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Supreme Court of Denmark

Extension of prison term was not unlawful 

Case no. 21/2009
Judgment 12. June 2009

The Public Prosecutor

Extension of prison term for keeping children from the custodial parent was not unlawful. 

 A, who was an Iranian citizen, had been given several prison sentences under S. 215(1), cf. S. 261, of the Danish Penal Code for keeping his children from their mother who had custody of the children. When serving the latest prison sentence, A neglected to contribute to ensuring that the children were handed over to the custodial parent, for which reason the City Court and the High Court in 2008 sentenced him to an additional two years.
A brought the case before the Supreme Court with a claim for dismissal, or, in the alternative, mitigation. He submitted, among other things, that S. 215 of the Danish Penal Code is not an offence committed by continuing an unlawful state of affairs or an offence consisting in an omission, for which reason it is unlawful and in contravention of the European Human Rights Convention to repeatedly be punished for the same offence, as this means that he is punished for the same offence several times.    
With reference to judgment U.2005.967H, the Supreme Court maintained that according to the wording of S. 215 of the Danish Penal Code, cf. S. 261 on imprisonment, it is possible to punish a person continuing to keep children from the custodial parent. This state of the law was not found to be in contravention of Article 6 of the European Human Rights Convention or Article 4 of Protocol No. 7 to the Convention. In addition, the Supreme Court approved that A had been sentenced to two years.
The Supreme Court thus affirmed the judgment of High Court.


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