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CRIME

Suspected people smugglers arrested

Swedish police arrested eighteen suspected people smugglers in two separate operations on Tuesday.

Arrests were made in Stockholm, Sundsvall and Malmö in connection with the two investigations. In both cases, those arrested were suspected of smuggling people into the country from Iraq.

“Police in Västernorrland County carried out a major operation on Tuesday morning, in which eleven people were arrested in Malmö and Sundsvall. They are now detained on suspicion of organized people smuggling, forgery and theft,” said Leif Hemmingsson, spokesman for Västernorrland Police.

Computers, mobile phones and equipment believed to have been used for forging documents have been seized by police.

People smuggling in Sweden has become much more widespread in recent years.

“There has been a dramatic increase. A few years ago we just had the odd case that made it to court. But in the last year alone we have had around ten major cases. This is due in large part to the situation in the Middle East, where a couple of million people want to escape the worry and the hardship of war,” said Leif Svensson of the National Criminal Investigation Department (NCID/Rikskriminalen).

“There are lots of people who want to take advantage of the situation and make money out of it. There’s a lot of money involved – it can cost up to 100,000 kronor ($14,300) to get help to come from Iraq to Sweden. And I can’t see an end to this trade, even if some of the people smugglers are locked up,” he said.

Three people have been on remand in jail in Sundsvall for several weeks, since being arrested in a similar raid

The seven arrests in Stockholm came about as a result of a police investigation that began in autumn of last year. The men and women were seized in various suburbs in the southern part of the city.

There is no clear connection between the Stockholm raid the operations carried out in Malmö and Västernorrland.

“They are different cases. There may be a connection but it is not something we know about at the moment,” said Stockholm prosecutor Marie Lind Thomsen.

“It is early in the investigation and more arrests could follow. People could also be released without charge,” she said.

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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