A wheelchair-bound Swedish woman says she was gang-raped by five migrants who were then released days after their arrest, as the victim allegedly did not do enough to fight off her attackers, according to prosecutors.
The incident has sparked outrage and protest in the town of Visby, on the Baltic island of Gotland, due to the authorities’ refusal to detain or report the nationalities of the attackers.
The unnamed disabled woman, in her thirties, had asked to use a toilet at a nearby asylum centre after sharing a taxi with one of its residents on the 2nd of October.
However, after she was invited inside, the man and six of his fellow migrants attacked her, taking turns to rape the woman for several hours at the facility in Visby.
Authorities have attempted to shield the identities of the attackers, in line with Swedish police policy that protects the ethnicity of criminals when they are non-Swedish, in a bid to protect the force from accusations of racism.
Despite the attackers being arrested on the evening of the alleged attack, they were released just days later. The migrants denied the attack and it was said that as the woman did not resist sufficiently, the incident can not be classed as rape according to Swedish law.
“The act is not based on violence or threats without having exhausted her special situation,” prosecutor Mats Wihlborg told Aftonbladet, claiming the “claimant’s story is not so robust that it can be the basis for an arrest”.
Hundreds of local residents took matters into their own hands, protesting outside the migrant centre on more than one occasion, sending the town into chaos such that extra police had to be brought in from other regions.
The victim’s lawyer, Staffan Fredriksson, argued that the disabled women was “paralyzed” and could not have fought back. He said:
“She followed him in and had no fears that something would happen. Then the man took advantage of the situation. The abuse started in the toilet.
“Where they came from we don’t know. This was going on for a couple of hours. She got paralyzed in this situation and was not able to bring herself to resist physically, other than saying no.”
He added: “She is completely broken down.”
Sweden accepted more so-called refugees per capita that any other European nation last year and the liberal government is now facing a backlash.
At the beginning of this month, it was reported that the proportion of Swedes who want their country to accept fewer refugees has almost doubled in a year, meaning a strong majority – 60 per cent – now support slashing immigration.
In contrast, only 13 per cent said they thought more refugees should be accepted – more than halving from 31 per cent in 2015.