Capital punishment in Sweden: Wikis


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Capital punishment in Sweden (Swedish: Dödsstraff - literally "Death punishment") was practiced up until 1910. It is now forbidden by the Swedish Constitution which clearly states that capital punishment, corporal punishment, and torture is strictly forbidden.


Dates for abolishment of the death penalty

  • Capital punishment was abolished for all crimes committed during peace on June 30, 1921.
  • Capital punishment was abolished for all crimes, including those committed in time of war, on January 1, 1976.

The clause that prohibits the death penalty has been a part of the Constitution since 1975. Sweden is a state party to the Second Optional Protocol to ICCPR (ratified in ?), Protocol No. 6 to ECHR (1984), and Protocol No. 13 to ECHR (2003).[1]


Two titles were used for the official who carried out the execution. Skarprättare, who carried out beheadings and Bödel, who carried out hangings by the neck and other types of capital punishment. Until the beginning of the 19th century hanging by the neck was reserved for commoners and beheadings reserved for nobles. During the 19th century each landskap (and Stockholm) had an appointed executioner who travelled the area to carry out executions. In 1900 a riksskarprättare was appointed (a position that was filled by the last executioner Albert Gustaf Dahlman who until then had been responsible for carrying out executions in Stockholm).

Last execution

Johan Alfred Ander was the last person to be executed in Sweden. He was sentenced to death for a murder during the course of a robbery that was committed in January 1910. His sentence was not commuted and he was executed November 23 at Långholmen in Stockholm using a guillotine. That was the only time a guillotine was used in Sweden. The executioner was Albert Gustaf Dahlman, who died in 1920. At his death at average high age, he was the last of all executioners in Sweden. It has been suggested that the difficulties in finding a person to carry out this kind of work might have been one of the reasons for the abolishment of capital punishment one year later.


Last execution of a woman

The last woman executed was Anna Månsdotter, who was executed on August 7, 1890 by decapitation by an axe. Månsdotter and her son Per Nilsson had murdered Per's wife, Hanna Johansdotter. Månsdotter was also involved in an incestuous relationship with her son, who was sentenced to life imprisonment and was released later (1914). The last woman executed in the capital of Stockholm was Helena Katarina Löv, who was decapitated for the murder of a child 19 September 1829.

Last public executions

The last public executions in Sweden were carried out May 18, 1876. Both executions, by means of beheading, are supposed to have been carried out at the same time in the morning, at 7. The executed were Konrad Lundqvist Petterson Tector and Gustav Erikson Hjert and the executions were carried out at Stenkumla Backe near Visby and at Lidamon (near Malmköping). Both had been sentenced to death for the same crime, a failed robbery against a stagecoach two years earlier, which resulted in the murder of one of the passengers and the driver of the coach. The executions were carried out by Per Petter Christiansson Steineck and Johan Fredrik Hjort.[2]

Last use of other method than beheading

The last time other method than beheading was practiced was in 1836 and the method used was hanging by the neck. Hanging was available as a form of capital punishment until the Penal Code of 1864 removed that option.

Last execution for other crime than murder

The last time a death sentence was carried out for any other crime than murder was on August 10, 1853 when Mårten Pehrsson was executed for aggravated assault at Rögla (near Ystad).[3] The last execution carried out for a non-fatal assault was on March 29, 1837, when Anders Gustav Lindberg was beheaded in Stockholm.

Number of executions during 1800-1866, 1867-1921

Between 1800 and 1866, 644 executions were carried out in Sweden.[4] In 1864, the Penal Code was reformed, and the use of capital punishment got more restricted. In the following years (from 1866) up until the abolishment of the death penalty in 1921, fifteen people were executed (out of ca 120 sentenced). The only crime that after 1864 carried the death penalty without any other sentencing possible (absolute capital punishment) was the slaying of a prison guard by a prisoner serving life sentence. Two of the executions carried out after 1864 were for this crime; the execution of Jonas Magnus Jonasson Borg in 1866 and the execution of Carl Otto Andersson in 1872.

Attitude towards capital punishment in the general public

The support for capital punishment in Sweden varies between 30-40%. A 2006 study from SIFO shows that 36% of the population believes that there are crimes that should be punished by death. Support is in general more common amongst young males, but no age group shows anything but a majority against capital punishment.[5][6]

See also


  1. ^ Second Optional Protocol to ICCPR; Protocol No. 6 and Protocol No. 13 to ECHR - text of the treaties, dates of signatures and ratifications
  2. ^ Brott och straff - Hjert och Tector
  3. ^ Nättidningen RÖTTER - för dig som släktforskar! (Avrättade)
  4. ^ Brott och straff
  5. ^
  6. ^ Metro: 4 out of 10 favour Saddam's death - in Swedish
  • "Sveriges Siste Skarprättare A. G. Dalman – Föregångare och Förrättningar" i Skandinaviska Pressförlaget, Stockholm, 1934
  • Hanns v. Brott och straff i Sverige: Historisk kriminalstatistik 1750-1984 Sthlm 1985 (SCB).


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