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CRIME

Sweden scraps controversial indefinite detentions for crime suspects

Indefinite detentions are coming to an end this summer after the Swedish parliament voted for time-limited detentions.

Sweden scraps controversial indefinite detentions for crime suspects
File photo of a remand cell in Östersund, Sweden. Photo: Per Danielsson/TT

Under the new rules young people between the ages of 15 and 18 should normally not be detained for more than three months while waiting for formal charges to be pressed in court. The time limit for adults will be nine months.

It will be possible to detain a suspect for longer if there are exceptional reasons.

There are currently no time limits, but strong reasons are required to detain a young person.

The bill was put forward by the centre-left government last year in order to meet the criticism that Sweden has received for decades, not least internationally, over its long periods of detention.

The right-wing opposition, including the Moderate party, Christian Democrats and the Sweden Democrats, voted against the introduction of cutoff points, referring to the fact that the Swedish Prosecution Authority was against time limits, with the motivation that this may complicate criminal investigations.

Sweden’s indefinite detations have long been criticised by human rights activists and came back into the international spotlight with the four-week detention of American rapper ASAP Rocky in 2019. The musician was eventually convicted of assault following a brawl in Stockholm, and he and two friends were handed suspended sentences.

Detentions of this kind aren’t that unusual in Sweden, and there’s no equivalent to the bail system that allows suspects to be released against a financial guarantee.

However, to remand a suspect, the court must believe there is “probable cause” to believe the suspect committed a crime that could result in imprisonment of at least one year.

They must also rule that there is a risk of the suspect fleeing, committing further crime, or harming the investigation, in order to keep them in custody. If these criteria are met and the suspect is remanded (häktad), the prosecutor has 14 days to bring the case to trial – but this can under the current rules be extended, in theory indefinitely, if the court approves an extension.

The new rules will come into force on July 1st.

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CRIME

Sweden launches major state initiative to fight cybercrime aimed at smart cars

Connected cars are increasingly exposed to security threats. Therefore, a major government initiative is now being launched via the research institute Rise.

Sweden launches major state initiative to fight cybercrime aimed at smart cars

More and more technical gadgets are now connected to the internet, and cars are no exception. However, the new reality raises questions about security, and from the Swedish side, an initiative is now being launched to combat cybercrime in the car industry through the government research institute Rise.

“We see a great need (for action), in regards to cyber-attacks in general and solving challenges related to the automotive industry’s drive to make cars more and more connected, and in the long run, perhaps even self-driving,” Rise chief Pia Sandvik stated.

Modern cars now have functions that allow car manufacturers to send out software updates exactly the same way as with mobile phones.

In addition to driving data, a connected car can also collect and pass on technical information about the vehicle.

Nightmare scenario

However, all this has raised questions about risks and the worst nightmare scenario in which someone could be able to take over and remotely operate a connected car.

Sandvik points out that, generally speaking, challenges are not only related to car safety but also to the fact that the vehicle can be a gateway for various actors to get additional information about car owners.

“If you want to gain access to information or cause damage, you can use different systems, and connected vehicles are one such system. Therefore, it is important to be able to test and see if you have robust and resilient systems in place,” she said.

Ethical hackers

Initially, about 15 employees at Rise will work on what is described as “Europe’s most advanced cyber security work” regarding the automotive industry.

Among the employees, there are also so-called “ethical hackers”, i.e., people who have been recruited specifically to test the systems.

“These are hackers who are really good at getting into systems, but not with the aim of inflicting damage, but to help and contribute to better solutions,” Sandvik noted.

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