Sweden Democrats fend off sex crime cover-up accusations

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Sweden Democrats fend off sex crime cover-up accusations
A Sweden Democrat event at the Almedalen political festival in Sweden in 2017. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

A Sweden Democrat member of parliament has quit the party in protest after she said she had been silenced by party bosses after raising the alarm over sexual harassment and groping by colleagues.


Hanna Wigh, who has been a Sweden Democrat member of parliament since 2014, said she was no longer able to represent the party – known for its anti-immigration platform – in Sweden's Riksdag.

"I can no longer be an alibi for the Sweden Democrats. I no longer represent the Sweden Democrats," she told TV4 on Monday, ahead of an episode of the broadcaster's investigative documentary programme 'Kalla Fakta' which tells of silencing campaigns in response to accusations of sex crimes and other offences.

On the programme, to be shown on Swedish television on Monday evening, she says it started in 2012 when a party colleague allegedly sexually harassed her and several other female colleagues.

A year later, in 2013, a senior member of the Sweden Democrats was accused of rape during the Almedalen political festival on Gotland. Wigh says she wanted to speak to media then about the sex scandals, but was told to stay quiet. The man stepped down, but was later given a new job within the party.

In 2016 an internal security report, in which it was revealed that women who had told of sexual harassment had been dismissed as "sick", "clingy" or "drunk", was leaked to the Expressen tabloid.

Wigh then commented on the report on Swedish television, and was later called to a meeting with party leader Jimmie Åkesson.

"He explained to me that he was very disappointed, upset and disappointed, that I had spoken to TV4," she tells the Kalla Fakta programme, according to Expressen which has seen the programme in advance.

Hanna Wigh. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

She also tells the programme that another member of parliament for the Sweden Democrats, who had previously asked her not to go public with some of the allegations, sexually assaulted her.

"He had a hand on my throat and pressed me against the wall. Then he put his other free hand inside my trousers and pushed up a finger. Then he told me we should see each other outside of parliament at some point," Expressen quotes her as telling Kalla Fakta.

She did not report the incident to the police because she was afraid of the consequences. She told the Expressen tabloid on Monday that she told party bosses about it, but did not name the person.

"They know who it is anyway," she said.

Per Vegelow, a former deputy security chief for the party, tells Kalla Fakta he was instructed to do as little as possible about internal allegations, and tells the programme the accused MP in question is untouchable.

"He is immune, you can't get to him. I would be terribly surprised if the party leadership did not know about this. I mean the leadership high up, he has been a member for many years," Expressen quotes him as saying.

When Kalla Fakta's reporter confronts Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson with the allegations, he tells her he has "never heard about it". He says: "I do not have that information and I'm not going to stand here and talk to you about this. Send me specific information and then we'll assess if we think I'm the one who should make a statement on this or if it's somebody else."

Party secretary Richard Jomshof tells Kalla Fakta about the allegations: "I certainly hope it is not the case. We have been extremely careful to say that we should treat each other well and not bully each other or go behind each other's backs. We should have an open and transparent party."

Press secretary Henrik Vinge told the Aftonbladet tabloid on Monday morning that he had not seen the Kalla Fakta programme, but denied claims of a cover-up of sex allegations within the party:

“I feel that it's biased and not serious. Much of what is said is not true. They claim we know about things that we have never heard of and we have not been given the opportunity to respond to the right things."


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