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CRIME

One arrested over stolen Swedish crown jewels

One person has been arrested over the theft of priceless royal jewels from a Swedish cathedral earlier this summer, the Swedish Prosecution Authority said on Thursday morning.

One arrested over stolen Swedish crown jewels
The cathedral when closed off for the investigation earlier this year. Photo: Pontus Stenberg / TT

The arrest took place on Wednesday afternoon, however the stolen jewels have not been recovered and the search is continuing.

A decision will be made by midday on Saturday as to whether the suspect will be kept in police custody.

The search for both the culprits and the jewels gained international attention after 17th-century royal crowns were taken from a cathedral in Strängnäs, one hour from Stockholm, where they had been kept in a locked and alarmed display case. 

The suspects were seen fleeing from the scene on women's bicycles and then a motorboat, and police carried out searches by water and air.

A police spokesperson told told The Local in early August that the forensic team had found “traces” both in and outside the church, but said it was too early to say what kind of evidence these might be.

The crowns were made for the burial of Kind Charles IX and his wife Christina, and date back to the early 1600s. A royal orb was stolen along with them, and the gold jewels are decorated with silver and pearls.

July's royal heist was the second to take place in the area around Lake Mälaren in recent years.

In 2013, a crown and sceptre used in the funeral of Sweden's King Johan III were stolen from nearby Västerås. Those items were later located in two large rubbish bags at the side of a highway following a tip-off to police.

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POLITICS

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

Sweden's Christian Democrats have called for tougher sentences for sex offenders and making release conditional on chemical castration.

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

The Swedish Christian Democrats (KD) leader has called for the chemical castration of certain sex offenders as part of plans for a tougher grip on sexual crime and punishment in Sweden.

Speaking to the Swedish parliament on July 1st, KD party leader Ebba Busch said, “Every day, 27 rapes are reported. How many days must pass before the government takes action?”

“Today we propose that rapists and people who commit sexual crimes against children should be able to be chemically castrated.”

The controversial chemical castration proposal was the headline grabbing soundbite in a broader set of proposals to recalibrate the structure of Sweden’s sexual crime sentencing.

Among KD’s proposed sentencing changes is a life sentence for the aggravated rape of a child, the removal of automatic conditional release for sex offenders, and an increase in the sentence for aggravated rape up to a maximum of 25 years.

In addition, they want a “monitoring period” for convicts who have been released, equivalent to one third of the sentence served.

They also want to establish a national knowledge centre for sexual violence where people who feel that they have “problematic sexuality” can receive support. The center must also “be able to administer chemical castration on a voluntary basis to those who are concerned about unwanted sexual thoughts and impulses and have a compulsive sexuality”.

READ ALSO: What’s the Swedish Christian Democrats’ abortion contract all about?

Chemical castration, she suggested, should be implemented as a condition of release for some sexual offenders. “It may mean that if a person like Nytorgsmannen is to be able to become a free man, a chemical castration must have taken place before the release,” Busch said, referring to Andreas Holm, a man sentenced in 2021 for 35 different crimes including 24 rapes.

But this is not the first time the Christian Democrats have toyed with the idea of chemical castration as a form of legal punishment. As far back as 20 years ago, under former leader Alf Svensson, the right-wing party raised the idea of conditional chemical castration of rapists and pedophiles.

At the time the proposal was rejected by all other parties.

Chemical castration, the process of preventing sex hormone production through chemicals, can reduce sexual libido but the effects on those with deviant behaviours are relatively unknown.

Chemical castration can also prove costly as it is not a one-off treatment but rather requires regular interventions, which means the police would be reliant on those sentences to chemical castration making regular trips to the authorities for further treatment.

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