WOTD: justice

I just read on The Local: Sweden’s News in English, that Ephrem Yohannes, the man convicted of the brutal rape and murder of Elin Krantz, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his crimes, after which he will be deported from Sweden. He’s also been ordered to pay 600,000 SEK to the victim’s family as compensation, as if mere money could possibly “compensate” her family for her loss.

This is how he has been ordered to pay for his crimes. Whether or not this sentence can be considered “justice” is a another matter entirely.

It seems a rather lightweight sentence to me considering the degree of brutality and ruthlessness of the crimes. Then again I was born and raised in the highly punitive culture of the United States, where citizens demand that lawmakers be as tough as possible on crime. In America, a violent rapist-murderer would receive no less than a life sentence. In some states he might even be sentenced to death. The idea of a violent criminal being sentenced to a mere sixteen years in prison would seem ridiculously lenient to most Americans. Including me.

Still, this is Sweden, where it is believed that every criminal no matter how far gone has the potential to be rehabilitated. I’m not so sure.

I happen to have a different perspective on this particular crime because it occurred practically in my backyard. Elin Krantz’s body was found in the woods next to the public tram stop that I use every single day. I remember like it was yesterday the morning that I walked to the tram stop like usual and noticed that the whole area was cordoned off with blue and white police tape. There were several police cars in the area and my first thought was that they must have found a body.

It didn’t occur to me exactly whose body until I boarded the tram and remembered seeing the notices posted on the inside of the tram stop shelter and on the door of the nearby supermarket. “Have you seen our sister?” the notices read below a picture of Elin Krantz. She went out on Friday night and never made it home. It was then Monday morning. I saw a man on the tram reading a newspaper with the main headline, “Body Found in (my neighborhood).” They hadn’t yet identified the body.

That’s when it hit me. Oh my god. Oh my god. It’s her! The body they found. It’s got to be her.

And sadly, it was.