Sweden Democrat MP cleared of assault

1:00 min

Sweden Democrat MP Kent Ekeroth has had his conviction for assault overturned by the Court of Appeal in Stockholm.

”The Court of Appeal finds, contrary to the District Court, that the prosecution has been unable to disprove Kent Ekeroth's plea of self-defence”, the Svea Court of Appeal said in a statement.

Ekeroth, one of the most senior members of the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, had been found guilty of assault by the Stockholm District Court in June, after allegedly hitting a man outside a Stockholm nightclub in November last year.

While the judgement was welcomed by the party, doubt remained over whether Ekeroth would continue to serve as an MP or on the parliamentary Justice Committee.

The party has previously said that Ekeroth should step down from the committee regardless of the result of today's ruling.

"We feel that large parts of the electorate have lost confidence in Kent Ekeroth due to a series of incidents over the years," party group leader Mattias Karlsson told news agency TT.

If Ekeroth chooses to remain on the committee, that could force the party to take disciplinary action against him, Tomas Ramberg, journalist at Swedish Radio, told Ekot's Isabella Ahmadi.

“The Sweden Democrats’ position to date has been that regardless of whether he is freed or convicted, he should step down from the justice committee,” Ramberg said.

“If he refuses to step down, then the party may look at disciplinary action,” he added.

Swedish Radio later reported that Ekeroth indicated that he would relinquish his seat on the committee.

Ekeroth, who has been an MP since 2010, has been involved in a string of scandals, including the release of a video from his mobile phone in 2012, which purportedly showed a party colleague using racial slurs about a comedian of Kurdish origin.

Today's ruling comes less than a week since the party was hit by a separate row following remarks made by a Sweden Democrat board member at a party conference that Muslims were not completely human.

At the time, no party members present reacted to the comments. Sweden Democrat MP Aron Emilsson later told Swedish Radio News that the party distanced itself from the "reprehensible" remarks.