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OFFBEAT

Bloggers defend man’s ‘right to pee in public’

Bloggers have come out in support of a car-test driver in Arvidsjaur in northern Sweden who has been fined for urinating in public.

The 20-year-old car-test driver works nights and elected to relieve himself discretely behind a building in an industrial area in the northern Swedish town of Arvidsjaur in the early hours of the morning.

But as he was performing his morning ablutions a police patrol passed by and with sirens blaring, caught the man with his pants down. Despite his protestations that there were no public toilets in the area and that he was busting for a leak, police fined the man 800 kronor ($95).

The man’s story made the local press and Piteå-Tidningen’s article earlier in February sparked a storm of comments, many of which expressed support for the man who was caught short.

A blog entitled “Arvidsjaur justice (It is still legal to pee oneself)” has been started in support of the man and a general right to relief.

“No police officer should get the impression that we prefer to pee outside or go out to deliberately break the law or to provoke police. What are we supposed to do and what is allowed?” wrote a sympathetic blogger.

“I would like to know how to avoid what happened to the test driver, happening to me.”

County police commissioner Håkan Karlsson replied to the newspaper that he could not comment on the case until he was fully informed of the circumstances.

“But I presume that the police action was conducted in the correct manner.”

CRIME

Swedish terror attacker sentenced to psychiatric care

A court has sentenced the far-right extremist Theodor Engström to psychiatric care for the knife attack he carried out at the Almedalen political festival this summer.

Swedish terror attacker sentenced to psychiatric care

The Gotland district court found the 33-year-old Engström guilty of murdering the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren, but did not agree that the murder counted as a terror attack.

It did find him guilty, however, of “planning a terror attack”, for his preparations to murder the Centre Party’s leader, Annie Lööf. 

“The murdered woman had a significant role [in society], a murder is always serious, and this had consequences both for Almedalen Week and for society more broadly,” the judge Per Sundberg, said at a press conference. 

The judge Per Sundberg announces the sentence on Theodor Engström on December 6th. Photo: Karl Melander/TT

But he said that the court judged that Sweden’s terror legislation was too restrictively drafted for her murder to count as a terror offence. 

“Despite Ing-Marie Wieselgren’s well-attested position within psychiatry, the court considers that her position as national coordinator at the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions is not such that her murder can in itself be considered to have damaged Sweden. The act cannot as a result be classified as a terrorist crime on those grounds.” 

The court ruled that Engström’s crimes deserved Sweden’s most severe sentence, a life sentence in prison, but found that due to his disturbed mental state he should instead receive “psychiatric care with a special test for release”. 

In its judgement, the court said that an examination by forensic psychiatrists had found both that there were “medical reasons” why Engström should be transferred into a closed psychiatric facility and that “his insight into the meaning of his actions and his ability to adjust his actions according to such insight were at the very least severely diminished”. 

It said that under Swedish law, a court could send someone to prison who was in need of psychiatric care only if there were “special reasons” to do so. 

“The court considers that it has not been shown that Theodor Engström’s need of psychiatric care is so limited that there is a special reason for a prison sentence,” it ruled. 

Lööf wrote on Instagram that the judgement was “a relief”. 

“For me personally, it was a relief when the judgement came,” she wrote. “Engström has also been judged guilty of ‘preparation for a terror attack through preparation for murder’. This means that the the court is taking the threat towards democracy and towards politicians as extremely serious.”

The fact that the court has decided that Engström’s care should have a “special test for release” means that he cannot be discharged from the closed psychiatric hospital or ward where he is treated without a court decision. 

The court must rule both that the mental disorder that led to the crime has abated to the extent that there is no risk of further crimes, and that he has no other mental disorders that might require compulsory psychiatric care. The care has to be reassessed every six months. 

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