Hundreds of conscripts sent home over abuse
Some 500 conscripted soldiers have been sent home in Sweden after it emerged that many were subjected to serious malpractice including food and sleep deprivation, and were forced to train despite injuries and illnesses.
On Tuesday, Sweden’s Conscription Council, an organization representing conscript troops, told local media that there had been serious irregularities at the army’s Command Regiment in Enkoping. This had been established in October, they said, and included the systematic collective punishment of soldiers.
The story was first reported on Tuesday by Dagens Nyheter, which, citing sources, said that conscripts had been forced to participate in activities despite injuries and illnesses. It was also reported that conscripts were deprived of food and sleep, as well as being subjected to “inappropriate jargon” and sexist language during training.
The Conscription Council’s communications manager, Olof Warmlander, told SVT that officers had ridiculed the complaints of conscripts when the issues were previously raised.
The regiment has since admitted its failings. “Conscripts have experienced that there has been abusive behavior and jargon, both among conscripts but also by officers. We have worked with this for several years through training, but the problem remains,” the regiment’s communications manager, Therese Timpson, told SVT.
She added that interviews had taken place and a report on the issue had been received last week.
The 500 conscripts have now been sent home so that officials can work on the issues for three days, national broadcaster SVT reported.
The regiment has also appointed a working group and will develop a plan for how training can be conducted in a better way next year. Officers are also receiving extra training to ensure the abuses are not repeated.