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Forced marriage in Sweden can mean jail time

Updated torsdag 24 maj 2012 kl 17.40
Published torsdag 24 maj 2012 kl 13.10
an anonymous woman photographed from behind.Photo:Marc Femenia/Scanpix

A government commission report Thursday has called for prison sentences for those responsible for forced marriages.

The study was carried out by Supreme Court Justice Göran Lambertz. In it he calls for the imposition of  prison sentences of up to four years for those who force someone into a marriage. He also wants to remove the current provision allowing exemptions to let people under 18 marry.

Göran Lambertz tells Swedish Radio News the most important thing is to strengthen official structures, through an agency to be called the National Competence Team, and points to Norway as an example.

According to Göran Lambertz, there are 250 to 300 people in Sweden today living under the threat of being forced to marry against their will.

Justice Minister Beatrice Ask pointed out that forced marriage is already illegal in Sweden today. She says the proposals would expand the definition of forced marriage and can make it easier to get a conviction.

Minister for Gender Equality, Nyamko Sabuni, agrees and says that this makes it clear that certain traditions cannot be practiced in this country, and that Sweden is on the side of victimized young people.

Linda Nordin, Secretary General of the Swedish United Nations Association, which has carried out a campaign against child marriages, welcomes the proposals.

She says the issue has been debated in Sweden for many years, and it is important to finally get strong legislation. But, she adds, it is also important to spread information.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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