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CRIME

Six hurt in restaurant fire

A fierce fire in a restaurant in the southern Swedish town of Kristianstad on Friday morning has injured six people.

The alarm was raised at six o’clock on Friday morning at the Banken restaurant in the town centre. Six people were staying in a flat belonging to the restaurant. They included restaurant staff and members of a band. Five people managed to escape by jumping from first floor windows or by climbing down the fire brigade’s ladders.

One woman had to be rescued by firemen. The woman is said to be unconscious but in a stable condition. The remaining five peoplewere taken to hospital suffering from burns and the effects of smoke inhalation.

By 9.30 on Friday, firefighters reported that the blaze was under control, although it seems that there are scant hopes of saving anything of Banken:

“The restaurant is completely burnt out,” emergency service spokesman Torgny Ekholm told Sydsvenska Dagbladet.

Police say that it is too early to speculate on the cause of the fire, and a full investigation will be carried out.

Aftonbladet reports that the fire is the second to hit the restaurant’s owners in the past month. A restaurant in Eskilstuna which on April 30th was burned down in an arson attack was owned by the same company that owns the restaurant in Kristianstad, the paper says.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Sydsvenska Dagbladet, Aftonbladet

POLITICS

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

Sweden's Christian Democrats have called for tougher sentences for sex offenders and making release conditional on chemical castration.

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

The Swedish Christian Democrats (KD) leader has called for the chemical castration of certain sex offenders as part of plans for a tougher grip on sexual crime and punishment in Sweden.

Speaking to the Swedish parliament on July 1st, KD party leader Ebba Busch said, “Every day, 27 rapes are reported. How many days must pass before the government takes action?”

“Today we propose that rapists and people who commit sexual crimes against children should be able to be chemically castrated.”

The controversial chemical castration proposal was the headline grabbing soundbite in a broader set of proposals to recalibrate the structure of Sweden’s sexual crime sentencing.

Among KD’s proposed sentencing changes is a life sentence for the aggravated rape of a child, the removal of automatic conditional release for sex offenders, and an increase in the sentence for aggravated rape up to a maximum of 25 years.

In addition, they want a “monitoring period” for convicts who have been released, equivalent to one third of the sentence served.

They also want to establish a national knowledge centre for sexual violence where people who feel that they have “problematic sexuality” can receive support. The center must also “be able to administer chemical castration on a voluntary basis to those who are concerned about unwanted sexual thoughts and impulses and have a compulsive sexuality”.

READ ALSO: What’s the Swedish Christian Democrats’ abortion contract all about?

Chemical castration, she suggested, should be implemented as a condition of release for some sexual offenders. “It may mean that if a person like Nytorgsmannen is to be able to become a free man, a chemical castration must have taken place before the release,” Busch said, referring to Andreas Holm, a man sentenced in 2021 for 35 different crimes including 24 rapes.

But this is not the first time the Christian Democrats have toyed with the idea of chemical castration as a form of legal punishment. As far back as 20 years ago, under former leader Alf Svensson, the right-wing party raised the idea of conditional chemical castration of rapists and pedophiles.

At the time the proposal was rejected by all other parties.

Chemical castration, the process of preventing sex hormone production through chemicals, can reduce sexual libido but the effects on those with deviant behaviours are relatively unknown.

Chemical castration can also prove costly as it is not a one-off treatment but rather requires regular interventions, which means the police would be reliant on those sentences to chemical castration making regular trips to the authorities for further treatment.

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