Sjödin takes a break from politics

The leader of the Social Democrat Party's youth movement, Anna Sjödin, is to take a break from politics until she knows whether she will be given permission to appeal against her sentence for drunkenly assaulting a bouncer at a bar in Stockholm and using racial insults.

Marita Ulvskog, the Social Democrats’ party secretary, supported the decision.

“The SSU seems to have made a good decision. Clearly it is a serious matter to have been found guilty of all charges,” said Ulvskog.

Following a brawl in the Crazy Horse bar in Stockholm in January this year, Sjödin was ordered on Thursday to pay a fine equivalent 120 days’ wages, totalling 36,000 kronor.

She will also pay 5,500 kronor to a bouncer in compensation.

Now, Sjödin is to leave politics entirely until the Svea Appeal Court decides whether it will accept her appeal.

“Until then, the SSU secretary Mattias Vespä and other board members will take care of the more public activities,” said Rasmus Korsvall in the SSU press office.

Sjödin has faced widescale criticism for refusing to resign following the guilty verdict.

Much of SSU’s work is anti-racist, yet it was established by the court that Sjödin had called the guard ‘svartskalle’, a racially abusive term.

“Clearly that is the heaviest thing to bear politically,” said Ulvskog.

She said she does not believe that Sjödin’s break has any significance for the party as a whole.

“But I think it’s important for the SSU,” said Ulvskog.

Under the Swedish system, permission must be sought to appeal against a guilty verdict that resulted in a fine. According to the National Courts Administration, only one in five such cases ends up in the Appeal Court.