Back in september 2017, Swedish news station Sveriges Radio reported that a woman in her 40’s had been subjected to a violent rape “in the night of Saturday to Sunday.” The story, devoid of detail, was that the woman had been walking in Norrliden, a part of the town of Kalmar. She was then approached by three men, who stopped her and raped her. Only described as “between 20 and 30,” police asked witnesses to come forward with information of all movements in the area between 2:00 and 3:00 that night.

In an article in Expressen, police spokesman Robert Loeffel was quoted as saying that it was unclear if the three knew each other:

I want to stress that the public should not focus on three offenders. There may have been two in the beginning, being joined by a third, or any other constellation. We are looking for all tips about unknown men who moved about in the area that night.”

As Expressen writes, after the initial reports, not much was heard for several months, until in February 2018 a first suspect was arrested, quickly followed by a second. After five months, newspaper Östra Småland reported, on Friday 16 February, a man was arrested, only described as having been born in 1999. On Wednesday 21 February a second suspect was arrested, who curiously, was also and only reported to be 18 years old. A date for the trial was set and the news dries up again.

Only after the court reaches a verdict on 25 April, almost two months after the reported start of the trial, reporting seems to pick up again. An article on 24Kalmar, a local news site, confirms both that the court found there were three perpetrators, and that the police have been unable to track the third suspect down. The two who have been found, are both convicted. One to eleven months in youth care for aggravated rape. The other receiving 14 months for aggravated rape, simple theft and drug-related crimes. 24Kalmar also reveals that the two, who were born in Afghanistan, will be deported after serving their time.

According to 24Kalmar, the two convicted men claimed that the woman had been a willing participant in the gang rape. The court, however, found this unconvincing. Moreover, photographs made during the rape show, according to the court, “the men’s remarkable ruthlessness and cruelty.

More details are only available from Samhällsnytt. Apparently quoting from the verdict (Kalmar District Court case B 3154-17), the article, the only one to do so, gives details about the attack. How the perpetrators, named as Mohammad Gul Norl and Bagher discussed assaulting the woman between the three of them within earshot of the woman. That she is a mother and suffers from type 1 diabetes, actually having a low at the time of the attack. The devastating effect the assault had on her.

Samhällsnytt is also alone in pointing out that Mohammad and Bagher’s failure to help with identifying the third offender was not considered by the court a ground for firmer punishment. While the court has decided they should be deported, the question remains if the decision will be enforced. In the first case, it is as simple a matter of withdrawing asylum. In the second case, that isn’t even necessary, as he had already been refused asylum. Then again, Bagher shouldn’t have been in Sweden at the time of the rape anymore in the first case.

Convicted rapist Mohammad Gul Norl in 2016, aged 15, pictured in a human interest story by Barometern

In a stark comment on the role of the media, Samhällsnytt points out the fact that local newspaper Barometern wrote a piece on one of the rapists, Mohammad. Back in January 2016, it described him – using his full name and picture – as a 15-year-old boy, afraid of the Taliban and looking forward to going to school. Less than three years later, in the same paper, Mohammad Gul Norl is reduced simply to an “18-year-old“. His victim nothing more than “the affected woman.