Swedish far-right MP to face assault charge over Stockholm brawl

Swedish far-right MP to face assault charge over Stockholm brawl
Sweden Democrats MP Kent Ekeroth. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT
Sweden Democrats (SD) MP Kent Ekeroth has been charged with minor assault over an incident outside a Stockholm nightclub in November, where he allegedly struck a man in the face.

The scuffle took place outside a club near Stureplan, a popular nightclub district in central Stockholm, on November 24th. The 35-year-old MP, who denies the charge, claims he acted in self-defence, and filed a counter-report to police at the time claiming he was also assaulted.

Police spoke to between 13 and 14 witnesses about the November incident according to chief prosecutor Lena Kastlund, providing a “largely coherent picture of what happened”.

Sweden’s Interior Minister Anders Ygeman labelled the charge against Ekeroth as “very serious”.

“It’s not just an MP, but a justice policy spokesperson, and by extension a candidate to be justice minister who is now subject to a court review for assault. That's of course very serious. I can't remember it happening previously in Swedish history,” Ygeman told news agency TT.

Ekeroth was told to 'take a time out' by SD leader Jimmie Åkesson in November after he was reported to the police over the scuffle, being relieved of his duties as an SD member of Sweden’s Committee on Justice while the investigation was in process. In January he was also removed from his position as the party's international secretary, being replaced by MEP Peter Lundgren.

On Friday, Åkesson urged Ekeroth to leave the Riksdag while the charges are ongoing.

“This clearly hurts the party's reputation,” he told Sveriges Radio.

This is not the first time Ekeroth has been handed a 'time out' by SD. In 2012 he was told to take a break when newspaper Expressen published a video of him, alongside former SD economic policy spokesperson Erik Almqvist and Stockholm councillor Christian Westling, arming themselves with iron bars after fighting a drunken man.

“It’s very serious for an MP to be charged with assault. It’s time for Åkesson to act, this isn’t the first time that Ekeroth is involved in this kind of situation,” Moderate Riksdag group leader Jessica Polfjärd said in a statement.

The Local contacted SD for comment.