crime was committed before the law was changed

Interesting article in todays Swedish press that Arbetsförmedling and the Military now have an agreement which means that the unemployed can be forced to apply for jobs as soldiers!
11:40 September 8, 2010 by RoyceD
I feel that sending him to prison for 2 weeks is a pathetic response by the system. The compulsory conscription was obviously out the door anyway. The WHOLE point of sending someone to jail should be because they are a threat to society if left with the regular freedoms other citizens get... this is truly pathetic.

Now this poor guy will probably be trapped in the Scandinavian countries for the next 8 years until his prison sentence gets removed from his public record.
12:16 September 8, 2010 by jgsturgeonmaster
What is the point of the Swedish military at all....its not Sweden is going to invade anyone, and they couldnt defend themselves if someone else invaded....not that they would even try. Just get rid of the whole thing....
15:21 September 8, 2010 by gplusa
The point of it is that the UN needs countries like Sweden to provide military personnel who can go in and try to calm things down after the US cowboy circus has rolled on through.
07:20 September 9, 2010 by flintis
Reasons he absconded:-

He: was not an early riser

was not into discipline

did'nt like the food

did'nt like the excercise

missed his mammy

dropped the soap

does'nt like flying

did'nt realise the paint balls would hurt

became religious
20:34 September 13, 2010 by wxman
One has nothing to do with the other. Whether conscripted for service or a volunteer, desertion should be punishable in the same way.
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