Frenchman in Nobel rape scandal declares innocence at appeal

Frenchman Jean-Claude Arnault was found guilty of raping a young woman in 2011 | © AFP/File | Jonathan NACKSTRAND
Frenchman Jean-Claude Arnault was found guilty of raping a young woman in 2011 | © AFP/File | Jonathan NACKSTRAND

by Gaël BRANCHEREAU
Stockholm (AFP) |

Once an influential figure in Stockholm’s cultural scene, 72-year-old Jean-Claude Arnault was found guilty in October of raping a young woman in 2011 and sentenced to two years in prison.

The case was one of the first big trials to come out of the #MeToo movement, and has left the venerable Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Literature Prize, in tatters.

Arnault, who has been locked up since his conviction by a district court, has insisted the sex was consensual, according to his lawyer.

He was escorted by police to the Stockholm appeals court, which was hearing the case behind closed doors.

“Jean-Claude Arnault insists on his innocence and therefore hopes to be acquitted,” his lawyer Bjorn Hurtig said.

The defence team has asked to call Arnault’s wife Katarina Frostenson, a Swedish Academy member who has rarely spoken out since the scandal erupted, as a witness.

“Frostenson has no credibility,” Elisabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for the victim, told journalists.

“She is a character witness and character witnesses have no place in Swedish courts.”

The scandal erupted in November 2017, one month after rape and sexual abuse accusations surfaced against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

At the time, Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter published the testimonies of 18 women claiming to have been raped, sexually assaulted or harassed by Arnault.

The Frenchman ran the Forum club, which he founded in 1989 as a meeting place for the cultural elite and which was popular among aspiring young authors hoping to make contact with publishers and writers.

The Swedish Academy, which funded his club for years, has 18 members and Arnault often referred to himself as its “19th member”. He reportedly occasionally leaked the names of Nobel winners to friends.

The revelations have left the prestigious body deeply divided over how to manage its ties with Arnault and his wife, with some members quitting the Academy.

His accusers claim the Academy was aware of Arnault’s behaviour but ensured that “a culture of silence” reigned in cultural circles.

Discredited and without a quorum to make key decisions, the Academy postponed the announcement of the 2018 Nobel Literature Prize for the first time in 70 years.

Several allegations against Arnault were dropped due to lack of evidence or because the statute of limitations had expired.

According to the Swedish media, nine out of 10 district court convictions are upheld on appeal.

© 2018 AFP

Latest International News

Top

Thanks for your referral. We have no doubt your friends will love our newsletter as much as you!

Don't forget to verify your email.

to our FREE newsletter
SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter.




SELECT your titles:

South Coast Sun
Southlands Sun


Get regular news updates sent directly to your inbox.

Your source of local breaking news and trending stories from across the country.

Be a part of our growing community

1MILFacebook Fans
98KTwitter Followers
5MILMonthly Readers
12MILArticles Published Every Month
72Local Community Websites
CLICK HERETo view an example of our newsletter

SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter

SELECT your titles:

South Coast Sun
Southlands Sun

Get regular news updates sent directly to you inbox.

Your source of local breaking news and trending stories from across the country.

Be a part of our growing community

Subscribe Here
1MILFacebook Fans
98KTwitter Followers
5MILMonthly Readers
12MILArticles Published Every Month
72Local Community Websites
Your details:


Your friends: