Prosecutor demands 14 years for Örebro rapes

The trial of a 24-year-old man charged with 14 sex offences in Sweden's to date largest serial rape case closed on Tuesday in Örebro district court.

Prosecutor demands 14 years for Örebro rapes

The prosecutor closed her case by demanding 14 years in prison – the maximum penalty for this kind of offence.

Niklas Eliasson stands accused of a total of 17 offences since 2005, of which 14 concern sex offences. All the offences were committed in Örebro in eastern Sweden.

Eliasson has admitted to all offences, but has found it hard to explain why he committed them. The women are now suing him for a total of 1.2 million kronor ($191,000)

The assistant chief prosecutor Pia Åsberg argued in her concluding speech that he be put through a psychiatric examination.

According to his lawyer Margareta Arvidsson, Eliasson has requested a psychiatric examination, as he ‘doesn’t understand his own actions’.

The arrest of 24-year-old Eliasson last autumn was a relief for many Örebro residents who had lived in fear as police continued their search for the man behind a series of brutal rapes, which had been carried out over a period of several years.

The charges against the man include eight cases of attempted rape or aggravated rape, three charges of aggravated rape, two cases of assault, two cases of sexual molestation, one charged of robbery and one relating to weapons offences.

Åsberg is relived that the trial is over. It has been tough for many of the women, she told news agency TT.

“The police have done a great job, making sure that all the women have been able to attend,“ she told TT.

According to Åsberg, Eliasson has been co-operative during the proceedings but hasn’t shown much emotion.

His lawyer claims that Eliasson has found the trial difficult.

“He says the trial has been hard work, but necessary,” Arvidsson told TT.

The Örebro district court will deliver its verdict in a week’s time.

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Swedish crisis chief resigns over Canary Islands trip

The leader of Sweden's crisis preparedness agency has offered his resignation after being accused of breaking coronavirus recommendations with a trip to the Canary Islands.

Swedish crisis chief resigns over Canary Islands trip
Civil Contingencies Agency head Dan Eliasson has argued that the trip was necessary. Photo: Marianne Løvland/TT
The Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) said in a press release on Wednesday afternoon that its director, Dan Eliasson, had decided to step down following a meeting with Mikael Damberg, Sweden's interior minister. 
“Eliasson has discussed the possibility of continuing his work as general director. He sees it as difficult given the current  [public] response, and feels in addition that this response also makes it difficult for MSB to carry out its important mission,” the agency wrote. 
Damberg, the release added, “shares this judgement”. 
The leader of Sweden's centre-Right opposition Moderate Party, Ulf Kristersson, who had called for Eliasson to step down on Tuesday, said the decision was “necessary”. 
“The person leading Sweden's crisis preparedness operations cannot preach to others that they should abstain from more or less everything and then themselves travel overseas on holiday,” he said.
Annie Lööf, leader of the Centre Party, which supports the ruling Social Democrat coalition, said that it was “the only reasonable decision”. 
“The head of the agency responsible for national crisis preparedness must act as a good example and follow the current recommendation,” she said on Twitter. 

In an interview with the Expressen newspaper on Saturday, Eliasson defended his trip, saying he believed it had been necessary for him to meet his daughter over Christmas. 
“I have avoided an enormous number of journeys during this pandemic, but I felt that this one was necessary,” he said. “I have a daughter who is here and who works here, and I celebrated Christmas together with her and my family.” 
In the press release, Eliasson stopped short of admitting that he had done anything wrong. 
“The important this is not me as a person, the important thing is how we as a society handle the pandemic and that all of our focus is on this important task,” he said. 
“The reason for the decision I have taken is to make sure that MSB as an agency is able to have the best conditions to carry out its important mission.”
According to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper, Eliasson had not informed Damberg of his planned trip.
According to the TT newswire, Eliasson has declined further interviews.