“It is a scandal without equal.”
Police have been accused of ignoring reported attacks and cases of sexual harassment that occurred on New Year’s Eve in the Swedish city of Malmö.
The incidents, which have an uncanny resemblance to the assaults carried out on the same night in Cologne, Germany, were apparently lead by men with an “immigrant background”.
Both police and the media have now been accused of covering up the attacks to avoid sparking an anti-immigration debate.
This is not the first time officials have deliberately under-reported incidents of this nature. According to internal police memos acquired by Swedish newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, back in the Summer of 2014 at We Are Stockholm, Europe’s largest underage festival, multiple concertgoers were molested by refugees.
‘These are so-called refugee youths, specifically from Afghanistan. Several of the gang were arrested for sexual molestation,’ one police memo read.
Although arrests were made, the official police report on the festival failed to mention any incident which involved sexual harassments or assaults.
Head of events in the Stockholm city administration, Roger Ticoalu said he was aware of the assaults, however claimed those who came forward did not have enough evidence of the attacks, and it would have been, “totally irresponsible on our side to make anything public.”
“It was a modus operandi that we had never seen before: large groups of young men who surround girls and molest them…they were with a foreign background, newly arrived refugees aged 17 to 20, who had come to Sweden without their families.”
Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven has called the cover-up a “double betrayal” of the victims involved.
“It’s a double betrayal of these young women…It has not been prosecuted and handled in the way we would wish. The second is that police did not inform or tell about these problems,” Lofven told Expressen.
Further investigation into the matter suggests the police and media may have intentionally failed to report the attacks since they took place only a month before the country’s general elections. The publicity which would have surrounded the attacks, would have benefited the Sweden Democrats, Nyeter Idag, who aim to stop immigration.
“It is a scandal without equal. Could this have happened at several locations in the country, but they don’t tell you certain things because it could ‘play into the hands’ [of the Sweden Democrats]?” Sweden Democrats MP, Björn Söder said of the issue.
Stockholm police spokesperson, Varg Gyllander has since commented that the decision not to make the incidents public knowledge was not a cover-up, but rather “self censorship.”
“There are police employees that are afraid of talking about these things in the context of the immigration debate today,” Gyllander said.
Unfortunately the negligence from police to inform the general public of the issue in 2014 saw 20 incidents of assault or sexual harassment at the We Are Stockholm event the following year.