• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Sweden sex assaults
Teen arrested after police 'cover up' sex attacks
The We are Sthlm festival in 2015. Photo: Sophia Hogman/We are Sthlm

Teen arrested after police 'cover up' sex attacks

AFP/The Local · 12 Jan 2016, 11:53

Published: 11 Jan 2016 07:41 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Jan 2016 11:53 GMT+01:00

There were 38 reports of rape and sexual assault filed after the We Are Sthlm festival, which uses the postal abbreviation for Stockholm, in 2014 and 2015, according to police, who released the information on Monday after the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper suggested that there had been a cover-up.

The paper reported it had seen a memo from last summer, warning police ahead of the event that there was a known "problem with young men who rub themselves against young girls" at the festival.

Police would not say how many men had been linked to the alleged assaults, but DN reported that as many as 50 Afghan refugees who had come to Sweden without their parents were suspected to be involved.

On Monday night, police said that a teenage boy, 15, had been charged with assault and sexual assault against two 14-year-old girls at the event.


Swedish artist Zara Larsson performing at the We are Sthlm festival. Photo: Alexander Tillheden/We are Sthlm

The free We are Sthlm festival is put on every year for 12 to 17-year-olds and is held in various locations in the city centre, including Kungsträdgården, a large park close to Stockholm's Royal Palace. The programme in 2015 boasted a number of international dance companies and circuses alongside Swedish artists including Zara Larsson, who headlined the event.

Police said last summer that there had been "relatively few crimes and people taken into custody considering the number of participants" in the festival, however documents sent by police to DN and the AFP news agency showed allegations of a total of 17 sexual assaults and one rape during the 2014 music festival, and 19 sexual assaults and one rape in 2015.

"We should certainly have written and told people about this, no doubt. Why it did not happen I do not know," Varg Gyllander, a police press spokesperson, told DN.

He said that police would reinvestigate exactly what happened and why the general public was not fully informed at the time.

Sweden's National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson also swiftly tweeted that he would look into the apparent media blackout.

"We must go to the bottom with this. We will hand it over to internal investigations in the first instance to see if any errors or crimes have been committed," he told reporters later in the afternoon.

 

 


Sweden's National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson giving a press conference on Monday. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

DN's report on the cover-up by police came amid allegations that a psychologist also tipped off the newspaper about groping claims at the festival last summer and that Dagens Nyheter chose not to follow up the story at the at time.

A DN journalist contacted by news site nyheteridag admitted on Monday that she had contacted the police after speaking to the psychologist but said the story was never published because she did not get a response. The source told the site that the reporter had additionally suggested that her editor was not interested in the story either because it may have been fabricated by supporters of the nationalist Sweden Democrat party or because it could whip up racist sentiment in the city.

Nyheteridag is an independent online news site. Its editor is a formerly active member of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party.

The news editor of DN, Caspar Opitz, told The Local on Monday that he was unable to give an interview because his team was "working intensively"  on the story.

In a comment published in Swedish on DN, he said: "We took it very seriously, had contact with the source and tried to move forward with the tip, but failed to get it confirmed".

"Information that DN has participated in a cover-up is a lie: something as important as young women being subjected to systematic abuse is clearly news DN would report," read a later statement on the site, in English.

He suggested that police had failed to provide a full picture of what happened during the festival and said that the newspaper had decided to publish its story this week only after gaining access to more concrete information about the alleged attacks.

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven was also critical of the police and their handling of the incident.

Story continues below…

"I feel a very strong anger that young women are not able to go to a music festival without being offended, sexually harassed and attacked," he told reporters.

"It is a major democratic problem for the whole of our country," he said of the police failure to release timely information of the incidents to the public.

It is usually rare for information about alleged criminals' identities or ethnic backgrounds to be revealed during police investigations in Sweden or reported by the Swedish media.

However, the controversy over the Swedish festival comes amid a global debate about when connections to race should be made publically by police, following 121 sexual assaults in the German city of Cologne on New Year's Eve. Police chiefs there were also accused of attempting to hide asylum seekers' involvement in the reported crimes.

 

 

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Brexit vote
Sweden wants UK to move quickly towards exit
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven after Monday's meeting. Photo: Johanna Johansson/TT

"We can’t have the EU in limbo for too long," said the Prime Minister.

Brexit vote
UK can't cherry-pick EU rules, says Sweden
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson following the meeting on Monday. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson commented on the consequences of Brexit after a meeting with Swedish businesses on Monday.

Why this Swedish canal was filled with dead rats
Removing dead rats from a canal: not the easiest summer job. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Over 140 dead rats were removed from Malmö's canals on Monday.

Is this Swede the new Vincent van Gogh?
Ivar Arpi (left). Photo: Tomlin Studio

He's winning a worldwide competition to find the person who most resembles the Dutch master.

Brexit vote
Swedish stock market plummets in Brexit aftermath
The Stockholm Stock Exchange felt the full force of Brexit on Monday morning. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Monday is the first day of trading in Sweden since Britain voted to leave the European Union, and negative effects are already being felt, with stocks down by almost five percent at lunchtime.

Brexit: Sweden’s leaders meet for talks about 'our friend'
Ebba Busch Thor outside the PM's office before Monday morning's talks. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

“The UK is our friend and we have to respect the decision.”

Brexit vote
Poll: Sweden still wants to stay in EU after Brexit vote
Most Swedes polled don't want a referendum on EU membership. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

A post-Brexit poll shows that the majority of Swedes would still vote to stay in the EU.

My Swedish Career
'I was only supposed to stay in Sweden for a few months'
Dan Paech, the founder of Run With Me Stockholm. Photo: Private

Meet Dan Paech, 31, the Australian who found his entrepreneurial path in Stockholm.

Sweden murder probe after refugee centre death
One person had been detained and other potential witnesses were being questioned. Photo: TT

Swedish police on Sunday launched a murder investigation after a young woman was found dead at a shelter housing asylum-seekers.

Sweden trials electrified highway for trucks
The truck draws power as it moves at speeds of up to 90km/h (56mph) while putting out no emissions. Photo: Scania AB

The Swedish truck firm Scania, in partnership with German engineering company, Siemens, is developing the world’s first “eHighway”, a four kilometre stretch of highway north of Stockholm.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
International
'A morning of sorrow': Sweden reacts to Brexit vote
Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
International
Sweden opposition cools talk of 'Swexit' poll
International
'Devastated' - Brits in Sweden shocked by Brexit vote
Blog updates

17 June

Queen’s Birthday Stockholm 2016: 9th June. 90th Birthday. 900 Guests! (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"What do you do when you read that the Queen’s 90th Birthday in London will be…" READ »

 

10 June

i lördags, på lördag – time phrases for present, past and future (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! Swedish time phrases can be difficult to master. It takes a lot of practice to…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Stockholm school celebrates Nepal Project success
Gallery
People-watching: June 22nd
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Private
The Local Voices
'Swedes don't treat me differently because I wear a hijab'
Culture
How do Swedes celebrate Midsummer?
Culture
Coming soon: Sweden’s smelly fermented fish
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Assange lawyer: Sweden should recognize UN opinion
Private
The Local Voices
Why is this Syrian dentist who hugs like a Swede worried about undies?
Swedish nationalist 'shot and ate' lion and giraffe
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Analysis & Opinion
'Sweden's residency revamp is harmful and inhumane'
Sponsored Article
The man behind Sweden's biggest music festival
Photo: The Local
The Local Voices
UNHCR boss: 'It's hard to start your life without your family'
Politics
VIDEO: Brits in Europe say why UK should stay
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
Photo: Marko Risović
The Local Voices
World Refugee Day: Searching for safety in Europe - in pictures
Sponsored Article
Malmö: Home to the best food in Sweden?
National
Is Swedish nationalists’ foreign food ban bananas?
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
Gallery
Property of the week: Söråker
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
International
Poll shows huge support for EU in Sweden
The Local Voices
How a Syrian scuba diver mobilized Sweden's biggest asylum centre
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Sport
Zlatan: 'If we'd been fighting for real, he'd be in hospital'
The Local Voices
Orlando reflections: Is it possible to be gay and Muslim?
Sweden to go ahead with migrant age tests
Gallery
People-watching: June 17th-19th
National
Will you be hit by changes to Sweden's residency laws?
3,325
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se