Crime and Non-Punishment in Sweden

Littering, jaywalking, gang rape – what's the difference?

[](/sites/default/files/uploads/2013/06/Title.jpg)If you’re the type who needs to believe that every cloud has a silver living, try this one on for size: maybe, just maybe, the incidence of rape in Sweden will turn out to have been a bit lower than usual in recent weeks because many “youths” who’d otherwise be committing violent acts of physical molestation have instead been busy rioting in the streets, burning cars, and generally vandalizing other people’s property – behavior which, heinous though it may be, is nonetheless preferable to sexual assault.

Cheerful thought, no?

It’s no secret that while rape has been on the upswing in recent years across Europe, the figures are higher in Sweden – which, not coincidentally, has Europe’s second highest percentage of Muslim inhabitants – than in an other country on the continent. Yet even as the incidence of rape has soared, Sweden has continued to treat rapists more leniently than pretty much every other country in the Western world.

Case in point: earlier this month six young men were convicted of taking part last January in the gang rape of a fifteen-year-old girl in a Stockholm suburb. The punishment? Well, if the perpetrators had been over eighteen, they’d have been looking at up to four years in prison – a tame enough sentence, although you’ve got to keep in mind that (1) Swedish judges, as a rule, aren’t even that stringent and (2) even if the maximum sentence had been handed down, the actual time served would almost certainly have ended up being considerably less.

But that’s neither here nor there – because in this case, as it happened, the perpetrators were minors, all of them either fifteen or sixteen years old. Consequently, their sentences were mild indeed. Each was sentenced to pay 55,000 kroner ($8,500) to the victim. In addition, all but one were required to perform a few days’ worth of community service.

Although the six teenagers’ crimes and convictions were widely reported in Sweden, most mainstream news media chose (as is par for the course) not to mention their ethnic or religious backgrounds, let alone give their names. I had to poke around a bit online before finding one marginal publication, Exponerat, which not only acknowledged that the perps were all Muslims (three of them Swedish citizens, one Finnish, and another Turkish) but also listed their names and sentencing details.

Here they are. Amer Akrem Abdu, found guilty of attempted aggravated rape, will do 150 hours of “youth service,” plus Ungdomsvård, which, according to Wikipedia, is a “penalty” (though it hardly sounds like one; we’re not talking about juvenile detention here) that’s specifically designed “for young people, particularly 15-17 years old, who need special support or help from social services.”

Three of the other perps – Jibril Adam Aden, Bashir Ibrahim Hussein, and Mohammed Yassin Ben Lofti – were convicted of aggravated rape, and a fifth, Allaeddin Ben Othman, of both aggravated rape and receiving stolen goods; all four were sentenced to Ungdomsvård “with special provisions” (which is apparently more or less like being on probation), plus (respectively) 130, 130, 150, and 150 hours of “youth service.”

What about the sixth perp, Mehmet Acaralp (who, by the way, describes himself on his Facebook page as “a proud Muslim”)? Like his buddies, he was found guilty of aggravated rape – but while he, too, was sentenced to Ungdomsvård “with special provisions,” he won’t have to do any “youth service” at all. Why? Two reasons were given. First, his family is homeless (or, at least, has no official place of residence, which may simply mean that they’re living in Sweden illegally); second, the court felt (and I’m not making this up) that poor Mehmet had already been punished sufficiently because somebody had posted his photo online – which, you see, will make it uncomfortable for him to attend school or go out at night.

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the court that it just might be in the larger interest of Swedish society for Mehmet not to go out at night for a while. A long while.

No, Scandinavian judges don’t think that way. A while back, in a piece about the cushy prison “cell” (which is more like a hotel suite) in which mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik is serving his time, I observed that the guiding philosophy of Norway’s justice system is “that society is ultimately to blame for every crime, and that to put people away for a very long time is itself a terrible crime.” The same goes for Sweden. Judges in both countries seem to be less scared by bestial crimes than by the idea that someone, somewhere, might ever suspect them for an instant of harboring anything so vulgar as a thirst for vengeance. To them, proper justice means striving magnanimously to heal felons’ wounded souls – period. Forget the wounds visited by these felons upon the souls (and bodies) of their victims; never mind the additional suffering inflicted upon these victims by a system so perverse in its motives and sympathies that it’s desperately eager to demonstrate its own generosity of spirit by releasing back onto the streets the savages who brutalized them.

I’ve mentioned that Swedish rape statistics are the highest in Europe. The claim is frequently made, to be sure, that since Sweden defines rape more broadly than most other countries, the actual incidence of rape there is probably not significantly higher than elsewhere in Europe. But Swedish authorities’ cagey approach to the collection and dissemination of rape statistics has led some informed observers to wonder whether the situation isn’t even worse than the official numbers suggest. Indeed, a reputable Swedish journalist told me the other day that the actual number of rapes may be several times higher than the government lets on.

His logic is as follows: yes, Sweden does define rape quite broadly. But what about violence? Noting that definitions of violence vary little from one European country to another, he pointed out that the annual number of reported acts of violence in Sweden (about 110,000 offenses out of a population of 9.5 million) dramatically exceeds the comparable figure for neighboring Denmark (about 17,000 offenses out of a population of 5.5 million). This being the case, he concluded, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the number of rapes in Sweden is higher than that in Denmark by a comparable margin.

For further insight, the journalist pointed me to an item that appeared on a Swedish blog last August. Years ago, the blog noted, Sweden’s National Crime Prevention Council issued a report on rapes committed in Sweden between 1985 and 1989. It categorized the perpetrators by country of origin; even then – a quarter of a century ago, when the number of Muslims in Sweden was a fraction of what it is today – only 39% of rapists were ethnically Swedish.

Since then, both the immigrant population and the incidence of rape have skyrocketed in Sweden. But when a follow-up report on rape statistics was issued in 2005, it included a note explaining that this time around, the National Crime Prevention Council had decided that a “detailed analysis” of perpetrators’ ethnic backgrounds was “not meaningful.” What was missing from the report, however, wasn’t just “analysis”; it was the information itself – the raw data on rapists’ ethnicity – which had, in fact, been collected, but which officials chose to suppress.

You’d expect that decent, self-respecting people who’ve held public office in Sweden in recent decades would be ashamed of what they’ve allowed to happen to countless girls and women on their watch –  ashamed to be part of a system that’s pampered rapists and covered up the scale of their transgressions. But such is the mentality of Swedish elites that they’re genuinely proud of what they’ve done. In their view, their lenient treatment of the Bashirs, Mohammeds, and Mehmets marks them as civilized, noble, humane. And, for them, that’s what counts.

Yet for people in positions of responsibility to refuse to take responsibility for the welfare of the innocent – and for the appropriate punishment of the guilty – is, of course, a mark not of civilization but of the utmost decadence. By treating rape as an offense barely more serious than littering or jaywalking, Swedish legislators and judges think they’re modeling virtue, healing souls, giving a helping hand to misguided “youths”; in fact the proper term for what’s going on here isn’t “helping” – it’s “aiding and abetting.”

So the next time you read about young Muslims in Sweden torching cars, homes, shops, schools, police stations, and so forth, feel free to comfort yourself by thinking: “Well, at least they’re not committing rape.” Such, alas, are the feeble consolations offered up by these twisted times.

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