Sweden to abolish expiry date for murder

TT/The Local
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Sweden to abolish expiry date for murder

Sweden's government has proposed abolishing the statute of limitations for crimes that can lead to life imprisonment. Under current laws, suspects for crimes that include murder, genocide and major acts of terrorism can not be prosecuted if 25 years have elapsed since the crime was committed.


In its submission to the Council on Legislation (Lagrådet), the government calls for the new law to be retroactive, meaning that murders committed by adult perpetrators in the last quarter century and onwards will no longer have an expiry date for prosecution, Svenska Dagbladet reports.

"I'm convinced that people would find it reprehensible if a murderer was to come along after 25 years and confess to a murder. No matter when the crime as committed, the perpetrator should be held to account," Centre Party justice spokesman Johan Linander told the newspaper.

Citing improvements in DNA technology, the government also wants evidence for crimes covered in the bill to be retained for 70 years, as opposed to the current 30 year limit.

With opposition justice experts also welcoming the proposal, the bill is expected to pass into law in mid-2010, a few months before the 25th anniversary of the still unsolved murder of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme.

Palme was gunned down while walking home from the cinema in central Stockholm on the evening of February 28th, 1986.

Two years after the shooting, petty thief Christer Pettersson was arrested and convicted for Palme’s killing, but the case was later overturned on appeal.

No other suspect has ever been brought to trial in the case.


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