A vegan couple from Sweden was sentenced to three months in jail on Thursday for putting their 18-month-old child on a restrictive diet and leaving the girl malnourished and near death.
The parents’ “serious negligence had put their daughter in a life-threatening situation,” the judge said, according to The Local. The couple was also ordered to pay $6,000 in damages to the child.
The child was reportedly unregistered with Swedish authorities and was being fed a diet consisting of breast milk, brown rice and potatoes. She was taken to the hospital in serious condition in February, according to The Local. The girl spent three weeks at the hospital and was placed into foster care.
The girl’s condition was “worse than anything we have seen at the hospital before,” one doctor reportedly said. Three other doctors said her condition was due to “prolonged starvation.”
“According to their ideological belief that the daughter was a citizen of the world, her parents did not even report the birth to any authority, have her checked at a pediatric center, or even weigh or measure her growth. Nor has the girl been vaccinated or examined by a doctor,” a court statement said.
The couple’s attorneys argued that prosecutors couldn’t prove that the girl’s condition was due to nothing more than a “stomach bug,” The Local reported. They described the child’s weight as “comparable to that of a 6-month-old.”
When the parents are released from jail, they will be allowed to spend eight weeks living with the child at a supervised residential care facility.