Thomas Bodström

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Thomas Bodström
Thomas Bodstrom, justitieminister, Sverige.jpg
Minister for Justice
In office
11 October 2000 – 6 October 2006
Prime Minister Göran Persson
Preceded by Laila Freivalds
Succeeded by Beatrice Ask
Personal details
Born Thomas Lennart Bodström
(1962-04-09) 9 April 1962 (age 52)
Uppsala, Sweden
Political party Social Democratic Party
Occupation politician, lawyer, footballer, author

Thomas Lennart Bodström (born 9 April 1962) is a Swedish politician and member of the Swedish Social Democratic Party. He was the Swedish Minister for Justice in the two last succeeding governments of the Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson, from 2000 to 2006. From October 2006 until October 2010 he was the chairman of the Riksdag committee for judicial issues. When the new parliament, that was elected in 2010, was inaugurated, Bodström lost his position as a committee chairman. Bodström shortly afterwards requested half time leave of absence from his seat in the parliament combined with half time parental leave in order to relocate to USA together with his family. His request for leave of absence was denied by the Social Democratic group leader in the parliament and Bodström has thus left his seat in the Parliament. His part-time parental leave was already granted from the Swedish Social Insurance Administration.[1] Thomas Bodström is also active as the chairman of the children's rights organization ECPAT Sweden.

Thomas Bodström is the son of Lennart Bodström, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs 1982–1985 in the Olof Palme government. In his youth, however, Thomas Bodström was not involved in party politics. Instead, his first brush with media attention came as a football player in AIK, a team in the Premier Division of the Swedish Football league, 1987–1989. In 1990 he graduated from Stockholm University with a Bachelor of Laws degree. After that, he worked as a lawyer for ten years. During his career he took interest in international affairs and in 1999 he joined the board of the Swedish branch of the international organisation Lawyers Without Borders.

However, when former Prime Minister Göran Persson announced his new cabinet appointment on 11 October 2000, Bodström was a completely unknown face to most of the political journalists attending the press conference. At the time, he was not even a member of the Social Democratic party. Although Bodström was unaccustomed to national politics at the time, he has managed to keep his job despite calls for his resignation, especially loudly voiced after several high profile prison breaks during the summer of 2004.

After being appointed as Minister for Justice, he was elected to the Swedish Parliament, the Riksdag, in the 2002 Swedish parliamentary election. This could be regarded as a purely formal exercise, his seat immediately taken over by a substitute.

He has written a book, 700 dagar i Rosenbad (700 days in Rosenbad), about his experiences as a newcomer in the government.

Controversy[edit]

At the time of his appointment, Bodström revealed in an interview that he had used hashish in his youth and also that he at several occasions had employed a person in his home without paying the appropriate taxes.[2]

During his term in office, Bodström has been heavily criticized by advocates of privacy and liberal think-tanks[3] as he is said to have worked towards giving the police the possibility of monitoring people that might be involved in minor crimes, as well as other things that can be seen as intrusive to privacy.

On 23 August 2010, during an interview by Swedish Radio, in light of the current drug-testing debate, the reporter asks Bodström if he is willing to participate in a drug test. Bodström first agrees, but when the nurse explains that he will be tested for amphetamines, hashish, opiates, and benzodiazepines, he changes his mind and says, "I don't feel like doing it now. I am sweating too much."[4]

The Pirate Party defended his right not to take the test in reference to their views on privacy.[5]

Since mid-2011 Bodström has been an expert commentator on law in the crime solving show Efterlyst on TV3.[6]

Bibliography[edit]

  • (2004) 700 dagar i Rosenbad Biography, Albert Bonniers Förlag, ISBN 91-85015-15-6.
  • (2008) Rymmaren crime fiction, Norstedts Förlag
  • (2009) Idealisten crime fiction, Norstedts Förlag
  • (2010) Lobbyisten crime fiction, Norstedts Förlag
  • (2013) Populisten
  • (2014) Det man minns

References[edit]

Preceded by
Laila Freivalds
Minister for Justice
2000–2006
Succeeded by
Beatrice Ask