This kind of relationship “has to end”. That’s what Danish Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup said last Wednesday (September 15), after the government introduced a bill to ban life inmates from starting new romantic relationships.
According to the proposal, inmates can only have contact with people with whom they already had a relationship during the first 10 years of serving their sentence.
Authorities hope the ban will curb the rise in so-called fans (or groupies) who approach criminals in prison.
The bill came after the revelation that a 17-year-old girl fell in love with Peter Madsen, sentenced to life in prison for the 2017 murder of journalist Kim Wall, while she was reporting inside her amateur submarine.
Then he dismembered her body and threw it into the sea.
In 2018, Madsen confessed to Wall’s murder while appearing in a Danish documentary.
‘Prisons as dating centers’
The 17-year-old is called Cammilla Kürstein, and she acknowledged that she fell in love with Madsen after exchanging letters and talking on the phone with him for two years.
She became jealous when he married Jenny Curpen, a 39-year-old Russian woman, while incarcerated in 2020.
The Danish justice minister said in a statement that such relationships “obviously have to end” and added that convicted criminals “should not be able to use prisons as dating centers or media platforms to brag about their crimes.”
“We have seen disgusting examples in recent years of prisoners who have committed heinous crimes by contacting young people to gain their sympathy and attention,” added Haekkerup.
The new bill also aims to prevent inmates sentenced to life imprisonment from posting about their crimes on social networks or discussing the topic in podcasts.
The initiative also provides for the prisoner to serve 10 years of their sentence before being considered provisional freedom. Currently, the latter is possible after two or four years.
Maria Ventegodt, from the Danish Institute of Human Rights, told the BBC that the organization will analyze the measures in the coming weeks.
“We will analyze this proposal in relation to the right to family life. Relationships like this are protected by the European Convention on Human Rights”, he explains. “We will analyze two things: first, whether there is a legal basis for imposing this limitation; if it is proportional.”
The right-wing opposition in the Danish parliament has already expressed its support for the bill.
The expectation is that it will be approved in the coming months and enter into force at the beginning of next year.
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