3 in 4 Syrian criminals subject to deportation orders remain living in Sweden

By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

Three out of four Syrian criminals who were issued with deportation orders following the end of their custodial sentences in Sweden remain living in the country, with many receiving new residence permits, a report by the Swedish broadcaster SVT has revealed.

Despite pledges by the center-right government in Stockholm to ramp up the deportation of foreign criminals, those originating from Syria appear to be gaming the system to remain in the Scandinavian country.

A total of 73 Syrian nationals who are subject to deportation orders were released from Swedish prisons upon the conclusion of their custodial sentences by September 2023, yet 52 of these individuals remain in the country.

The Swedish newspaper reported that “several of these have committed new serious crimes even though they are not supposed to be in the country and four out of ten have received new residence permits.”

Public prosecutor Liselott Herschend said that orders to leave the country risk “becoming a verdict on paper.”

Sweden adopted one of the most liberal asylum policies in Europe a decade ago when it vowed to offer permanent residence to Syrian nationals fleeing the country’s civil war. This policy continued following the emergence of terrorist militia groups such as Islamic State.

Last year, a Swedish court upheld the conclusion of the country’s migration agency that large swathes of Syria, including the capital Damascus, are now considered “safe” territories for the purpose of deportation orders.

Several instances of Syrian criminals avoiding deportation orders altogether following heinous offenses have caused outrage among the Swedish population in recent years.

In October 2020, three Syrian nationals who beat and abused a gay couple holding hands at Gothenburg Central Station were convicted but not ordered to be removed from the country after serving their sentences.

That same month, a Syrian man managed to avoid deportation and jail time after being convicted by a Swedish court of raping a 12-year-old girl inside a public toilet in the city of Borås.

The electoral victory of the center-right last year, propped up by the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats, signaled a change in approach, which, based on the figures above, has so far failed to materialize.

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