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CRIME

Police uncover child pornography ring

Swedish police took in eight people for questioning on Tuesday in connection with suspected involvement in a child pornography ring. Several computers were confiscated during a coordinated operation in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Fagersta and Kristinehamn.

All eight suspects were made aware of the suspicions against them before later being released from police custody.

“Eight suspects does not constitute not a major network. But we know from previous experience that the proportions will swell as soon as we have had time to go through the confiscated computers,” police commissioner Anders Ahlqvist told news agency TT.

According to the commissioner, the suspects are believed to have downloaded child pornographic images and films to their home computers. Some also had pictures on their work computers.

“In at least one case we have reason to believe that the images were spread to others. We will know the extent to which they were spread when we’ve finished going through the computers,” said Ahlqvist.

None of those held for questioning are suspected of abusing any of the children depicted in the images. A number of the suspects have admitted to possession of child pornography.

Tuesday’s operation is unrelated to the child pornography ring recently uncovered in the UK.

The raid is a result of international police cooperation. A reorganization within the Swedish police force has meant that there are now more investigators than before who are specially trained to uncover crimes related to child pornography.

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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