Criminal deportees remain in country
Hard criminals who have been sentenced to deportation after prison remain in Sweden because the deportation cannot be carried out. And since they are to be deported, their sentences are shortened to begin with. This leads to some of them committing new crimes. Around ten hard criminals are on the loose in Sweden, criminals that should’ve been deported, according to a run-through by TT (Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå – a Swedish news agency).
“It’s offensive,” says Sven-Åke Eriksson, inspector at Stockholm’s border patrol police. He’s witnessed murder cases as well as drug smuggling. “If you can’t do anything, then you have to let the person go, even though it’s hard,” he says. When a foreigner is condemned for a serious crime in Sweden, the court can sentence him or her to prison, combined with deportation once the sentence is served. The condemned may then not return to Sweden for a number of years or in some cases for life. To be sentenced to deportation usually means the prison sentence is shorter than it would have been for a Swede. “One should take into account what it means for the individual to be deported,” says district court judge Lena Egelin at Södertörn’s district court. Normally when the person is let out of prison the police in the county where the prison is located, has planned the deportation. But there are cases when neither identity nor citizenship can be established. If no papers exist, the sentenced can either lie or refuse to cooperate.
“It could be that the person is seeking asylum and has an identity in the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) and has been sentenced accordingly, but then when it’s time for deportation it turns out that identity is not the real one,” says Michael Davidsson at the border patrol police in Örebro county, home of the infamous Kumla prison. In spite of help from Interpol and embassies, the police cannot decide where to send the deportee. There’s no national number showing just how common these cases are. The police in Stockholm, Sörmland and Örebro have between three and five cases each a year. Västernorrland has had three cases during the past five years. One of them, a man sentenced for murder, quickly relapsed and committed another murder. But just how common relapses are is also unknown. “In general we can say that deportation is something you are not sentenced to unless you’ve committed a very serious crime or are a professional criminal,” says Fredrik Wallén, press spokesperson at Sörmlandspolisen. Those who cannot be deported from Sweden stay illegally and may not be able to renew their residence permits when they expire. “These people exist but they live in limbo,” says Fredrik Beijer, head of the legal secretariat at the Swedish Migration Board.