It was the night between Friday and Saturday January 30-31 that the suspected rape took place on the Finland ferry Viking Amorella, which was on its way from Stockholm to Åbo. A 45-year-old woman is said have been lured into a cabin of one of the perpetrators, and then gang-raped when more people came to the the cabin.
Media, which tends to be overzealous in its eagerness to follow the paragraph of ”the ethical rules of the press” explaining that one shouldn’t emphasize the person’s ethnic origin or nationality if it ”has no significans in the context and is disrespectful”, rapidly made the interpretation that it was important to emphasize that the arrested perpetrators were Swedes.
”Six Swedish men raped woman in cabin”, Aftonbladet declared.
”Six Swedes arrested for rape on ferry”, Expressen trumpeted. Metro had the same headline but with ”Finland ferry” instead of just ”ferry”.
”Several Swedish men suspected of rape on Finland ferry”, DN’s heading read.
And of course TT went along with, ”Six Swedes arrested for ferry rape”.
It seems as if the original assertion that there were six Swedes being arrested, wasn’t the invention of Swedish media but stemmed from statements made by Finnish police to Ilta-Sanomat. Soon, however, it became clear that there weren’t any ethnic Swedes who were arrested. In social media info was posted from Swedes, who had been present on the ferry, that the perpetrators were of Somali origin. This didn’t, however, stop the offenders’ nationality to be shouted from the rooftops. ”Six Swedes” became ”eight Swedes” when more suspects were arrested at the ferry’s arrival in Sweden.
”One informant stated to Aftonbladet that the woman is said to have been lured into the cabin of one of the offenders. Once in the cabin several men joined who pushed her down on her back and pulled off her clothes. Then they raped her, according to the woman’s testimony.” Thus wrote Aftonbladet’s Richard Aschberg and Victor Stenquist on February 2. ”Already during the weekend a total of eight Swedish men were arrested, suspected of involvement in the gang rape”, they wrote in the same article.
At that time it was already known to readers of alternative media, or net forums like Flashback, that the alleged perpetrators had names like Mohamed, Ahmed and Abdullahi. Still, however, most assumed that Swedish media hadn’t lied straight out, simply having neglected to publish the ethnicity but publishing their proper, formal nationality – that they were Somalis with Swedish citizenship.
Now Nya Tider can reveal that this is a lie. All of the four men who are currently in custody, on probable causes suspected of aggravated rape, have Somali citizenship.
Nya Tider has in vain sought out Aftonbladet and Expressen editors, news directors and the Aftonbladet head of newsroom. From TT’s editorial director Mats Johansson we did receive answers, but at the same time he explained that he himself is poorly briefed on this specific case.
NyT: First you wrote ”Six Swedes arrested for ferry rape”. Afterwards it emerged in social media and by other means that these men were not Swedes but Somalis. As it says in the next article: ”Yet another detained for ferry rape” and he’s described as a ”man” of a certain age. Why was it considered more relevant to state nationality when it was assumed to be Swedes?
– I don’t know the details of this, but perhaps you could say that it was a ferry between Sweden and Finland. Typically, with a large part of Swedes and a large part of Finns.
NyT: I would have been able to buy that reasoning on at least some level if it had been Swedish citizens, which isn’t the case. Isn’t it just as relevant if a group of Somali citizens commits a gang rape on a ferry between Sweden and Finland?
– I don’t know what information we had at the beginning, so I can’t answer that.
NyT: Today [Friday, February 6] the detention hearing is held against three of the suspects. Are you going to enter the nationality when you write about it?
– I have other appointments today so I really don’t know. I haven’t been directly involved in this.
We ask Mats Johansson, in that case to whom we must turn our questions, and he promises to call back later. At the time of writing we still hope that he will deliver on his promise.
When Aschberg and Stenquist published their article in Aftonbladet it had, as stated earlier, already emerged in social media that the perpetrators were Somalis. It’s hard to evade the suspicion of an attempt at damage control when the two writers instead began to emphasize that the men allegedly had Swedish citizenship. They even went so far as to falsify what authority people would have said to them.
”She will now request that the matter be investigated in Sweden since both the victim and the alleged perpetrators are Swedish citizens”, they wrote about the prosecutor, Elisabeth Brandt.
Prosecutor: Aftonbladet is lying, the rapists are not Swedish citizens
– Well, that’s what Aftonbladet said, prosecutor Brandt comments when Nya Tider asks if she really said so, given that the men aren’t at all Swedish citizens, with the exception of one of the suspects already released.
NyT: You don’t recognize that you would have said thus?
– No, in that case what I said is that they are resident in Sweden.
Nor Lars Andersson, group manager of the City Police sex crimes group – whom Aftonbladet also referred to in presenting the Somalis as Swedish citizens – recognize that he should have said so, but he isn’t as sure as Brandt that he couldn’t have said wrong.