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CRIME

Fake taxi driver held over Paris murder

A fake taxi driver was in police custody on Saturday after French police searched his home in connection with the murder of a Swedish student whose charred body was found in a French forest at the weekend.

Fake taxi driver held over Paris murder

The suspect was arrested in a western suburb of the capital, a police official said, and his flat was searched for four hours late Friday. An AFP journalist saw the man being led out handcuffed with his head covered.

The 19-year-old victim, named as Susanna Zetterberg, went missing on her way home from a Paris nightclub last Friday.

Her body, handcuffed and partly burned, was found the following day in a forest in Chantilly, north of the capital, with four bullets in the head. She had also been knifed.

There was no trace of sexual assault but officials believe the killer may have set fire to the body to destroy evidence.

The man, who posed as a taxi driver, was seen shortly before his arrest “digging up or, more likely, burying something in the bois de Boulogne,” a huge wooded area in the west of Paris, an investigator said, adding that police were “90 percent sure” of having caught their man after a “race against the clock”.

The victim had gone to a nightclub on Friday and after taking a taxi at 4 am sent a text message to a French friend saying the driver “doesn’t look nice.”

Investigators have been looking into a connection with an attack in February in which another Swedish woman was raped on her taxi ride home, then pushed out of the car in a forest west of Paris.

POLITICS

Swedish KD 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.

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”.

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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