The conviction for aggravated assault was a disappointment to prosecutor Ingela Hessius, who had argued the man be jailed for eight years because of the heinous nature of the crime.
“We wanted eight years, but the important thing is that he has been convicted,” she told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
The 52-year-old man, who is a respected researcher at the Karolinska Institute north of Stockholm, attacked his wife in May at their home south of the city.
In a fit of jealousy over suspicions that his 32-year-old wife was seeing another man, the academic straddled his wife while she was sleeping and sliced off her lower lip with a scalpel.
“I’m going to see to it that you can never kiss again. I’ll get four years in prison, you’ll get a life sentence,” he told his wife as he cut off her lip, according to statements given to police.
The 32-year-old woman met the professor in Iran, where he helped her come to Sweden to study at Karolinska.
It was during this time that the man fell in love with the woman, leaving his then-wife to marry her.
However, the 32-year-old asked for a divorce only six months into the marriage, a request which eventually led to the attack whereby he cut off his wife’s lip and then proceeded to swallow it to prevent it from being reattached by surgeons.
“I thought I was going to die,” the woman recalled thinking when she awoke to find her husband straddling her brandishing a scalpel, according to Aftonbladet.
During the trial, the 52-year-old expressed little remorse for his actions.
“Every time she stands in front of a mirror and puts on lipstick she will have to think about what she’s done to me,” he told the court, according to the Expressen newspaper.
The court ruled the man be convicted for extremely aggravated assault, a designation for assaults that leave victims with permanent injuries.
“The act of swallowing and throwing away the lip can also be seen as revealing the intent to have the injuries be permanent,” the court wrote in its decision.
In addition to being sentenced to prison, the 52-year-old has also been ordered to pay the woman 96,900 kronor ($13,800) in compensation.
Prosecutor Hessius said he is both satisfied and dissatisfied with the ruling, but hasn’t decided whether or not to appeal the verdict.