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Swedish courts 'go easy' on gun-toting gangsters

The Local · 8 Jan 2012, 13:04

Published: 08 Jan 2012 13:04 GMT+01:00

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Following the recent spate of killings in Malmö, politicians have promised changes in Sweden's current weapons laws to curb the violence.

According to some court's interpretation of current laws, criminals can actually receive milder sentences because they operate in gang environments, the Sydsvenskan daily reported.

"One can be especially vulnerable when living in a dangerous environment and therefore have personal reasons to be armed," reasoned a judge in a case in 2009 where the minimum penalty was issued to a man who had an automatic pistol in his belt, according to prosecutor Jan Pernvi.

"So the court perceived it as mitigating circumstances that he was a professional criminal, even if it wasn't written in the sentence," Pernvi said.

Only about a week ago, a man in the organized crime group M-falangen in Malmö was sentenced for possession of an automatic rifle. The case has received broad media attention across the nation due to the verdict.

"Only four months in prison for possessing a Kalasjnikov, that's too damn short. What signals does that send?," Börje Sjöholm at the Malmö police murder squad told Sydsvenskan.

The Swedish Prosecutor General has reviewed 150 verdicts issued since 2007 regarding weapons crimes, finding a pattern whereby courts have been extra forgiving to gang members.

In Denmark on the other hand, the same circumstances would instead double the punishment for anyone on trial for weapons crimes, and now Swedish politicians want to see the same in Sweden.

Kazimir Åberg with the Court of Appeals proposed a change to current legislation, saying it should be considered whether the weapon could be used in a criminal act or is of an especially dangerous nature.

"We want to give the courts some guidance, and signal that they shouldn't be afraid to issue the full imposed penalty," he said.

However, Åberg doesn't believe that increased penalties will have a great effect on the most serious criminals.

Story continues below…

"The killings we've seen in Malmö, either it's a sick person - which is then a separate problem - or something else, people who are very committed," he told the paper.

"In those cases increased penalties won't have any preventive effect."

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:14 January 8, 2012 by Abe L
But of course, since all legal decisions in Sweden are the opposite of normal and the rest of the world. There are no hostile environments in Sweden, there is no Stockton, no Chicago and no Detroit like circumstances. Illegally possessing a weapon AND being part of a criminal organization should instead lead to heavier punishment. You do not become part of a gang because all the members have a mutual interest in landscaping.

Wake up Sweden.
14:59 January 8, 2012 by riose
Either the judge was blackmailed/bribed or it makes no sense.
15:12 January 8, 2012 by muscle
hostile environment in sweden.. :) hahahaha

So its like this, if you download movies, you get a huge fine, if you break speed limits and do dirty driving, you get a little less, but still high fine and punishment. if you rape some body you get lesser fine and punishment... if you carry guns or be a professional killer its even less..

WOW.. :P
15:36 January 8, 2012 by gabeltoon
I can't understand this one. I'm thinking of coming over to visit but after reading this report i'll think twice before i move.This is not a good way to promote your country.
15:48 January 8, 2012 by StockholmSam

That is exactly the first thought that popped into my head, too. They should take a much closer look at that judge.


Nicely put. "WOW" is an understatement. This is one reason the Moderates are gaining support and the Social Democrats are losing support. S needs to get tougher on crime. Politically correct coddling of criminals just because they were bullied in the first grade has gotten out of hand.


What are you, som sort of mor0n? You hear a story about this and automatically think you are in imminent danger if you visit Sweden? You better stay in your living room for the rest of your life, then, because the world is a dangerous place and I can guess that you pass a dozen criminals with guns every day that you drive to work. Quit being an idi0t; 10 million Swedes are not cowering fearfully in the dark because of this news story.
15:56 January 8, 2012 by swedejane
So, being a professional criminal I suppose he can write off his arms and ammunition expenses on his taxes.
16:15 January 8, 2012 by RobinHood
"Åberg doesn't believe that increased penalties will have a great effect on the most serious criminals. ..... penalties won't have any preventive effect."

Poor Judge Åberg doesn't seem to know much about criminals. Serious (professional) criminals carry out a risk against benefit analysis for every crime they commit. If the risk outways the benefits, then they don't take the risk.

Increasing the penalties for gun crime, increases the risk, and therefore reduces gun crime.

If one of Sweden's top judges doesn't get this, the situation really is hopeless.


Stay where you are. If you come to Sweden, you will surely be shot in minutes.
16:49 January 8, 2012 by godnatt
Things like this remind you how many Swedes are so naive and sheltered it's almost surreal.

It's one of the reasons they are so nice but also how they are going to destroy their own country.

Better believe the criminal and low rung immigrant populations have learned to exploit it at every step.
17:26 January 8, 2012 by millionmileman
This is where Twisted Liberal thinking hits the road. Guns must be banned, removed from society but the poor criminal is always the victim!
17:29 January 8, 2012 by motti
Young Swedes thought it might be good to be in a totalitariian state run by a dictator. This is the next best thing.

I do feel for ordinary decent hardworking Swedes who have to put up with this nonsense. We have the same soft "justice" here in the UK. Europe needs a Judge Judy badly, before it's too late.
01:38 January 9, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
Bit suprising that the Mexican drug lords have not made some sort of truce with regard to their mass murdering activities within Mexico, and decided instead to settle their differences on the streets of Sweden.

You know that sentencing has become a farce when a nation like Denmark has to tell Sweden to wake up and start to sentence gang members in ways that could at least slightly impede further violent criminal activity .
07:21 January 9, 2012 by Regor
Here in the US we say: "When guns are outlawed only the outlaws will have guns".

As a private person in Sweden you are not allowed to own a gun of any type unless you either have a hunting license or are a competition shooter.

It has been proven both in the US, the UK and Australia that stricter laws increase illegal weapons and killings and that "legal permits to carry" decreases crime in urban areas. (However, I can see no logical reason to permit fully automatic guns for personal use.)

The Danes have the right ideas, same as the US, that if a firearm used in a crime it will increase the penalty significantly.
07:59 January 9, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
IF the names of the judges who reduce their sentences to gang members are public information, given that court proceedings are a matter of the public record, then I URGE The Local to publish the names of these buffoons (the judges) in response to their idiotic ways.
08:38 January 9, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
No wonder so many criminal elements are moving to Sweden, it is all on the upside, no downsides. Steal, murder, run a racketeering all with little to no penalty. Now I see why so many Serbs and Iraqis criminal gangs came over... wonder if they are hiring?
10:21 January 9, 2012 by EtoileBrilliant
Bottom line - join a gang for more lenient sentences. It beggars belief!
11:31 January 9, 2012 by mikewhite
"So the court perceived it as mitigating circumstances that he was a professional criminal, even if it wasn't written in the sentence,"

Good luck with that defence in the UK.

By the way, the most appropriate reference may be "moral hazard"

11:36 January 9, 2012 by Kevin Harris

We are recruiting hundreds of gun toting, murderous executive gangsters to provide violent robbery and extortion services in the southern Sweden business region. Must have experience with bombs and fire arms, preferably within the area of executions. We are an equal opportunity employer; preference will be given to applicants from the Balkans or the near east. Good salary and fringe benefits, company car and gym card. This is a fantastic opportunity for ambitious young executive gangsters from abroad to bring their special brand of violent medieval criminality to a so far, unexploited business region, with minimal risk. We plan to expand into all areas of Sweden with the next few years.

Murder Inc - "Changing Sweden forever"
12:40 January 9, 2012 by bocale1
@Regor, could you please provide evidence about your statement that "it has been proven both in the US, the UK and Australia that stricter laws increase illegal weapons and killings and that "legal permits to carry" decreases crime in urban areas"... because according to the statistics I found in the web is not exactly like this... for example, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

in 2010, Sweden had 0,97 homicide per 100.000 habitants against US that had 4,8/100.000, Canada 1,62/100.000, UK 1,17/100.000 and Australia 1,20/100.000.

So, if you are afraid of weapons and murderers, Sweden is still one of the best places in the world, Malmö included. Otherwise, you may consider Monaco, Iceland and Japan but, in this last case, please stay far from Nuclear Power Plants, you never know.
13:21 January 9, 2012 by KungsholmenGuy
Agree with bolcale1, more guns = more murders, partly because many or most murders are committed by people who know their victims, and who can therefore rather easily choose a place and time when their victim is not expecting the bullet, even if the victim is armed for self defense.

Every society has its share of criminals, sociopaths, and violent mentally ill people, so in my opinion the best solution is to minimize the number of guns floating around by all means possible. Better for all if criminals have butter knives than AK-47's.

Sadly the judges areclearly part of the problem, if they are idiotic enough to issue lighter sentences for illegal gun possession to gang members. A publication of the names of the judges may bring public pressure and ridicule on them, which could help reduce their imbecilic behaviour, one judge and one judgement at a time.
02:25 January 11, 2012 by nordgothe
Would they 'go easy' on them if they were Swedes? Heck no!!
19:55 January 13, 2012 by LongPurple
There is a specious argument rearing its head here.

Brilliant idea #1 - Eliminate all guns from society. That way, there is no chance that guns can be used in crime.

Brilliant idea #2 - Eliminate all dogs from society. That way, there is no chance anyone will be attacked by a vicious dog.

The same mathematical model is the basis of both proposals. The mathematical principal used in both is sound logic, yet both proposals are absurd methods to achieve a social good.

Anyone proposing #2 is rightly considered a fool. What should we think of those who propose #1?
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