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Schwarzenegger unbending on Swedish convict

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11:50 CEST+02:00

Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said that a Swedish woman who has served 24 years in jail for murder is not yet ready to be returned to Sweden.

Annika Östberg Deasy has asked to be allowed to come back to Sweden, where she lived until she was 11. But in an interview to be screened by Swedish Television (SVT) on Wednesday, Schwarzenegger makes it clear that he does not intend to help Östberg.

“She's not ready yet”

SVT: Not after 24 years?

“That's right. She's a vicious killer,” replies Schwarzenegger.

The Swede, now aged 51, was with her then-boyfriend Bob Cox in 1981 when he shot dead a restaurant owner and a policeman.

Cox hanged himself in jail, and Östberg was sentenced to 25 years to life imprisonment for murder.

Her case has been tried repeatedly by California's Board of Prison Terms. Last winter Thomas Bodström, Sweden's justice minister, sent a letter to the board, and to the American Justice Department, where he guaranteed that Östberg would serve the same sentence in Sweden that she would have served in the United States.

But at the end of May, the board once again refused Östberg's application to be given a date for her release.

The Swedish government has also tried to persuade Schwarzenegger's advisors. The Californian governor has to confirm all decisions of the prison board.

But in the interview, conducted by Swedish celebrity interviewer Stina Lundberg Dabrowski, Schwarzenegger was unbending.

While pointing out that the decision is ultimately in the hands of the prison board, he said that even if Östberg did not pull the trigger herself, “she was a part of it, and should therefore serve her sentence".

TT/The Local

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