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Swedish Researchers Face Prosecution for Study About Immigrants' Prevalence in Rape Verdicts

© REUTERS / Johan NilssonA police officer escorts migrants from a train at Hyllie station outside Malmo, Sweden. Picture taken November 19, 2015
A police officer escorts migrants from a train at Hyllie station outside Malmo, Sweden. Picture taken November 19, 2015 - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.11.2021
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During the data analysis, Lund University researchers found that out of 3,039 offenders included in the study, 59.2 percent were immigrants, of whom nearly half were born outside of Sweden. The report made waves in a country were mapping criminals' ethnicity has long been considered unethical.
Professor Kristina Sundquist of Lund University, Sweden and two of her colleagues are facing prosecution by the Board of Appeal for Ethical Review, a national body under the Swedish Ministry of Education, over research that found that most rapes in Sweden were committed by immigrants.
According to the authorities, Sundquist and the co-authors of the paper, Professor Ardavan Khoshnood, Henrik Ohlsson and Jan Sundquist, lacked the “ethical license” to handle “sensitive data” on the ethnicity of the criminals accused of rape in the country.
In their report called “Swedish rape offenders – a latent class analysis”, Lund University researchers found that out of 3,039 offenders featured in the study, 59.2 percent were immigrants. Out of these, 47.7 percent were born outside Sweden. It is noteworthy that the data from the period between 2000 and 2015 doesn't include the influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa starting from 2015 till date that snowballed amid unrest in those regions.
Interestingly, the goal of the study was not to target any group or community specifically, but to find out common denominators among perpetrators like health issues, social and employment status. According to Khoshnood, who himself has a foreign background, the results were surprising for the team as well.
Nevertheless, the scientists were also criticised for insufficient evaluation as they failed to indicate how their research should “reduce exclusion and improve integration”.
Notably, Sundquist is one of the most cited professors at the university in the sphere of social research, whereas Khoshnood is an Associate Professor of emergency medicine at Lund University, with advanced degrees in criminology from Malmö University and intelligence analysis from Lund University as well.
Mats Persson, Liberal MP and economic-political spokesperson for his party, has penned an appeal to Matilda Ernkrans, Social Democrat Minister of Higher Education and Research. According to him, not only it is unreasonable for the researchers to apply for a new ethics review permit for each individual research question they want to look at, when they have already gained access to anonymised register data, but the case may have repercussions for the research community as a whole.
“I myself have a research background and have in recent days been contacted by several Lund residents who themselves work within the academy. This is a lot of talk around the coffee tables at the university. If this researcher were to be fired, it would affect many other researchers in Lund,” Mats Persson told the trade newspaper Läkartidningen.
Kristina Sundquist told Läkartidningen that she and her staff had no idea that the research would lack a license.

“Our research group has for more than 20 years worked with the unique register data that exists in Sweden. In all these years, we have been extremely careful about applying for an ethics permit for all our studies. This time we did likewise,” Sundquist said.
A group of migrants off an incoming train walk down a platform as they are accompanied by the police at the Swedish end of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark near Malmoe on 12 November 2015. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.08.2021
'Quite Expected' Swedish Report on Immigrant Over-Representation in Crime Sparks Racism Concerns
The ethnicity of perpetrators has long been a hot-button issue in Sweden. Brå, the country's Crime Prevention Council, has for more than a decade refused to map criminals' ethnicity for ethical reasons. Furthermore, Brå alongside high-ranking Swedish politicians advocating for mass immigration, has long vehemently denied any link between immigration and crime, instead putting an emphasis on socio-economic factors such as poverty, exclusion and insufficient integration measures on behalf of the authorities.
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