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Annika Östberg gets her day in Swedish court

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12:40 CET+01:00
Annika Östberg Deasy, currently serving life for a double murder in the USA 28 years ago, will face a Swedish court for the first time on Monday to plead her case for release.

Östberg Deasy, who was convicted of the first degree murder of a restaurant owner and a police officer in 1981, will appear in front of Örebro District Court on Monday and present her arguments for being cleared to begin the process of parole.

This is the first time Östberg Deasy is to appear in front of a Swedish court and the event has generated a great deal of media and public interest in her case.

Östberg Deasy was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders by a California court and was transferred to Sweden to complete her sentence in April 2009.

"Annika is very prepared and motivated. She thinks that it will nice to have her case heard. She is at the same time a little nervous of appearing in Sweden for the first time," her legal counsel Johan Östlund told the TT news agency.

Östberg Deasy has requested that her lifetime prison sentence be changed to a fixed term penalty as a step to her release after more than 28 years in US and Swedish prisons.

Sweden's Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården) has already given approval to having Östberg Deasy's sentence reduced and sees no reason to deny her an early release.

The National Board of Forensic Medicine (Rättsmedicinalverket), however, believes there is a medium-high risk that Östberg Deasy would relapse into a life of crime, an assessment which could complicate her bid to convince the court to approve her request.

According to the medical agency, Östberg would need a long transitional period before she could be set free.

Johan Östlund argues that Östberg Deasy has shown in various treatment programmes over a period of several years that there is nor risk for a return to drug and alcohol abuse.

Östlund argues that the prison and probation service has made a reasonable assessment of her prospects for reintegration into society.

"Annika hopes to be free in the summer of 2010," he concluded.

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