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Mum of 11 seeks alcohol smuggling jail pardon

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18:17 CEST+02:00
A mother of 11 children sentenced to prison for alcohol smuggling and the illegal sale of alcohol is seeking a pardon to avoid jail time.

The woman was convicted of smuggling large quantities of alcohol from Germany and selling it on a large scale in Norrköping in southeastern Sweden.

The mother wants to avoid imprisonment so she can stay home and take care of her children, eight of whom are under 18. The youngest are twins who were born in 2008.

The woman was originally arrested and detained in December 2007 while pregnant with the twin boys. Three days after the arrest, she was placed in custody on December 23rd for 22 days.

"I pointed out several times every day that the boy wasn't kicking," the woman wrote in her plea for clemency. "I did not get my medication that was necessary for the twin pregnancy."

During her incarceration, the father of the twins was not able to be there for her throughout the twin pregnancy. The uncertainty and shock of having to get through Christmas and the New Year alone with the children became too much, she wrote.

"He was diagnosed with depression," she said. "The news about a child with lifelong disabilities plunged him even further into depression. Connecting with the newborn child in that condition was impossible."

The woman was originally sentenced to two years' imprisonment in February 2009 and fined 200,000 kronor ($27,264), which was later commuted to one and half years in jail and a 90,000 kronor fine.

The twins are now two and the other children are four, six, nine, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22 and 24. The three oldest are adults and the woman has custody of the other eight children, three of which she has sole custody.

Her live-in partner since April 2004 is the biological father of the four youngest children. The couple and seven of the children live in her home, a terraced house, that she bought in 1991, while the 15-year-old child, for whom she has visitation rights, lives with the father.

The woman has endured ongoing custody disputes with the two fathers of the oldest children, which have been particularly stressful for the children, she claims.

The family has also received a number of notifications from social services since the mid-1990s, also from the same fathers, resulting in talks with child psychologists.

In addition, the two fathers have made numerous complaints to the police, alleging child abuse, sexual abuse, sexual assault of children and child neglect, which were later dropped due to lack of evidence.

The woman claimed that the children now 11 and 13 witnessed her being beaten by one of the fathers.

"When I found summoned the courage and notified the police, the policeman, who thought I had an overactive imagination, laughed at me," she wrote.

Only when the biological father accidentally shot himself in the leg while heavily intoxicated in September 2004 did her previous notifications become interesting, she wrote, and she received a restraining order.

"Without the protection of the restraining order (we had joint custody), life was hell for them. The father harassed them at school and took them away in the ensuing police hunt," she wrote.

"They chose to stay in school during school outings. They were afraid that their biological father would take them into a car on a road trip again," she added.

Until her live-in partner moved in with them in April 2004, she said that they were always ready to flee and when he first moved in, the children initially were afraid to change into pyjamas.

She claims that she is the only security for the 11- and 13-year-old children. The 13-year-old competes in motocross, while the 11-year-old is gifted in athletics.

The father of the 17-year-old received sole custody of the child in 2005, but the child left the father's home in October 2008. The mother received sole custody of the child in October 2009 and claims the child's grades have improved at school.

One of the twins is disabled.

"[The live-in partner] does not know the twin boy on the way I do. We have our own communication," she wrote. "With our communications, the boy feels safe. He still cannot talk and has hearing problems."

She added, "For him, the world would crumble if I disappeared. He has made a lot of progress. Maybe he can cope with longer distances with a walker instead of becoming dependent on a wheelchair in the future."

The woman claimed she is looking for work. She tried to register for a course with the Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedligen), but was stopped because she was about to start an internship.

"Getting a job is more than I have hoped for in the last 10 years," she said.

She claims that her household costs are 2,000 kronor on average and that they will have to sell the home for income support, although a home equivalent to the one they live in now would cost about 5,000 kronor more to rent than what they currently spend in housing costs in addition to adaptations for the child's disability.

The woman described her psychological condition as strong, but said she has trouble with her back, hips, heels, migraines, carpal tunnel syndrome and knees, much of them due to her heavy pregnancies, with the children weighing up to 5 kg and the twins about 4kg.

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