Investigation of alleged rape on Gotland closed

The investigation into the alleged gang rape of a woman on the Swedish island of Gotland last October has been closed and the men who were accused are no longer suspected of any crime, the Swedish Prosecution Authority (Åklagarmyndigheten) has announced.

Investigation of alleged rape on Gotland closed
Visby, Gotland. Photo: Roger W/Flickr creative commons

Five men were arrested in October over the alleged rape of a woman in the mediaeval town of Visby, Gotland, but they were later released after the then prosecutor judged there was not enough evidence to have them remanded in custody.

On Wednesday, the preliminary investigation into the alleged rape was closed, as it could not be proven that a crime took place.

“There could not be a conviction, I’m absolutely certain about that. And as a result I’ve ended the investigation. This was the only conclusion possible,” vice chief prosecutor Åke Olsson told The Local.

Olsson took over the investigation from previous prosecutor Mats Wihlborg, who left after claiming that several people had turned up outside his place of residence following the release of the men from custody.

“I have investigated this over quite a long time now. I’ve had good police resources made available to the inquiry, and I also want to emphasize that I share the previous prosecutor’s assessment when he released these five people freely, that was the right decision,” Olsson noted.

Material from the property where the woman alleged a rape had taken place was examined during the investigation, and samples were also taken from both her and the men then analyzed.

“The important thing is that when you investigate a serious crime, as a prosecutor you need to build an understanding as best as possible of what has happened and what has not happened,” Olsson explained.

“If it’s a question of a sex crime analyzing samples can be a way of investigating who has had sexual relations. With a violent crime, you can study blood trails, injuries, etc. And you can also do that in a rape investigation,” he added.

Several witness accounts were heard during the investigation but there were no witnesses at the scene when the reported incident unfolded, only those who had met the accuser before and after. Several hearings of both the woman and the men took place.

“The incident took place over the course of around an hour’s time, and there were six people in the building. When their information was juxtaposed, it didn’t provide a clear picture of what occurred. How people got in contact, what they done, what they said,” Olsson said.

The investigation could not prove that any of the men forced the woman to perform a sexual act, either through violence or under threat, Åklagarmyndigheten wrote on its website.

The case caused tension on Gotland, with Sweden’s national police sending backup to the island to help cope with unrest.

A number of protests took place, including one held by far-right groups following claims that the men are asylum seekers, and a rival demonstration by left-wing, pro-immigration parties.