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Swedish politician 'sexually molested' at Almedalen festival

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Swedish politician 'sexually molested' at Almedalen festival
File photo of people in Visby during Almedalen Week 2016. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
07:39 CEST+02:00
A politician was allegedly sexually molested at the official opening party of Almedalen Week, Sweden's annual politics festival, when a businessman snapped a picture up her skirt.

The newspaper Metro reports that the businessman, a former politician, is said to have got down on the floor and taken a picture up the woman's skirt at the Almedalen Week opening party in Visby on Sunday.

“It was completely sick. You read about rapes at music festivals and newly arrived refugees are accused of misbehaving and then you see a successful businessman behave in this way, it's totally unacceptable,” Metro quoted an unnamed person who first alerted them to the incident as saying.

The newspaper reports that the woman, a politician from central Sweden, appeared shaken when its reporter managed to reach her around 12 hours after the alleged incident at Wisby Strand hotel.

“I'm just trying to get myself together to get through the week, I have a job to do here and right now I'm trying to write a speech,” she told Metro. “I don't feel good about this, it feels terrible.”

When asked if she was going to report it to the police, she said: “I can't talk more to the media about this, it feels very hard, I'm just trying to get through the week.”

The businessman denied the claims when approached by Metro.

“It's not true. I took a picture of her from behind when she was dancing. The picture that shows her from the lower back and down is not taken when I was down on any floor. I walked up to her and showed her the picture. 'Nice legs,' I said and showed it to her. Then she grabbed my arms so I got bruises. I deleted the picture immediately,” he told the Swedish newspaper.

“I am completely shocked that she perceived it as molestation, it was never my intention in any way. She was upset because she wanted us to talk about it, but I didn't want to be standing on the dance floor arguing with her… I was baffled over her reaction, that's why I went up to the security guards and told them what had happened. It's unbelievable I'm getting accused of sexual molestation," he added.

Almedalen Week is an annual politics festival organized in Visby on the island of Gotland. It is the biggest of its kind in Sweden and its visitors include people from the Swedish business and political industry, including lobby organizations, representatives of government agencies and party leaders.

While in some countries taking a picture up a woman's skirt may not always constitute a criminal offence, in Sweden the Supreme Court this year found a man guilty of sexual molestation (“sexuellt ofredande”) after he took a picture up a woman's skirt at an underground station in central Stockholm in 2015.

READ ALSO: Swedish music festival cancels next year's event amid rape reports

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