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NEWS

Procedural rights of vulnerable people at risk in Sweden

editor - December 13, 2016 - Vulnerable suspects

sweden-flag-painted-on-brick-wall-1468583429t7zVulnerable groups, such as children, the elderly and people with disabilities should be treated with special diligence in the criminal justice system, just as in any other field. Public authorities, however, sometimes fail to even recognise the special needs of these groups in criminal proceedings.

Civil Rights Defenders, a Stockholm-based human rights organisation and one of our LEAP members, has recently reported on the treatment of vulnerable accused persons in criminal proceedings in Sweden. According to the report, the Swedish authorities are failing to identify the needs of vulnerable accused persons and consequently to protect their rights.

Even though the government conducted three official investigations concerning individuals accused of a crime in 2016, none of them singled out vulnerable persons as a group deserving stronger safeguards. People with mental disabilities specifically suffer from indirect discrimination in the enjoyment of their fair trial rights throughout the proceedings, including when being informed of and when waiving their rights.

Read the full findings and recommendations to the Swedish authorities here.

The report has been co-authored with the National Association for Social and Mental Health (RSMH) and sent to the European Commission in response to its 2013 recommendation on procedural safeguards for vulnerable persons in criminal proceedings.

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