Swedish inmate sentenced to death in Thailand turns writer

Kim Eriksson Sirawan arrives at Arlanda Airport, 2019. Photo: Peter Wixtröm

Swedish Kim Eriksson Sirawan, 39, is no longer just known for having been sentenced to death for drug offenses in Thailand. Nowadays he can also call himself a writer.

Kim Eriksson Sirawan was arrested and sentenced to death for running a drug lab in a garage in the summer of 2010 in Thailand. His verdict was later commuted to life in prison and after eight years in a Thai prison, he was transferred to the Swedish prison Mariefredsanstalten in 2019.

It’s here where he, together with five other inmates, participated in a writing circle in May 2020 hosted by Swedish author Magnus Utvik and the result is now a published anthology called ‘Freedom inside the walls’ (from Swedish ‘Friheten innanför murarna’) based on the inmates own written experiences.   

In the anthology Kim describes the evening of July 14, 2010, when he was arrested at his home in Thailand: 

“The door was torn open and I looked right into two automatic rifles. Four men from the task force, two squatting and holding shields and two behind them with weapons. There were loud screams in Thai that I did not understand but I also heard my wife shouting in a male voice in English “do not shoot him, do not shoot him!”

The police brought journalists with them at the night of the arrest who filmed and photographed police showing Kim in front of the garage.

About the episode Kim writes: “I looked blankly into the crowd and made an effort to maintain an indifferent face. I felt no sadness, no fear, no anger, just emptiness and a creeping feeling of loneliness. I tried to forget the present and thought about the future, the infamous prisons Klong Prem and Bangkwang. Klong Prem, popularly called Bangkok Hilton, was the most feared prison of all. Bangkwang was also known as The Big Tiger because legend has it that no one comes alive from there. Only two years earlier, two prisoners had been executed there for a minor drug offense than what I had now been caught with. “

The Swedish author Magnus Utvik describes Kim as a humble and calm guy, who writes very well. He also describes him as being open to others and often the person other inmates seek, when they do not feel well or need someone to talk too. When asked if Magnus Utvik believes Kim will continue his criminal actions after he is released, Utvik says, “I don’t believe so and I hope he won’t, it feels like he is finished with that life.”

In the anthology, Kim also writes that he only has good things to say about the prison staff but continues to then write: “I am a prisoner. But I do not accept the fact that I have been convicted. I have no moral concerns about what I did. And how can I be rehabilitated from something I do not accept?”

Kim further writes about what he thinks his life will look like in five years and expresses a wish about dividing his time between Sweden in the warm months of the year and an exotic country for the rest of the year. He plans to move part-time to Singapore or Hong Kong, for example, if his daughter would like to attend an international school. 

Kim Eriksson Sirawan is expected to be released on parole in August 2024.

Source: Aftonbladet

About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

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