Swedish police on Monday ordered an investigation into allegations that officers covered up accusations of sexual assault by mostly migrant youths at a music festival in Stockholm, a scandal that drew criticism from the prime minister.
There were 38 reports of rape and sexual assault filed after the We Are Sthlm festival in 2014 and 2015, according to police, in a case that mirrors the assaults on New Year’s Eve in the German city of Cologne.
The allegations were first made public in a report by the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, citing internal police memos.
“We certainly should have publicly released this information, no doubt. Why it did not happen we simply do not know,” police spokesman Varg Gyllander told AFP Monday.
Dagens Nyheter reported that as many as 50 Afghan refugees were suspected of the attacks, but the police did not cofirm this number.
Documents sent by police to AFP detail allegations of 17 sexual assaults and one rape during the 2014 music festival, and 19 sexual assaults and one rape in 2015.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven on Monday was critical of the police and their handling of the incident.
“It’s a double betrayal of these young women,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told Expressen newspaper. “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.”
“I feel a very strong anger that young women are not able to go to a music festival without being offended, sexually harassed and attacked,” Lofven added.
“It is a major democratic problem for the whole of our country,” he said of the police failure to release timely information of the incidents to the public.
Authorities have promised a full investigation.
The news emerged after reports of New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne, where more than 500 women were allegedly sexually assaulted or robbed by men of foreign origin including recently arrived refugees, according to German authorities.