A total of seven Afghan migrants and a single Swedish citizen have been arrested in two police operations in connection to cases of rape, with one of the suspects working for a migrant integration charity.
The first series of arrests were made during the middle of last month, and were followed by the arrests of a number of additional suspects in June. Those who were arrested were all between 20 and 26 years-old, with most of them living in Östersund, Sweden, according to a report by the online newspaper Nyheter Idag.
The sexual assaults are thought to have happened between the first and second weeks of May, although police have refrained from sharing all of the case’s details with the press.
However, that has stopped certain details regarding the suspects from coming to light.
Apparently, one of the men who was arrested has previously been convicted of assault twice – once in 2014, and again in 2015 – while another man is said to have been employed at an asylum seeker integration charity by the name of Hej främling or Hi Stranger, which subsequently fire him upon hearing about the arrest.
The charity – in a recently released statement – had this to say about the arrest of their former worker: “We have zero tolerance with regard to crime, so we are serious about this.” The charity describes itself as an organization which seeks to integrate new arrivals by bringing Swedes and asylum seekers together to take part in different outdoor and sporting activities.
The head of the charity organization, Maria Svensson Wiklander, mentioned that they were aware that the former employee had previously been convicted of a crime prior to this most recent arrest, but insisted, “Everyone is worth the chance. It is also something we assume in our business, that one should have a second chance to get out of crime and abuse.”
Last month, according to a report by the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, the overwhelming majority of individuals who are convicted for gang rapes in Sweden happen to come from migrant backgrounds.
But Aftonbladet isn’t the only media outlet that has reached this conclusion. In 2018, the Swedish tabloid Expressen also came to the same conclusion following a report of another study.
The tabloid’s review of gang rape cases in Sweden revealed that 32 of 43 men sentenced for gang rapes during 2016 and 2017 were born abroad, with eight being born in Sweden to parents who were born abroad.
Data from Swedish national TV also found that 58% of men convicted of rape or attempted rape during the last five years were born abroad.
The fact that mainstream political parties in Sweden have failed to take meaningful action with respect to the issue of rape crime and migrants has led to a rise in popular support for the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats.
In the 2018 Swedish general election, the Sweden Democrats garnered 17.5% of the vote and secured 62 seats in parliament, making it the third largest party in the country.