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Sweden mulls jail term for forced marriage

Published: 21 Jan 2012 08:26 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Jan 2012 08:26 GMT+01:00

Forcing someone into marriage against their will could soon carry a punishment of up to two years imprisonment, according to an inquiry tasked with formulating a law criminalizing the practice under Swedish law.

The inquiry, which will be completed later in the spring, also calls a halt to the existing possibility of special dispensation to allow minors to marry.

"My view has always been that we need a law against forced marriage and that the child marriage dispensation needs to be removed," said equality minister Nyamko Sabuni to news agency TT.

"At the same time we have to be show humility. When an inquiry is ongoing we have to consider both the pros and cons."

Forced marriage and marriage among minors is already banned in Sweden, but Sabuni argues that a criminalization is required in order to underline the seriousness of the offence.

"It is important that people know that if they commit a crime then they will be punished for it," she told TT.

The minister explain that removing the existing dispensation for child marriages would be a protection for girls.

Dispensation is currently allowed if the girl is pregnant and if extra-marital pregnancy is not permitted within the girl's cultural group.

"This means that there is pressure to get pregnant. By taking a stand that no child shall be married off, not even if they are expecting a child, we can remove this type of pressure," according to Nyamko Sabuni.

Legislation is however not the only means by which to tackle honour-related crimes, Sabuni argued.

"It is even more important how we work in practice, within the social services, police and at schools. The individual victim has to feel able to report the matter and to feel secure when receiving support and protection."

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:49 January 21, 2012 by Keith #5083
At what point does an out-dated medieval tradition become a question of 'force?'.Does expulsion from the 'community of family/friends' for wishing to marry the person of your choice constitute 'force?

I think that 'arranged marriages' should carry the condition that the 'resident Swedish spouse' be required to live in the intended spouse's country of origin for a period of two years after the marriage, funded at the expense of the 'rSs' swedish resident family.

We would son see if this 'tradition' is connected with 'ancient tribal customs' or is more to do with 'back-door immigration' at the Swedish taxpayer's expense!
12:39 January 21, 2012 by Svensksmith
Isn't marriage enough punishment onto itself?
17:45 January 21, 2012 by occassional
Making this law retroactive would necessitate the building of quite a few prisons...
20:15 January 21, 2012 by janeway
This is the sort of things that ridicules Sweden among other countries. Having a law banning an act but not having a prescribed punishment on the books. I have seen up close, how young women have been deprived of their youth, their education and future by being sold off to an aged relative, who got the girl pregnant as soon as possible, got residence in Sweden and then become supported for life after the girl had plopped out a few more beneficiers of the Swedish welfare system. A young woman's life ruined, her future taken away from her by the family she's afraid of going against.

Today it's the grim 10th anniversary of the "honor" murder of Fadime Sahindahl. A young and strong woman murdered by her father, the chickenshit that couldn't take that his daughter used her own free will to form her life. Never forget Fadime, Pela, Abbas m fl. And force the police and prosecutors to invstigate and prosecute all these "balcony falls"!
21:59 January 21, 2012 by TheWatchman
It's about time this sort of thing becomes illegal.
06:47 January 22, 2012 by jimfromcanada
This may become a motivation for honour killings.
15:11 January 22, 2012 by BillyB
@ TheWatchman

It is illegal that's the whole point of the article. Its illegal but no real punishment.

Also in general people should not confuse arranged marriages with forced marriages, they are not always the same thing.

I know some people who had an arranged marriage and there was no force involved at all, they were very happy with it all.
23:16 January 22, 2012 by TheWatchman
@ BillyB

There should be a real punishment anyway. While that is true, it is difficult to tell whether it was forced or not. Some people meet their spouse on their wedding day. That seems crazy to me. Then there is that whole honour killing business.
23:48 January 22, 2012 by Sarahfaz
@BillyB You are absolutely correct on forced vs. arranged.

If they add punishment to the crime, I wonder if jail sentence for father will include monetary damages to raise child. Like alimony. Otherwise the ordeal would be worse for the pregnant girl child.

Also, why do many Swedes on this newspaper classify immigrants and welfare together? Does Sweden only accept poor immigrants who they then decide not to educate enough to earn their own living? I find this confusing.
01:53 January 23, 2012 by Migga
@ Sarahfaz

That mindset that you have is the source of many of the integration and immigration problems. The responsibility doesn`t lay with Sweden to educate immigrants, it`s the immigrants responsibility to educate themselves.

It`s not like Sweden forced them to come here, therefore the responsibility doesn`t fall on Sweden. Sure they should met them halfway but the responsibility is with the ones moving here.
14:32 January 23, 2012 by avatar
what about the case of old swedes marrying young far-eastern girls. are not those girls 'forced' out of their poverty and lowlife to marry the oldies? just wondering?
19:25 January 23, 2012 by Chickybee
If only Islamists would allow the very same freedoms they scream for to Christians, Jews, etc. in the Muslim world.

it's disturbing to see how they can even think this kind of behaviour is even remotely acceptable.
21:52 January 23, 2012 by Sarahfaz
@ Migga Your stereotypes of immigrants/muslims seems to match our stereotypes of mexicans. Immigrants who are poor, illiterate, sometimes illegal. We still educate their children on laws, citizenship, nationalism as much for our own protection as theirs - to make them assets to society instead of burdens.

And they serve a real purpose in my country at least. They do hard labor I wouldn't do (in sanitation, on farms, maid services, yardwork, gas stations, etc). Jobs that educated citizens choose not to do but need to maintain a standard of living. Sweden may be different.
21:55 January 23, 2012 by TheWatchman
@avatar

I think it is ok only if they live in those countries. If they live in Sweden, the marriage should not be considered valid. However, if they truly love each other they should be able to get married under normal Swedish marriage.
09:20 May 24, 2012 by robban70226
Live and let live!!!!
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