Sweden plans to reduce sentences for ‘key witnesses’ to tackle organised crime

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Well-known Swedish rapper Einar was shot dead in a Stockholm district last year.

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Sweden has unveiled plans to combat gang violence by reducing sentences for those who cooperate with the police.

The proposal focuses on suspects and “key witnesses” who might work with criminal investigators to help identify other offenders.

Social Democrat Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said the plans aimed to “break the culture of silence” within Swedish gangs.

“It will pay to cooperate with the police,” he told a press conference on Friday.

Swedish criminals can currently have their sentence reduced if they cooperate with investigators in their own case, but not by helping to catch others.

The draft law — which was originally put forward in 2019 — also proposes harsher penalties for intimidating witnesses and obstructing justice.

“Those who attack complainants and witnesses are not only attacking them but also the judicial system as a whole,” Johansson said.

In recent years, Sweden has been confronted with a wave of organised crime and fatal shootings.

One of the country’s most famous rappers — 19-year-old Einar — was murdered in a Stockholm suburb in October last year.

In 2021 alone, the Scandinavian country registered a total of 346 shootings, resulting in 46 deaths.

Sweden’s government says the latest proposals were inspired by similar measures in Norway and Denmark to tackle organised crime.

The issue is also set to be a crucial part of campaigning ahead of Sweden’s next general election in September.

The Social Democrat government had already responded to criticism by passing a law last summer that toughened sentences for young criminals aged between 18 and 20.

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