The new bill will apply to the first ten years of a life sentence in Denmark and will stop those serving them from entering new romantic relationships after a woman said she fell in love with Peter Madsen, who killed journalist Kim Wall, when she was just 17
Denmark is set to ban prisoners serving life sentences from entering new romantic relationships.
The bill, if adopted, will apply to the first ten years of their sentence and is said to be aimed at deterring what have been branded sa “criminal groupies.”
The country is said to be making the change after a young woman said she had fallen in love when she was just 17 with Peter Madsen, who was handed a life sentence in 2018 after he killed journalist Kim Wall.
Kim had arranged to meet Madsen on his submarine to interview him about it. She was reported missing after the submarine failed to return to Copenhagen. It was later found sunken and Madsen was rescued from the water and arrested.
Parts of Kim’s dismembered body was later found in different locations around the area.
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Madsen still denies murdering Kim and claims she died accidentally inside the submarine when a heavy hatch cover accidentally fell on her head during their brief voyage.
He has, however, confessed to throwing her body parts into the Baltic Sea. He lost his appeal, shortly after apologising to Kim’s family who were present at the Appeal Court. In October 2020, Madsen escaped from prison by threatening a prison employee but was surrounded and apprehended just 500 metres away and taken back into custody.
Denmark’s justice minister Nick Haekkerup said in a statement: “In recent years, we have seen disgusting examples of prisoners who have committed bestial crimes contacting young people in order to gain their sympathy and attention.
“This obviously must be stopped. Lifers…should not be able to use our prisons as dating centres or media platforms to brag about their crimes.”
Prisoners will be able to maintain contact by letter or telephone with those they had contact with before they were sentenced.
The new bill would prohibit them from beginning relationships during the first ten years of their life sentence. Life sentences in Denmark currently are 16 years in prison, but criminals serving them are reassessed to decide if they would pose a danger to society if they were to be released.
It also aims to stop prisoners from posting about their crimes on social media, or even participating in podcasts about them and it will limit the possibility of furloughs, which will only be allowed after ten years of imprisonment, up from two or four years.
At the moment, they can post on social media sites including Facebook.
It is expected the new bill will come into force on January 1, 2022. It was sent to a parliamentary committee on Wednesday and has already been approved by the opposition.
Human rights experts say they expect challenges to the new law, with Jens Elo Rytter, of the University of Copenhagen, telling BT newspaper, that on the face of it, the proposed ban on new relationships would “interfere with prisoners’ right to a private life” while outlawing public statements “might raise questions about censorship.”