A regional politician from the populist Sweden Democrats party has been convicted of incitement against an ethnic group after he cited figures detailing the average IQ of South Sudanese nationals. Last week, he was expelled from his party.
Last month, the Nyköping District Court fined Bertil Malmberg €2,400 for a past speech he gave at a regional council meeting where he argued against South Sudanese refugee quotas in Sörmland, claiming that the relatively low IQ of South Sudanese makes it more difficult for them to integrate properly into Swedish society, SVT Nyheter reports.
During an interview with the Swedish news outlet Nya Tider which followed the court’s verdict, Malmberg sought to clarify his statements, saying: “There are lots of those who are now brought here as quota refugees, and I do not think that is good. Not only for society but also the poor people of South Sudan. I have the greatest sympathy for them, they have for decades been employed by the northern part of Sudan which they broke away from in 2011.”
“They have one of the world’s lowest levels of education and widespread illiteracy, the majority have worked as farmers and herders for generations. Placing them in northern Europe is not very wise as I see it,” he continued.
“I had intended to refer to the HDI [development index] from the UN and make it clear that it was about these people becoming impossible to integrate into the labor market, but I never got that far,” Malmberg added, noting that he was interrupted and prevented from finishing his testimony during the trial.
Although Social Democrat Christine Gilljam reported Malmberg to the authorities immediately after he gave the speech, prosecutor Robert Eriksson waited until last summer to proceed with the prosecution of the politician.
Commenting on her reasoning for reporting Malmberg to police, Gilljam argued that the statements he made expressed “racial biological thinking based on the premise that humanity can be divided into different races, where some are more valuable than others.”
When asked what specifically prompted him to bring forward incitement charges against Malmberg, Eriksson said: “Bertil Malmberg has expressed contempt for the ethnic group of South Sudanese regarding national origin by stating that people from the nation have the lowest level of intelligence and the worst IQ or similar expressions.”
In its verdict, the district court stated that Malmberg’s words were “derogatory” and that he suggested that the South Sudanese are “less worthy” — assertions which Malberg categorically rejects.
Despite Malberg contending that he hadn’t “spoken at all about any human value” but instead had “talked about employability,” the court, in its ruling, wrote that it’s “difficult to interpret the statement in any other way than that the designated ethnic group is less worthy than other ethnic groups.”
Malberg said he would appeal the court’s decision.
After the verdict, the Sweden Democrats’ district chairman Anton Berglund urge Malmberg to leave all his assignments for the party, and described his colleague’s statements as an “unacceptable use of language.”
The party then moved forward to expel him.
He told SVT that he was disappointed to find out about the party’s decision via the media.
“It’s sad. After all the years I spent at the party and then being mistreated in this way, I do not think it is fair,” he said.
Regarding the claim that South Sudanese people have a lower IQ, he said: “I’m right, but I should not have used the word IQ, but it’s easy to see in hindsight.”