13:43 GMT +319 September 2019
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    Sweden's Prime minister Stefan Lofven attends a press conference at Rosenbad, the Swedish government headquarters, in Stockholm on July 27, 2017

    Posing With Alleged Sexual Harassers Lands Swedish PM in Trouble

    © AFP 2019 / Erik SIMANDER / TT News Agency
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    Swedish Prime Minister has caused a stir in the Nordic nation's social media after photographs of him rubbing elbows with several people convicted of sexual assault or facing sex-related allegations attracted public attention.

    In pictures taken earlier this year, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven was seen shaking hands with Arif Moradi, who heads an advocate group for illegal Afghan migrants living in Sweden. The pictures were taken in spring, when Moradi was investigated for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

    The Swedish news outlet Samhällsnytt claimed that the meeting between Löfven and the Afghan mouthpiece happened at the initiative of Lottie Fallman, a local Social Democrat in Söderköping, the same municipality, where Moradi was investigated. However, she herself denied the information.

    ​Earlier in October, Arif Moradi was handed a conditional sentence and a fine for sexual abusing an underage girl at a Christian youth camp located in Östra Ryds church south of Norrköping. According to the 14-year-old girl's testimony, Moradi approached her several times, trying to grab her breasts. She also described an instance where Moradi tried to assault her at night, when he attempted to undress her. By her own admission, she managed to flee to the nearest bathroom, where she locked herself up and sent several messages to a friend, the news outlet Nyheter Idag reported.

    Moradi, who admitted to having converted to Christianity, described himself as a "deep believer." Because Moradi's age is officially listed as 19, which is considerably higher than a regular confirmation candidate (the camp was dedicated to the confirmation of young believers), he was allowed to join the camp as a youth leader.

    Previously, Moradi had received considerable media attention and was highlighted by, among others, Swedish Radio, Dagens Nyheter and Göteborgs-Posten for his role as a spokesperson for "unaccompanied refugee children."

    ​Moradi, who was staying in Sweden illegally, as the district court ruled, is an established activist who has spoken to hundreds of people during rallies in support of Afghans in Sweden aimed at preventing their deportation.

    Stefan Löfven's press secretary Jonathan Holst admitted to Nyheter Idag that he was aware of Moradi's sentence.

    Weinstein case revisited

    This is not the first time Löfven has been caught posing with people whose reputations have been tarnished by sexual allegations. In promo photos taken by Swedish Radio in 2012, Löfven was seen with star journalist Fredrik Virtanen of the daily Aftonbladet, whom blogger and journalist Cissi Wallin recently accused of rape.

    In a fiery Instagram post, Wallin claimed that Virtanen had drugged and raped her in 2006, eleven years ago. Previously, she claimed an "older media man with power" had sexually assaulted her, without naming names. In her post on Instagram, she explained that she didn't dare to challenge Aftonbladet's feminist profile until now, referring, inter alia, to the sex scandal surrounding US star producer Harvey Weinstein.

    "I cannot be quiet anymore. Should have screamed his name long ago, but he has, among other things, let his agent call my bosses and so on, and dubbed me a 'crazy mythomaniac,'" Cissi Wallin wrote. Back in 2010, she provided graphic details of how a "powerful media person" tried to shove his genitals into her mouth after drugging her, the news outlet Nyheter24 reported.

    Den mäktige medieman som drogade och våldtog mig 2006 heter Fredrik Virtanen. Jag anmälde 2011, först då orkade och vågade jag. Men har inte orkat eller vågat outa. Förrän nu. För ingen har väl missat #HarveyWeinstein —gate. Många av er har nog också sett vad @lulucartersweden berättat om #MartinTimell. Det är toppen av isberget. En glimt av den enorma patriarkala tystnadskultur som råder. Män med makt. Hur de tillåts hålla på. I åratal. Hur många kvinnor kan de utsätta innan de förlorar sina fina positioner? Hur kan chefer, kollegor och vänner som mycket väl vet vad som pågått/pågår hålla dessa as om ryggen? 👿 Jag kan inte vara tyst längre. Borde ha skrikit hans namn för längesen. Men han har bland annat låtit sitt ombud ringa mina chefer osv och dubba mig till galen mytoman. Priset, för inte bara min utan mängder av andra kvinnor han också utsatt för sitt kvinnohat… Priset för vår rättvisa har känts för högt. Men nu finns det inget pris längre. Kan jag se mig i spegeln om jag inte varnar andra, rentav räddar andra från en av alla dessa gränslösa män mitt ibland oss? Nej det kan jag faktiskt inte. Och han får väl kontra med en stämning om han vill. Väljer rättsväsendet att prioritera det, samtidigt som anmälningar om mäns sexuella våld läggs ner på löpande band, då visar samhället sitt svek än en gång. Sveket i att inte ta våra berättelser på allvar. Att inte ens ge oss ens ett värdigt försök till upprättelse. 😨 Hur många sexuellt ofredande män finns det i världen? Well, jag drar i alla fall fram en till av dom i ljuset. Och jag gör det som mängder av så kallade branschkollegor borde gjort för längesen — agerar. För min historia är verkligen inte den enda. Det finns så mycket smuts, så mycket polerad feghet bara man hackar lite i isberget. Och framförallt — så mycket väldigt tydliga signaler om att man överlag värderar vita mäktiga män och deras "anseende" mer än kvinnor de bestämt sig för att göra vad de vill med. Det stora sveket kommer därifrån. Från de som vetat men inget gjort… //stängt kommentarsfält enb pga vill ej ge underlag att säga att jag driver hatmobb/drev. Min historia, hans brott #hansskam #metoo #vågaberätta #womenspeakingup #bryttystnaden

    Публикация от Cissi Wallin (@cissiwallin) Окт 16 2017 в 5:56 PDT

    In the aftermath of "Virtanen-gate," other Swedish women stepped out against rapes gone unpunished.

    "Cissi is not alone, I've heard from so many others about the same man. For years. Still silence, however," Swedish crime writer Camilla Läckberg wrote in a supporting Instagram post, claiming this was a "social illness."

    Aftonbladet retorted with an article titled "Sharing others' information can be libel." Although only references to the #metoo campaign were made, in which women step out with previously unreported rape accusations, Twitter users linked it to the "Virtanen-gate," interpreting it as a hidden threat against Aftonbladet's own readers.

    Sarcasm from Twitter users

    Earlier this year, the Swedish news outlet Fria Tider claimed Löfven to have been photographed with a 19-year-old Somali who had been convicted of raping a mentally disturbed woman in her 80s.

    "He is really good at choosing selfie-buddies, this Löfven," a sarcastic Twitter user wrote.

    "I believe I've started to spot a pattern," another user wrote.

    ​"Löfven with yet another rapist. When will it end?" a third user wondered, re-posting a photograph of Löfven and Virtanen.

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    Tags:
    migrant crisis, sexual assault, Aftonbladet, Harvey Weinstein, Stefan Löfven, Scandinavia, Sweden
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