Women and Justice: Location

Domestic Case Law

NJA 2007 s. 547 Högsta domstolen (Supreme Court) (2007)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The defendant was charged with multiple counts of assault and unlawful threats under the combined classification of aggravated violation of a woman’s integrity (Sw. grov kvinnofridskränkning). In the Court of Appeal, the defendant requested that the court allow evidence regarding the victim’s character.  The prosecutor and the victim objected, arguing that the evidence was meant only to tarnish the woman’s reputation and had no legal relevance to the present case.  As his proffer, the defendant claimed that the witnesses would testify that the woman was a pathological liar and that she committed fraud and extortion by threatening to report a relative for molestation if he did not pay her. The Court of Appeal excluded portions of the proffered evidence and the defendant appealed that decision. On review, the Supreme Court held that because the prosecution relied primarily on the victim’s testimony, her credibility was a key factor in the case.  As such, it determined that the Court of Appeal denied the defendant a fair trial by excluding the proffered character evidence. The Supreme Court reversed the conviction and remanded the case.



RH 2006:29 Hovrätten för Västra Sverige (Court of Appeal for Western Sweden) (2006)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The defendant had been released on probation after having been convicted of aggravated violation of a woman’s integrity (Sw. grov kvinnofridskränkning) against a woman with whom he had a relationship. While on probation, the defendant assaulted the woman in her residence by striking her in the face and throwing her to the ground. The defendant had also left a message on the woman’s voicemail, threatening to kill her. The Court of Appeal for Western Sweden found that the defendant was guilty of assault and unlawful threat. The question before the court then became whether the crimes should be reclassified as aggravated violation of a woman’s integrity. The court held that because the defendant had previously been convicted of aggravated violation of a woman’s integrity, and the assault had been committed six months after the defendant was released on probation, the assault and the unlawful threat were to be viewed as continued and repeated violations of the woman’s integrity, and thus reclassified as aggravated violation of a woman’s integrity.



RH 2006:29 Hovrätten för Västra Sverige (Court of Appeal for Western Sweden) (2006)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

The defendant had been released on probation after having been convicted of aggravated violation of a woman’s integrity (Sw. grov kvinnofridskränkning) against a woman with whom he had a relationship. While on probation, the defendant assaulted the woman in her residence by striking her in the face and throwing her to the ground. The defendant had also left a message on the woman’s voicemail, threatening to kill her. The Court of Appeal for Western Sweden found that the defendant was guilty of assault and unlawful threat. The question before the court then became whether the crimes should be reclassified as aggravated violation of a woman’s integrity. The court held that because the defendant had previously been convicted of aggravated violation of a woman’s integrity, and the assault had been committed six months after the defendant was released on probation, the assault and the unlawful threat were to be viewed as continued and repeated violations of the woman’s integrity, and thus reclassified as aggravated violation of a woman’s integrity.



NJA 2016 s. 819 Högsta domstolen (Supreme Court) (2016)

Sexual violence and rape

Two men were traveling in a car with a sleeping woman.  While the woman was still asleep, and under the influence of narcotics, the defendants raped her.  Both were convicted of rape.  One of the defendants appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court, which found that, because the defendant raped the woman and subsequently helped his co-defendant move the woman from the front to the back seat of the car for the purpose of raping her, he was properly convicted.  Swedish law classifies multiple acts of rape from multiple persons as aggravated rape.  Here, the defendants committed some of the acts together and the individual acts in succession, so the acts were viewed as aggravated rape.



NJA 2013 s. 548 Högsta domstolen (Supreme Court) (2013)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Sexual violence and rape

The defendant suspected that his then-wife was unfaithful.  In order to determine if his suspicion was correct, defendant forced his wife onto a bed, pulled her legs apart, and inserted two fingers into her vagina. During this ordeal, the defendant had also threatened her.  Despite the defendant’s alleged purpose, the Supreme Court found that his actions were sexual in nature and that they constituted rape.  Although sexual assault may be viewed as less severe if the victim wakes up and objects, that concept did not apply. Here, the defendant used actual and threatened violence in a manner that was humiliating to the victim and, as a result, the Supreme Court held that the crime was not to be classified as “less severe” (Sw. mindre grovt), but as a rape of the “normal” degree (Sw. av normalgraden).



NJA 2015 s. 1024 Högsta domstolen (Supreme Court) (2015)

Sexual violence and rape

Defendant, an 18-year-old man, was convicted of rape and sentenced to one year in prison. The question for the Supreme Court was whether the jail sentence was too long, given the defendant’s age. The Supreme Court noted that that the punishment for rape of the “normal degree” (Sw. normalgraden) is between two and four years’ imprisonment.  Normally, courts reduce jail sentences by fifty percent when the defendant is 18 years old.  However, for long jail sentences, the courts have discretion to further reduce the punishment.  The court also recognized that punishments other than jail sentences also may be considered. Given the crime, the court determined that community service was inappropriate, but reduced the defendant’s sentence to probation and three months’ imprisonment.  Though rape is a serious offense, the Supreme Court adhered to the principle that imprisoning young individuals should be avoided, to the extent possible.



RH 2010:6 Svea hovrätt (Svea Court of Appeal) (2010)

Sexual violence and rape

The defendant was charge with sex crimes, including: (1) rape of woman A, (2) sexual coercion and rape of woman B, and (3) sexual coercion and attempted rape of woman C.  It was alleged that the defendant assaulted all three women while he was highly intoxicated.  The district court convicted the defendant on all charges, but the Court of Appeal reversed the convictions on the charges related to women B and C.  Regarding woman A, however, the Court of Appeal affirmed defendant’s conviction because, at the time of the rape, woman A was in a helpless condition and asleep from intoxication.  Although the defendant argued that he should not be held liable because he was intoxicated, the court rejected his defense.  The Court of Appeal recognized that the law classifies rape as less severe if there is no penetration, or that the penetration was brief and interrupted after the victim wakes up and objects to having intercourse, no such mitigating circumstances were present. Consequently, the defendant was convicted of rape of the “normal” degree (Sw. av normalgraden).



NJA 2017 s. 316 Högsta domstolen (Supreme Court) (2017)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

K.K. had sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old child. The issue before the court was whether KK had reasonable reason to believe that the child was under the age of 15 and, thus, whether the sexual act constituted rape against a child.  The child (Sw. målsäganden) initially lied about her age to K.K. but, according to her own testimony, she revealed her true age to KK before they had sex.  The Supreme Court concluded that the child’s age was unclear and, in any event, that her testimony was not trustworthy because the defendant’s attorney was not present when she was initially questioned and she was not subject to cross examination. As a result, the Supreme Court held that evidence was insufficient to support a conviction.



RH 2004:48 Svea hovrätt (Svea Court of Appeal) (2004)

Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Domestic and intimate partner violence

During a four-month period, A.H. made several unlawful threats (Sw. olaga hot) toward his ex-wife. The question in the Court of Appeal was whether the unlawful threats constituted repeated violations of the ex-wife’s integrity and whether the threats were meant to seriously harm her self-esteem. The Court of Appeal acknowledged that the parties were going through a divorce, where both parties expressed hurtful words to one another.  As such, the Court of Appeal held that the unlawful threats did not constitute a violation of a woman’s integrity (Sw. kvinnofridskränkning).



RH 2003:11 Hovrätten för Västra Sverige (Court of Appeal for Western Sweden) (2003)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Gender-based violence in general

L-G.T. assaulted his girlfriend, S.S., two times during the time they lived together. The District Court found that the acts were meant to cause a serious violation of S.S.’s integrity. The Court of Appeal held that the number of acts must be more than two in order to constitute a repeated violation of the integrity, but that if the acts of violence were severe, the number of repeated acts necessary for conviction may be reduced.  Because the court found that the assaults at issue in this case were not severe, the court did not find the defendant guilty of violating his girlfriend’s integrity (Sw. grov fridskränkning).



RH 2016:29 Svea hovrätt (Svea Court of Appeal) (2016)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Gender-based violence in general

During the course of a three month-long relationship, M.H. assaulted A.I. four times. The question in the Court of Appeal was whether M.H. and A.I. lived together under circumstances that could be considered equal to a marriage and, if so, whether the repeated assaults should be classified a violation of a woman’s integrity (Sw. kvinnofridskränkning). The Court of Appeal held that they did not.  Because the couple did not share a household, the crime could not be considered as violation of a woman’s integrity. The Court of Appeal then assessed whether the couple were “closely related persons” (Sw. närstående), which would allow the assaults to be classified as aggravated violation of the integrity (Sw. grov fridskränkning). However, the Court of Appeal held that the relationship was too short for M.H and A.I. to be viewed as closely related persons and refused to convict M.H. of aggravated violation of the integrity.



NJA 1999 s. 102 Högsta domstolen (Supreme Court) (1999)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

B.B. was tried for repeatedly assaulted his girlfriend, L.L., in their home. The question the Supreme Court considered was whether previous assault convictions could be used to convict B.B. of a related crime – violation of L.L.’s integrity (Sw. kvinnofridskränkning).  The elements of violating of a woman’s integrity are as follows: (i) the defendant and the alleged victim are, or had been, in a relationship equivalent to a marriage, and (ii) that the acts constitute repeated violations of the woman’s integrity and have been intended to seriously harm her self-esteem. The Supreme Court noted that B.B. had been assaulting L.L. on an on-going basis and that B.B. had already been convicted for some of the assaults. Although the Supreme Court confirmed that all assaults generally could be taken into consideration – even the assaults for which B.B. had already been convicted – because some of B.B.’s assault convictions predated the law against violating a woman’s integrity, the law could not be retroactively applied to consider B.B.’s assault convictions.



NJA 2008 s. 1010 Högsta domstolen (Supreme Court) (2008)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

T.H. was accused of assault and unlawfully threatening (Sw. olaga hot) his girlfriend, L.K. The alleged assault consisted of dragging her by the hair and pressing a knife against her throat, while threatening to kill her. T.H. also allegedly threatened to bomb L.K.’s apartment, and he told her that he would kill her if she called the police. The Supreme Court held that although the elements were present to establish an assault and the making of an unlawful threat, the defendant was not necessarily guilty of both crimes. According to the court, if an act is considered closely connected, and also subordinate, to another act, the defendant may be convicted of only one of the acts. The Supreme Court held that the threat was the more serious crime and that the assault could possibly elevate the unlawful threat to an “aggravated” threat, but the Supreme Court declined to do so in this case. Instead, the court convicted T.H. only of making an unlawful threat. Two Supreme Court judges dissented, arguing that the threat should have been classified as aggravated.



NJA 2005 s. 712 Högsta domstolen (Supreme Court) (2005)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Sexual violence and rape

L.G. was accused of violation of a woman’s integrity (Sw. kvinnofridskränkning), assault (Sw. misshandel) and rape of his wife, C.G.  Because the couple’s three children were present when the alleged abuse occurred, L.G. was also charged with violation of their integrity.  The Supreme Court found that C.G.’s statements were more credible than L.G.’s, partly because the couple’s three children concurred with C.G.’s version of events.  Accordingly, due to L.G.’s repeated violation of C.G.’s integrity, the Supreme Court found L.G. guilty of violating C.G.’s integrity.  Regarding the rape charge, however, the Supreme Court did not find sufficient evidence to convict L.G.  Aside from C.G.’s testimony – which left doubt as to the time of the alleged rape – there was no evidence to substantiate the rape charge.  Therefore, the Supreme Court held that the prosecution failed to prove the rape charge beyond a reasonable doubt.  Nonetheless, because the court determined that L.G. had assaulting C.G. and their children, the court sentenced L.G. to two years and six months imprisonment.



B 990-11 Supreme Court of Sweden (2011)

Sexual violence and rape

A man who possessed 39 drawn pornographic images in manga style was acquitted from a charge of possession of child pornography on the grounds that holding this possession as illegal would unreasonably limit freedom of expression. Swedish child pornography laws outlaw actual photographic material as well as drawn images. The purpose of this law is to protect children from offensive materials, to avoid anyone using child pornography to snare children into sexual situations, and to protect their likeness being shared in pornographic materials. The court argued, however, that because a conviction would mean a restraint in the defendant’s freedom of expression, the court must present a serious reason for why pornographic manga-styled cartoon images actually have the potential to harm a child in any of these ways. Because the images were not made in any child’s likeness and because manga is an expression of Japanese culture, the court ruled that the restraint on the defendant’s freedom of expression would be too great if he were convicted and the images were held to constitute child pornography.



RH 2007:7 Court of Appeals for Western Sweden (2007)

Female genital mutilation or female genital cutting

["Anyone committing a breach of Section 1 is to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than four years. If the offense has caused danger to life, serious illness, or has involved conduct of an unusually ruthless character in some other respect, it shall be regarded as grave. For a grave offence the sentence is a term of imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than ten years.] [A sentence for liability pursuant to Chapter 23 of the Penal Code is to be passed on anyone found guilty of attempting, preparing or conspiring to commit the above offence, or of failing to report it."] A girl who had been raised in Sweden and who knew nothing about genital cutting before going to Somalia, was while in Somalia, completely at the mercy of her father as her only caregiver. The girl had on two occasions tried to escape from Somalia in order to rejoin her mother in Sweden. After an initial failed attempt, the girl succeeded in fleeing. It was established that the operation had been performed after the first escape attempt, and it appeared to have been done both as a reprisal for the girl's attempt to escape and as a way to get her to conform to the will of the father, together with the fact that she was soon to be married off.  At the time of the surgery, the girl was eleven to twelve years old.  The court considered that the fact that the father took advantage of the girl's helplessness and the fact that it was particularly difficult for the girl to defend herself against the crime was an aggravating factor in sentencing. During the surgery, the girl was forced to lie down on her bed while her father and another man held her legs apart. Using a razor blade, a third man cut the girl's genitals. The Court of Appeal found that the act constituted serious assault and had been very abusive to the girl. The surgery was carried out without anesthesia, and not by a doctor or in a hospital but in the home of the father. Apart from the fact that the surgery was performed in a place where the girl should normally expect to be safe, the crime also exposed the girl to the risk of acute medical complications, and the risk of long-term psychological and physical harm was also evident. The physical damage was considered to be irreparable and may lead to future problems related to pregnancy and childbirth. Of importance is also the statement by the girl that she was terrified during the surgery. In an overall assessment, the Court of Appeal established the compensation for damages and additional compensation for pain and suffering and for travel expenses at a total of SEK 296,045. The father was also sentenced to two years imprisonment.



RH 1991:120 The Court of Appeal for Western Sweden (1991)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Sexual violence and rape

["A person who, otherwise than as provided in Section 1 first paragraph (Author's note: rape), induces another person by unlawful coercion to undertake or endure a sexual act, shall be sentenced for sexual coercion to imprisonment for at most two years. (…)" Chapter 6, Section 2 of the Swedish Penal Code.] A woman was repeatedly forced, without the use of physical violence, to have sexual intercourse with her husband. In one instance the man tried to pull off the woman's pants after she had said that she did not want to have sexual intercourse with him. He then threatened her by saying he would forcibly open up her legs if she continued to refuse and twisted the woman's ankle, causing her substantial pain, as he attempted to keep her on the bed. The woman managed to run away from the bedroom and hold on to the door handle, thus making her husband unable to reach her. Instead, the man masturbated in front of the woman and then calmed down. The District Court found that in order to achieve sexual intercourse with the woman, the husband had used violence and threats. The woman had suffered pain, an injury to one foot, and probably also some bruising to her legs. The District Court found that the violence and the threats used could not be considered graver than those comparable to the coercion requirements in Chapter 6, Section 2 of the Swedish Penal Code and sentenced the husband to imprisonment for attempted sexual coercion. The Court of Appeal for Western Sweden upheld the District Court's ruling.



AD 1996 nr 79 Supreme Court of Sweden (1996)

Gender discrimination

"An employer may not discriminate against a person who, with respect to the employer,1. is an employee; 2. is enquiring about or applying for work; 3. is applying for or carrying out a traineeship; 4. is available to perform work or is performing work as temporary or borrowed labour. (…)"].  In AD 1996 nr 79 the Swedish Labour Court (Sw: Arbetsdomstolen) ruled that a municipality was applying a salary development system that constituted gender-based discrimination.  A female head of department had received, for four time periods, a lower wage than a male head of department who was employed by the same municipality. The municipality argued that the differences in salary were justified by differences in the two jobs.  However, the court rejected this claim, finding that during the last two time periods, the employees' jobs had in effect been equivalent.



AD 2011 nr 2 Supreme Court of Sweden (2011)

Gender discrimination

"An employer may not discriminate against a person who, with respect to the employer, 1. is an employee, 2. is enquiring about or applying for work, 3. is applying for or carrying out a traineeship, or 4. is available to perform work or is performing work as temporary or borrowed labour. (…)" Chapter 2 Section 1 of the Swedish Discrimination Act.]  A woman had applied for employment at the farm where she was doing an internship. During the internship the woman had had a miscarriage, which she told the farmer about. She was later denied employment. The farmer claimed that he denied her employment due to her insufficient capacity for work. However, the Swedish Labour Court (Sw: Arbetsdomstolen) found that the decision to deny the woman employment did not completely lack connection with a possible future pregnancy. Hence, Swedish Labour Court ruled that the denied employment constituted a violation of the Discrimination Act and granted the woman compensation for the damage suffered from the discrimination.



NJA 2004 s. 97 Supreme Court of Sweden (2003)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

"A person who commits criminal acts as defined in Chapters 3, 4 or 6 against another person having, or have had, a close relationship to the perpetrator shall, if the acts form a part of an element in a repeated violation of that person's integrity and suited to severely damage that person's self-confidence, be sentenced for gross violation of integrity to imprisonment for at least six months and at most six years. (…)" Chapter 4, Section 4 a, paragraph 2 of the Swedish Penal Code.]  The Supreme Court ruled that a couple had a close relationship, in the sense required by law, even though they both had access to their own separate accommodations. The court found that the couple was to be considered to be in an established relationship as they, for a longer period (a year and a half), spent time with each other in a way comparable to what may be the case in a cohabiting relationship or between spouses. It was further found that the perpetrator had battered the woman he had a relationship with at six occasions and that he had also been guilty of assault. The court ruled that the actions had violated the woman's integrity and suited to severely damage the woman's self-confidence. The perpetrator was sentenced for gross violation of integrity to eight months imprisonment.



NJA 2003 s. 144 Supreme Court of Sweden (2003)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

"A person who commits criminal acts as defined in Chapters 3, 4 or 6 against another person having, or have had, a close relationship to the perpetrator shall, if the acts form a part of an element in a repeated violation of that person's integrity and suited to severely damage that person's self-confidence, be sentenced for gross violation of integrity (…)." Chapter 4, Section 4 a, paragraph 2 of the Swedish Penal Code. The Supreme Court ruled that even though several assaults separately do not qualify as criminal acts as defined in Chapter 3, 4, or 6 of the Swedish Penal Code they may, if assessed together, be seen as seriously damaging to a person's self-confidence and the perpetrator may be sentenced for gross violation of a woman's integrity. In this case, a man had thrown a glass of juice in the face of the woman he lived with while she held their youngest child in her lap.  He also had assaulted her several times by, inter alia, kicking her legs and buttocks, taking firm grips of her neck, punching her neck and shoulder, stepping on her feet, knocking her over on the floor, taking her in a stranglehold, and threatening to kill her. Although only one of the assaults could be defined as a criminal act in accordance with Chapters 3, 4 or 6 of the Swedish Penal Code, the Supreme Court stated that it is necessary to take into account a person's entire situation when assessing gross violation of a woman's integrity. The Supreme Court further ruled that it is not necessary to establish that a person's self-confidence is actually injured but only that the acts are such as would typically lead to serious injury to a person's self-confidence.



International Case Law

W.H. v. Sweden European Court of Human Rights (2014)

Gender discrimination

A woman seeking asylum in Sweden was denied asylum by the Swedish Migration Board, the Migration Court, and denied an appeal of the previous decisions by the Migration Court of Appeals. The migration courts found that although the applicant belonged to a minority (Mandaean) in Iraq, the one threat she had received several years ago was not based on her minority beliefs but on her marital status (as she was divorced) and therefore her return to Iraq could not be deemed unsafe. The courts also found that the situation in Iraq did not constitute grounds for asylum nor that she was still being searched for in Iraq. Swedish law (the Aliens Act (Utlänningslagen, 2005:716)) states that “an alien who is considered to be a refugee or otherwise in need of protection is, with certain exceptions, entitled to a residence permit in Sweden.” Moreover, the Aliens Act continues, “if a residence permit cannot be granted on the above grounds, such a permit may be issued to an alien if, after an overall assessment of his or her situation, there are such particularly distressing circumstances (synnerligen ömmande omständigheter) to allow him or her to remain in Sweden (Chapter 5, section 6).” The applicant brought this suit complaining that her return to Iraq would constitute a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”) The applicant lost this suit as well, as the court held that her circumstances would not prevent her from settling safely and reasonably in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq once deported from Sweden. The evidence did not show that the applicant would face a risk of treatment prohibited by Article 3 in the Kurdistan Region. The Court looked at precedent holding that the general situation in Iraq was not so serious as to cause, by itself, a violation of Article 3 of the Convention in the event of a person’s return to that country (F.H. v. Sweden (no. 32621/06, § 93, 20 January 2009)). Taking into account the international and national reports available at the time of the decision, the Court saw no reason to alter the position taken four years before. The Court gave deference to the Swedish Migration Court’s decision and found no violation of Article 3. According to the Court, “Contracting States have the right, as a matter of well-established international law and subject to their treaty obligations, including the Convention, to control the entry, residence and expulsion of aliens.”



Söderman v. Sweden European Court of Human Rights (2013)

Sexual harassment

In 2002, when Eliza Söderman (applicant) was 14 years old, she discovered that her stepfather had attempted to secretly film her naked by hiding a recording video camera in the bathroom. The applicant’s mother destroyed the videotape and reported the incident to the police who prosecuted the stepfather for sexual molestation. The stepfather was acquitted on appeal in 2007 because although he had intentionally filmed the minor, his behavior was not covered under the provision of sexual molestation because he had no intention of the applicant finding out about the film. Further, the Swedish appeals court pointed out that there is no general prohibition in Swedish law of filming an individual without their consent, even if that individual is a minor. The applicant brought this complaint to the European Court on Human Rights relying on Article 8 (right to respect for private life) of the European Convention on Human Rights to which Sweden is a party. The applicant alleged that Sweden had failed to comply with its obligation to provide her with remedies against her stepfather’s violation of her personal integrity. The court held for the applicant and held that Sweden had violated Article 8. The Court held so because Swedish laws in force at the time allowed for the applicant’s stepfather to film her naked in her home without any remedy. The stepfather had been acquitted of sexual molestation not on account of lack of evidence but because his actions did not constitute sexual molestation at the time. The provision on sexual molestation has since been amended in Sweden (in 2005), which to court highlighted as evidence that the previous version of the sexual molestation provision had not protected the applicant from the act in question.



N. v. Sweden European Court of Human Rights (2010)

Gender discrimination

N and her husband X applied for asylum after arriving in Sweden, claiming persecution in Afghanistan because of X’s political position. The asylum application being rejected, N appealed claiming that, as she had in the meantime separated from her husband, she would risk social exclusion and possibly death if she returned to Afghanistan. Her appeal was also rejected. She applied for a residence permit three times, as well as for divorce from X., submitting that she was at an ever-heightened risk of persecution in Afghanistan, as she had started an extra-marital relationship with a man in Sweden which was punishable by long imprisonment or even death in her country of origin. All her applications were rejected. While being aware of reports of serious human rights violations in Afghanistan, the Court did not find that they showed, on their own, that there would be a violation of the Convention if N were to return to that country. Examining N.'s personal situation, however, the Court noted that women were at a particularly heightened risk of ill-treatment in Afghanistan if they were perceived as not conforming to the gender roles ascribed to them by society, tradition or the legal system there. The mere fact that N had lived in Sweden might well be perceived as her having crossed the line of acceptable behavior. The fact that she wanted to divorce her husband, and in any event did not want to live with him any longer, might result in serious life-threatening repercussions upon her return to Afghanistan. Among other things, the Court noted that a recent law, the Shiite Personal Status Act of April 2009, required women to obey their husbands' sexual demands and not to leave home without permission. Reports had further shown that around 80 % of Afghani women were affected by domestic violence, acts which the authorities saw as legitimate and therefore did not prosecute. Unaccompanied women, or women without a male "tutor", faced continuous severe limitations to having a personal or professional life, and were doomed to social exclusion. They also often plainly lacked the means for survival if not protected by a male relative. Consequently, the Court found that if N were deported to Afghanistan, Sweden would be in violation of Article 3.



C.T. v. Sweden CAT Committee (2006)

Sexual violence and rape

C. T., a Hutu citizen of Rwanda and a member of the PDR-Ubuyanja party, was arrested for her political affiliations and incarcerated in a Kigali prison. While incarcerated, she was repeatedly raped, under the threat of execution if she did not comply, and become pregnant. C. T. escaped to Sweden and requested asylum for herself and her son; her request was denied by the Migration Board for lack of credibility. She filed a complaint with the Committee Against Torture, arguing that her forced return to Rwanda would subject her to further human rights violations and possibly result in her death. The Committee Against Torture held that C. T.’s removal to Rwanda would constitute a violation of article 3 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), which obligates state parties not to expel or return a person to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture. Addressing the issue of C. T.’s credibility, the Committee invoked its prior holding that victims of torture cannot be held to a standard of complete accuracy when recalling the facts of their experience, and held that domestic authorities erred in ignoring medical reports appended to the complaint which substantiated C. T.’s claims of rape and torture. The Committee concluded that given the continued state of ethnic tension in Rwanda and C. T.’s past victimization, return to Rwanda presented a foreseeable, real, and personal risk of danger for C. T. and her son.



A.S. v. Sweden CAT Committee (2000)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Gender discrimination

A.S.’s husband was mysteriously killed during training with the Iranian Air Force, and the Iranian government subsequently declared him to be a martyr. As the widow of a martyr, A.S. was required to submit to the rigid rules of the Bonyad-e Shahid Islamic society, a foundation which supported and supervised the families of martyrs. In accordance with the aims of Bonyad-e Shahid, a high-ranking leader forced A.S. to be his wife in a sigheh marriage, a temporary marital arrangement that requires no registration or witnesses and is used as a measure to prevent women from being sexually active outside of marriage. A.S. was forced to live with her sigheh husband and perform sexual services for him at his command. A.S. later fell in love with a Christian man, and when the two were discovered together by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, A.S. was taken into custody at the Ozghol police station in Tehran. A.S. was severely beaten by her sigheh husband for five to six hours. A.S. managed to obtain a visa to visit her sister in Sweden, and upon her arrival she applied for asylum; her application was rejected by both the Swedish Immigration Board and the Aliens Appeal Board. Since her departure from Iran, A.S. had been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. In her complaint to the Committee, A.S. alleged that her forced return to Iran would constitute a violation of Sweden’s article 3 obligation not to expel or return a person to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture. The Committee referred to the report of the Special Representative of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Iran which confirmed that Iran had recently sentenced several married women to death by stoning for adultery. Considering that A.S.’s account of events was consistent with the Committee’s knowledge about present human rights violations in Iran, the Committee held that in accordance with article 3 of the Convention, Sweden should refrain from forcing A.S. to return to Iran.



Case nr B 4231-06 Court of Appeals of Sweden (2007)

Female genital mutilation or female genital cutting

["A person who commits criminal acts as defined in Chapters 3, 4 or 6 against another person having, or have had, a close relationship to the perpetrator shall, if the acts form a part of an element in a repeated violation of that person's integrity and suited to severely damage that person's self-confidence, be sentenced for gross violation of integrity to imprisonment for at least six months and at most six years."] A woman was sentenced to three years imprisonment for having commissioned the genital mutilation of her daughter, and damages in the amount of 450 000 SEK were awarded to the daughter. The mother claimed that the "surgery" was carried out without her knowledge on the day of her daughter's birth. It was established that the mother's testimony was false and that the genital mutilation had been performed during a trip to Somalia in 2001. The mother was also sentenced for gross violation of integrity since she had regularly assaulted and beat the plaintiff. The daughter had also frequently been forced to undergo examination by the mother of the genital area, often in conjunction with men paying visits to the family. The court found that the examination had violated the plaintiff and was intended to violate her privacy. [Decision on file with Avon Global Center]



NJA 2008 s. 1096 I and II Supreme Court of Sweden (2008)

Sexual violence and rape

["A person who, by violence or threat involving or appearing to the threatened person as imminent danger, forces the latter to have sexual intercourse or to engage in a comparable sexual act, shall be sentenced for rape (…)" Chapter 6, Section 1 of the Swedish Penal Code.]  The Supreme Court ruled on the distinction between a sexual act and sexual intercourse. Although the victim in this case was a child, the decision still gives some guidance with respect to crimes against adults. A man took an eight-year-old girl with him to a backyard, where he kept a firm hold of the girl and pulled her pants and panties down against her will. For a moment, the man pressed his penis in between the girl's buttocks, which inflicted certain pain to the girl. However, since the offense was brief and since the man had neither touched the girl's genitals nor anus, the act was not considered comparable with sexual intercourse. The man was convicted of sexual abuse of a child. (The distinction was important at the time but the legal definitions have since changed and even without sexual intercourse or penetration it would now be possible to convict someone for rape of a child.) [Decision on file with Avon Global Center]



NJA 2008 s. 482 Supreme Court of Sweden (2008)

Sexual violence and rape

["A person who, by violence or threat involving or appearing to the threatened person as imminent danger, forces the latter to have sexual intercourse or to engage in a comparable sexual act, shall be sentenced for rape (…)" Chapter 6, Section 1 of the Swedish Penal Code.] The Supreme Court found that the accused had committed rape when the man put his fingers into a sleeping woman's vagina. When the woman woke up she indicated that she was not interested in sexual intercourse with the man, whereupon he stopped his behavior. However, as the woman was asleep and thus in a helpless state when the man carried out the sexual act, he had unduly exploited her helplessness. The Supreme Court stated that the sexual offence was of such serious nature that it qualified as rape.  Acts such as forced sexual intercourse or other forms of forced penetration typically constitute the most offensive sexual assaults. [Decision on file with Avon Global Center]



NJA 2008 s. 482 II Supreme Court of Sweden (2008)

Sexual violence and rape

["A person who, otherwise than as provided in Section 1 first paragraph, induces another person by unlawful coercion to undertake or endure a sexual act, shall be sentenced for sexual coercion to imprisonment for at most two years. / This shall also apply to a person who carries out a sexual act other than provided for in Section 1 second paragraph with a person, under the conditions otherwise specified in that paragraph./ If a crime provided for in the first or second paragraph is considered gross, a sentence to imprisonment for at least six months and at most six years shall be imposed for gross sexual coercion. In assessing whether the crime is gross, special consideration shall be given to whether more than one person assaulted the victim or in any other way took part in the assault or whether the perpetrator otherwise exhibited particular ruthlessness or brutality. (…)" Chapter 6, Section 1 of the Swedish Penal Code.]  [A person who, by violence or threat involving or appearing to the threatened person as imminent danger, forces the latter to have sexual intercourse or to engage in a comparable sexual act, shall be sentenced for rape to imprisonment for at least two and at most six years. (…)" Chapter 6, Section 2 of the Swedish Penal Code.]  In this case, the Supreme Court held that sexual coercion had occurred when a man masturbated to another person that was asleep. The victim was at the time 17 years old and had provisionary employment at the perpetrator's company. The incident took place in a hotel room during a trip arranged by the company. The Supreme Court found that the victim was, at the time of the crime, in such helpless condition as referred to in Chapter 6, Section 1 Swedish Penal Code but that the sexual act was not comparable to sexual intercourse. The circumstance that the victim was 17 years old and worked for the perpetrator was not considered to make the offense gross. The Supreme Court therefore found the accused guilty of sexual coercion. [Decision on file with Avon Global Center]



Collins and Akaziebie v. Sweden European Court of Human Rights (2007)

Female genital mutilation or female genital cutting, Harmful traditional practices

The first applicant, the mother, filed for asylum upon arriving in Sweden, claiming she had fled Nigeria while pregnant with her daughter, the second applicant, in an attempt to flee the female-genital mutilation ("FGM") that would have been performed on her during childbirth if she stayed in Nigeria. The Swedish Migration Board rejected the asylum application, explaining that FGM was not grounds for asylum, and that FGM was outlawed by Nigerian law so it was unlikely the first applicant would be submitted to the procedure upon return to Nigeria. The Swedish Aliens Appeal Board rejected the applicant's appeal, rejecting her argument that FGM was a deep-rooted Nigerian tradition, carried out despite modern law. Following several more attempts within Sweden to be granted asylum, the applicants filed a complaint with the ECHR, alleging that if they were returned to Nigeria, they would face a high likelihood of being submitted to FGM. The argued this would violate Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The ECHR rejected the complaint, ruling that the applicants had failed to "substantiate that they would face a real and concrete risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation upon returning to Nigeria.



T.A. v. Sweden CAT Committee (2003)

Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape

T.A. and her husband are Bangladeshi citizens and members of the Jatiya party. After T.A. was arrested for participating in a political demonstration and released, the police, accompanied by members of an opposing political party, arrested T.A. and her four-year-old daughter. At the police station, T.A. endured torture including repeated rape until she confessed to the crime of illegal arm trading. She was released after she signed a document stating that she would not take part in any further political activity. T.A. fled to Sweden with her daughter where she applied for refugee status. The Migration Board that received her application did not contest her allegations of rape and torture, but concluded that these acts could not be attributed to the State; rather, they were to be regarded as acts of individual policemen. T.A. appealed to the Alien Appeals Board, submitting medical certificates that supported her account of torture and the traumatic experience it had on her daughter. The Alien Appeals Board upheld the Migration Board’s decision and stated that because of a political change in Bangladesh since the incident, T.A. would not be subjected to further torture if she returned. In her complaint to the Committee, T.A. argued that given the medical evidence of the case, a deportation order would in itself constitute a violation of article 16 of the Convention under which State parties are obliged to prevent cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment conducted by the State or its public officials. The Committee considered T.A.’s complaint in regards to a State’s obligation under article 3 not to expel or to return a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of torture. The Committee noted that T.A. belonged to a political party in opposition to the current ruling party in Bangladesh, and that torture of political opponents was frequently practiced by state agents. Taking into account the Bangladeshi police’s ongoing search for T.A. because of her political affiliations, the Committee concluded that T.A. would be exposed to a serious risk of torture if she returned to Bangladesh, and therefore her forced deportation would violate article 3 of the Convention.



Pauline Muzonzo Paku Kisoki v. Sweden CAT Committee (1996)

Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape

Pauline Muzonzo Paku Kisoki was raped in her home in front of her children by security forces after refusing to allow the government party MPR to host a party rally at her restaurant in Kisanto. She was detained and taken to Makal prison in Kinshasa where the guards forced the women prisoners to dance before they beat and raped them. Kisoki stated that she was raped more than ten times while in prison. After she managed to escape when her sister bribed a prison supervisor, Kisoki fled to Sweden where she immediately requested asylum. The Swedish Board of Immigration denied her request, concluding that the political climate in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) had improved, and Kisoki would not suffer persecution or harassment for her past activities. After the Alien Appeals Board confirmed the decision, Kisoki submitted a new request which referred to the report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of rights violations in Zaire. Her application was denied again on the ground that Kisoki could not introduce new evidence. Her complaint to the Committee accused Swedish authorities of basing their decision on a false image of Zaire. Kisoki cited the Commission on Human Rights report to demonstrate that female prisoners are often raped, and a background paper from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees the show that the Zairian Security Police expose return asylum seekers to long sessions of interrogation. The Committee held that Kisoki’s history of working with the opposition party and of detention and torture provide substantial grounds to believe she would face further persecution and torture if she returned to Zaire. Thus, expulsion or return would be violation of article 3 which obligates State parties not to expel or return a person to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture.



RH 2010:34 Svea Court of Appeal (2010)

Trafficking in persons

["A person who, in other cases than those referred to in Section 1, uses unlawful coercion or deceit, exploits another person's vulnerable situation or by some other such improper means recruits, transports, harbours, receives or takes any other such action with a person and thereby takes control over this person with the intent that this person shall be exploited for sexual purposes,  removal of organs, military service or exploited in some other way that places that person in distress, shall be sentenced for trafficking in human beings to imprisonment, for at least two years and at most ten years. (…) Chapter 4 Section 1 a of the Swedish Penal Code.] Two persons, 21 and 22 years old respectively brought two 16-year-old boys from Romania to Sweden, where they had jointly stolen goods from shops. The two persons were found guilty of human trafficking because they had taken control of the minors in order to exploit their plight and to encourage them to take part in crimes in a situation that constituted a state of distress for the minors. However, the court considered the crime to be mitigated by the fact that the minors were not exposed to any direct coercion nor had they been deprived of their freedom. [Decision on file with Avon Global Center]