Observing Sweden - 18 Feb 2016
The dog ate our remote last week and I was stuck with just one channel, news in Swedish, most of it beyond my limited vocabulary. Honor killings, that I understood. Women murdered for reneging on a marriage, or a dowry less than one desired. Honor killings here in Sweden, Oy. What next?
A 17-year-old Swedish girl was arrested in Austria last year. Austrian law seem less forgiving than the law it Sweden. She was found guilty of planning to join Isis militants and was sentenced to a year in prison by the court in Vienna.
"It has been the worst time of my life. Now I just want to go home." Home where the heart is I suppose . . . or not.
The girl was tracked down by Austrian police last December, after her parents reported her missing from her home in Linköping, in southern Sweden, They told police they suspected she had become radicalized after watching Isis videos. The mind boggles.
Her lawyer argued that his client was not guilty, and suggested she ran away from home because she was "naive" and unhappy, and had no final destination in mind. Are there teenagers who are not naive and unhappy? There must be some, somewhere.
The girl's mobile phone records formed a core part of the evidence given at the trial. They included messages such as "but if they cannot be converted, they must be killed," and texts in which she expressed happiness about the Paris terror attacks in November 2015. Isis propaganda photos were also discovered, including images of beheadings.
Interesting, now the thing with Apple’s fight against opening up cell phone data to Homeland Security. Easy to see both sides of the picture - not so easy to come up with a solution.
Sweden has not requested she be extradited, because under Swedish law preparing a trip to join the jihad is not currently a criminal offence. It’s difficult for me to understand this - Swedish law. It is a criminal offense in Austria.
She was attending a high school in Skäggetorp, an area of Linköping with a growing proportion of immigrant families and higher than average unemployment.
Elisabeth Gustafsson, who chairs the city's social welfare committee, said she would be helped by local authorities following her return to Sweden. She would attend a youth programmed designed to help her question and leave behind any radical beliefs.
I keep thinking people should be held responsible for what they do, no matter what their age, or reason. But that’s just me. Compassion never my long suit.
Meanwhile, a possible housing solution.The government here is thinking about using cruise ships to help with housing for the record number of asylum seekers who arrived last year,
The Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet has reported one of the country’s housing contractors has agreed to provide floating accommodation. US Ship Managers, has applied for permission to dock, The Ocean Gala, in Härnösand, on the east coast of northern Sweden.
We don't have any opinions about where it should be docked, they said. It's all about finding a harbor that suits.
The Ocean Gala - Not Too Shabby!Some local councilors are opposing the bid due to the size of the ship, which could provide living space for approximately 1,500 people. It would become Sweden's largest accommodation hub for asylum seekers if the plans go ahead, but proposal will be abandoned unless space at an appropriate port is secured within the next two months.
Fred Nilsson, who represents the center-left Social Democrats on the Härnösand council board, told TT news wire, “The housing for 1,000-1,800 people should be preceded by proper planning, even if the installation is of a temporary nature.”