Patrik Liljeglöd, group leader of the Left Party in Falun in central Sweden, told his story at a council meeting and in a public post on social media on Thursday evening. He said that at the end of July he was walking home one evening when an unknown man approached him and threatened him with a knife.
“I was brutally treated and also raped at knife point because I was a female Left genitalia, that people like us like this and finally that I was a traitor,” Liljeglöd paraphrased some of the attacker's words.
“The few words and sentences expressed by the man had a clear connection to me as politically active and therefore it affects us all. Standing here telling you what happened to me is not something I enjoy doing, I would rather bury this incident so deep down in the bedrock that nobody else other than me would ever know.”
“Nor do I seek your compassion or empathy, but I'm standing here because in my deeply rooted conviction that democracy should be an inviolable part of our society, I feel that I have to,” he wrote on Facebook.
No one has been arrested, but police have been investigating the incident since the summer.
“We have examined the crime scene and sent the results to the National Forensic Centre, but we are still waiting for their analysis,” police spokesperson Stefan Dangardt told the TT news agency.
“If it turns out that the motive is his political allegiance then it is obviously a hate crime.”
The Local last month investigated threats against politicians in Sweden, after a number of elected representatives announced they had stood down or were standing down as a result of these threats.
But Liljeglöd vowed on Thursday that he would not quit, writing: “Nothing is more important than democracy, people die for the right to democracy every day and the right we have inherited through our parents' fight we have to continue fighting for. And we have to remind those citizens who have forgotten why.”
Almost three out of ten elected officials (28 percent) told Sweden's National Council on Crime Prevention (Brå) in the election year of 2014 that they had faced harassment, threats or violence that year, compared to 20 percent in 2012. This does not necessarily indicate an overall increase, as such incidents tend to peak during election years, but there's only a year to go to Sweden's next election.
Sweden's Culture and Democracy Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke told The Local in an interview last month that she had urged police to prioritize crimes against free speech as part of a new government action plan designed to combat threats against specifically politicians, journalists and artists.
“Journalists, artists and elected representatives work on the basis of those freedoms and opportunities that free speech offers. So when they are threatened, free speech is also threatened,” she said at the time.
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