Annika Östberg moves closer to release

Annika Östberg Deasy, who was found guilty in 1981 of being an accessory to two murders in California and spent 27 years in a US prison, has taken a step closer to her release after a decision by Sweden's Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården).

The service has announced that Östberg Deasy, who was repatriated to Sweden in April 2009, can be given a date for her release and thus commence the process to prepare her for reintegration into society.

“Based on information over the case of Annika Östberg and her, in Swedish terms, long prison sentence, the service adjudges that the life sentence can be limited in time,” the service wrote in its submission to Örebro District Court, which will rule on her sentence.

Östberg Deasy is reported to have adapted well to prison life in Sweden and has completed the so-called 12 step programme successfully.

She has managed to prepare for an eventual release by developing contacts with societal groups, among others the employment cooperative Basta.

The prisons service will now set up a programme for Östberg Deasy to follow to ensure the successful transition to free society whenever that time may come.

Östberg Deasy was convicted of being an accessory to two murders, including that of a policemen, in 1981. Her defence has long maintained that as it was her boyfriend, Brian Cox, who fired the shots, the penalty served against her has been unduly harsh.

According to accepted praxis in Sweden a convict is released after two-thirds of the sentence has been completed.

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South Korean envoy to join meetings with North, US in Sweden: ministry

The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has confirmed that South Korean envoy Lee Do-Hoon will participate in high-level meetings with the United States and North Korea.

South Korean envoy to join meetings with North, US in Sweden: ministry
Police at the Mälaren conference facility northwest of Stockholm. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The ministry confirmed the new detail of the talks, which will take place at an unnamed location in Sweden, after several media previously reported Lee’s involvement.

“He is in Sweden to participate in roundtable discussions in a lesser format with international experts, organised by the Swedish government and Sipri [Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, ed.],” Swedish foreign ministry press spokesperson Buster Mirow Emitslöf said.

Lee will participate as the South Korean representative on security questions relating to the Korean peninsula. The presence in Sweden of United States Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun and Choe Son Hui, a North Korean vice-minister of foreign affairs, has already been confirmed.

Issues addressed by the talks will include the upcoming summit between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

The meeting will take place in a secret location, but police on Saturday blocked access to a conference facility at Mälaren northwest of Stockholm. Swedish media including tabloids Aftonbladet and Expressen reported that Swedish former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson was at the location.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs would not confirm whether this would be the venue for the meetings and remained tight-lipped around the exact arrangements.

Sipri confirmed that it was involved in organizing the meeting and that it was taking place, but made no further comment.

“It is too early” to say anything, Sipri’s head of communications Stephanie Blenckner said.

On Friday, the White House announced that the US and North Korea had agreed to a second summit between Trump and Kim at the end of February. The location for that meeting has not been confirmed.

The two leaders first met in Singapore in June 2018.

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