Senior officer facing trial for rape and assault

Legal proceedings have begun against one of Sweden's most senior military officers, who is accused of seriously assaulting and raping his wife between 2000 and 2004.

Most of the thousand or so pages of the prosecution, which was filed in Mariestad district court on Wednesday morning, are to remain secret.

But according to the deputy chief prosecutor, Marianne Aldén, the man assaulted his wife on four occasions, including on a ferry crossing to Åland. He is also said to have committed “physical and psychological abuse of a woman” by “dealing blows to her face with an open hand and addressing her in terms of abuse”. The details of the rape allegations are confidential.

The man – who, unusually, has only been named by Dagens Nyheter among Sweden’s newspapers – denies all charges.

While the abuse is alleged to have been ongoing for several years, it apparently only came to light in January of this year, when one of the woman’s colleagues notified the police that she had come into work with a bruised face and broken ribs. The woman said she had been kicked by a horse.

On other occasions, noted Expressen, the man is said to have beaten his wife “so hard that her fingers, which she held up to protect her face, were broken”.

Among the seventeen witnesses who will be called by the prosecution when the trial begins next week are the couple’s two daughters, who have already spoken of physical and sexual abuse in police interviews. The other witnesses include friends who have apparently overheard the woman talking about the abuse, and one person who was on the Åland boat trip.

The prosecutor will present evidence including letters, pictures, a recorded telephone call and an economic agreement between the couple.

The officer was arrested at work in Uppsala on 7th March after an investigation by Sweden’s security police, Säpo.

He has been demoted by Sweden’s Commander in Chief but is still employed by the army. During the investigation the man was also suspected of mishandling military secrets and having an illegal firearm. These charges have not been pursued but he could still face up to ten years in prison for serious assault.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Expressen, SR