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Sweden enjoys 100 years without executions

Johan Alfred Andersson Ander was the last person executed in Sweden.

Nordics make joint appeal over Iran execution
Sweden the world’s best country – politically

The guillotine has only been used once in Sweden: exactly 100 years ago. It was the last time a person was executed in the Scandinavian country.

At the time most countries still practiced the capital punishment. Only four countries had abolished it: Colombia, Costa Rica, San Marino and Venezuela.

Today still 58 nations, such as the United States, China and Saudi Arabia, actively practice “the ultimate denial of Human Rights”, as Amnesty International calls it.

The last person to be executed in Sweden was Johan Alfred Andersson Ander, who was sentenced to death for a murder during the course of a robbery. The execution took place at Långholmen prison in Stockholm on November 23, 1910.

He was the only person in Sweden to have been executed by the guillotine. Previous decapitations were made with an axe.

Until the beginning of the 19th century hanging by the neck was reserved for commoners and beheadings reserved for nobles.

The support for the capital punishment is low in Sweden; a 2006 study shows that only 36 percent of the population believes that there are crimes that should be punished by death. Penalty by death was officially abolished in Sweden for crimes committed in peacetime in 1921 and all crime in 1976.

More than two-thirds of the countries of the world have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. While 58 countries retained the death penalty in 2009, most did not use it. The only European country that still has the capital punishment is Belarus. The USA is the only country in the Americas to carry out executions.
“More and more countries have realized that the death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment that belongs in history books - not in a modern society, " said Lise Bergh, Swedish Secretary General of Amnesty International.

The guillotine can be seen at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm.

Image: Amnesty International

Read more: Abolish the death penalty

Last Updated (Wednesday, 24 November 2010 17:46)


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