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Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask: Photo: Bertil Enevåg Ericsson/Scanpix

Justice minister seeks more life sentences

Minister of Justice Beatrice Asks wants murderers to be sentenced more frequently to lifetime in prison, the most severe punishment possible under Swedish law.

"People who murder should be sentenced to life in prison. That should be the normal punishment," Minister Ask told news bureau TT. She feels that the maximun punishment should not be reserved solely for those who murder several people, for example, but even be  used to punish someone who murdered their wife.

In Sweden, a sentence of life in prison does not necessarily mean that the convicted person is never released. Instead, it simply means that there is no uppper limit to the amount of time a person can be incarcerated. Atter serving two thirds of the term determined by a court, prisoners are normally conditionally released.

Asked at a press conference whether more life sentences would have a preventive affect on serious crimes, the minister said;

"There are situations where it obviously can be a risk assessment in the calculation. But by committing the most serious offense you can commit by taking the life of a person, then society's response to it should be as hard as it can be."

In a press release, Beatrice Ask issued a number of crimes which should mean a life sentence, such as the murder of a family member, and the crime was committed in front of a relative of the victim, such as a child. 

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