The Sweden Democrats presented a report on Wednesday showing that of 114 convictions for rape in 2009, 48 percent involved men born outside Sweden.
“This sample is less than half of the court rulings last year,” said Klara Hradilova Selin at The National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå) which compiles official statistics on crimes committed and reported in Sweden.
The Sweden Democrats have gone through 114 district court rulings from 2009 in cases of rape or aggravated rape. 48 percent (or 55 cases) of the convicted rapists were born outside of Sweden, with 39.5 percent of the total born outside of Europe.
The 55 convictions constitute an over representation of overseas-born as a group. There were 648,426 overseas-born males registered as resident in Sweden in 2009 of a population of 9.34 million.
According to Brå statistics men account for 98 percent of all rapes in Sweden.
According to the Sweden Democrats the over-representation is due to cultural differences, and that the view on rape and on women varies significantly between cultures. But Brå dispute that any conclusions can be drawn from the statistics.
“There were 253 court judgements last year, there were 6,000 rapes reported to the police and the Sweden Democrats have chosen 114 cases,” said Klara Hradilova Selin to The Local.
Selin also rejected the Sweden Democrats claim that there is something of a “wave of rapes” sweeping Sweden, with the country enduring the highest incidence of rape in Europe.
The comparison can not be done, according to Selin, the definition of rape differs too greatly among countries. Since a 2005 law change Sweden has one of the broadest definitions of rape in an international perspective.
Sweden Democrats’ party leader Jimmie Åkesson has meanwhile rejected the argument that it is irresponsible for a politician to draw conclusions from such a small sample.
“I think that it is a reasonable limitation. It confirms the same pattern in other reports which, for example Brå has done, and confirms also patterns seen in some foreign countries,” Åkesson told news agency TT.
But Klara Hradilova Selin argues that it is impossible to draw any general conclusions over rape from Brå statistics.
“There simply aren’t any statistics which indicate the actual incidence of rape – it is the crime with the highest degree of hidden statistics and most cases are not even reported,” she told The Local.
The Sweden Democrats have identified the incidence of rape as the “key equality issue of the election campaign” and argue that tighter controls on immigration would help to address the issue as well as placing a ten year trial period for new citizens.
They further propose to raise the penalties for rape and spend 1 billion kronor ($134 million) annually on measures to rebuild risk areas, adding cameras and improving lighting.