What happens when a society refuses to protect itself from wrongdoers, even if their offense against that society is obvious and heinous?
I pose this question after reading that Sweden's highest court has ruled that there is no reason to deport a convicted rapist, who is a citizen not of Sweden but of Somali.
The 33-year-old Somali citizen was originally sentenced to one year and ten months in jail (!), followed by deportation. He could not return to Sweden for ten years.
A society that respected and protected its citizens would set his earliest return date at never in a million years. But it looks like he won't even be leaving temporarily.
The highest court overruled two lower courts. The highest court found that there was no "extraordinary reason" to expel him from Sweden.
Here is how it was explained in an English language version of a Swedish newspaper:
Perpetrators of serious crimes can be expelled from Sweden as part of their punishment if they do not hold Swedish citizenship. If the perpetrator has been resident in Sweden for at least five years, though, Swedish law dictates the court must find that there are "extraordinary reasons" for ordering a deportation.
"But consideration should also be taken to the foreigner's ties to Swedish society. In the judgment, consideration should be taken to factors such as living conditions, for example if the person has a property, is socially integrated, has learned Swedish, and so on, if the person has children and is in contact with them, if there are other family members, and the length of time the person has spent in Sweden," Zettergren said.
"The idea behind the requirement of 'extraordinary reasons' [if the perpetrator has been in Sweden for over five years] is that there should be a point where a foreigner has the right to feel secure in Sweden. It's a complete judgment where all factors are weighed up, and which factors are decisive depends on the circumstances in the individual case. If the foreigner has a strong tie to Sweden, typically a more serious crime is required for deportation to occur."
But don't citizens have the right to feel secure from rapists?
The court did tack on some prison time–he gets two years and two months instead of one and ten. That should make law-abiding citizens feel secure in Sweden, no?
The convicted rapist, who had previous convictions for “petty drugs offences, driving offences, and causing bodily harm,” has also been ordered to pay his victim $12,007.
Told of the Supreme Court’s decision, the victim said it was “completely insane.” She is right, but Sweden appears to be a society that is bent on self-destruction.
The self-destruction starts with being unable to distinguish the rights of law-abiding citizens from those of convicted malefactors, who, if their deeds are heinous and if justice exists, should forfeit certain rights.
Treating a convicted rapist like this shows a society's losing the ability to tell wrong from right (and of course, those on the left are likely to lionize those behind bars, even if they have done hideous things, as political prisoners than treat them as the dangerous criminals they are).
We see a similar failure to distinguish between the law-abiding and law-breaking in recent proposals that criminals, no matter how grievous their offenses, should have the right to vote.