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CRIME

Schwarzenegger unbending on Swedish convict

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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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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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