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Teen tells court of abuse at elite Swedish school

Published: 05 Feb 2013 07:29 GMT+01:00

The five suspects, all of whom attended the Sigtuna Humanistiska läroverk (SSHL) boarding school north of Stockholm, maintained their innocence in the face of charges they perpetrated a long-running bullying campaign against a 17-year-old student.

On the first day of the trial at the Attunda District Court, the 17-year-old described in detail one of the times he was beaten by his fellow students.

He told of being forced to go down on his knees and keep his arms behind his back while the other students threw cheese balls at him that he was supposed to catch in his mouth.

"They threw them at my knees instead of at my head so that I didn't have a chance. For every ball I missed, I received a punch or a kick," he told the crowded courtroom, according to the Upsala Nya Tidning (UNT) newspaper.

He had bruises for two weeks following the incident, but tried to hide his injuries.

"I tried to show that I wasn't weak," he testified, according to the Expressen newspaper.

The five students were arrested in April 2012 for their role in what was described as a case of "severe and violent hazing" and face charges of aggravated assault.

Prosecutor Yngve Rydberg intends to prove that the older students beat the 17-year-old as punishment for failing to be sufficiently obedient when they demanded favours of him.

Late in 2011, Sweden's Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen) slammed all three of Sweden's boarding schools – Sigtuna, Gränna and Lundsberg – over the schools' policies and attitudes toward hazing.

The agency has demanded the schools show what they're doing to combat hazing.

Sigtuna Humanistiska läroverk was formed in 1980 through a merger of Sigtunastiftelsens Humanistiska Läroverk and Sigtunaskolan and currently has an enrollment of about 580 students, two thirds of whom live at the school.

In addition to the King, the elite school was also attended by well-known Swedes such as Olof Palme, banking executive Annika Falkengren, as well as members of the Wallenberg family.

The trial of the five students continues on Tuesday.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

09:05 February 5, 2013 by RobinHood
I went to this school as a young man. Older students threw cheese balls at my knees too; I still have the scars. On Tuesdays, I was forced to wrestle with the school wolverine. Once a year every boy had to whip the naked headmaster with a riding crop while shouting "yippeeekiyaaa headmaster". On St Swithen's day, the whole school was expected to ritually flagellate themselves to within inches of their life while repetitively chanting the Albanian national anthem; I still dread the day Albania wins a medal at the Olympics and I have to hear that horrid song again. As for the incessant sodomy, well I have walked like Zeb Macahan ever since.

But, all in all, I found my schooldays to be a healthy experience which prepared me well for my future career in banking and finance.
10:35 February 5, 2013 by Logic_and_Reason
They are getting a new principal at Sigtuna. Things are about to go from bad to worse.
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