Stefan Nystrom and I are both Australian expatriates currently living in Sweden. We both arrived here in early 2007 and still live here today. The difference is that I moved here by choice whereas Stefan was forced here as punishment for rape.
Stefan was born in Sweden while his mother was here on holidays visiting family but went back to Australia 27 days after giving birth. He has lived in Australia ever since albeit without Australian citizenship, just permanent residency. By the time he turned 32 he had been convicted of 127 charges including one charge of aggravated rape. In 2006 the ever-compassionate Amanda Vanstone decided to revoke Stefan’s residency on the grounds of him being a person of ‘poor character’ and thus deport him back to his country of birth.
Stefan Nystrom soon found himself stranded at Stockholm Airport with no job, no family, no friends, no accommodation, no Swedish and no clue to what he should do next. A year later and it seems Nystrom’s no closer to integrating into Swedish society. Recently Nystrom labelled Sweden as a “…Hitler society…” and described it as a “…cold, piece of shit country”.
Having also arrived here not knowing the language and having also faced many obstacles and frustrations, I can sympathise with Stefan Nystrom to the extent one can sympathise with a convicted rapist. Living here has been a very educational experience and at times very rewarding. But moving to a new country is never easy when you don’t speak the language or understand the culture, and even the simplest tasks become major missions. It would be worse still if you made the move involuntarily.
Having said that, it’s important to keep in mind that in Sweden Stefan Nystrom is a free man. If he were allowed to remain in Australia, I’d assume he’d be expected to serve out a prison sentence. In this sense forced exile in Sweden is a pretty good deal considering as he had been convicted of 127 charges. Many criminals attempt to flee the country to avoid prison anyway, so if I were in his shoes I wouldn’t be making too much fuss.
Yet this week Stefan joined the already long queue outside Kevin Rudd’s office that has formed since he won the last election, hoping for a change of policy. So fed up has he become with Swedish society he’s ready to do time in prison. I never thought Sweden was that bad!