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Foster parents 'hung boys from hooks'

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Foster parents 'hung boys from hooks'
13:42 CEST+02:00
The plight of three young brothers who were allegedly placed in sacks and hung from hooks in the attic of a foster home in central Sweden has led to charges against the couple in whose care the boys were placed following the death of their mother.

The three brothers were two, four, and five-years-old respectively when they ended up on a farm run by a couple from Dalarna in April 2001.

But between March 2004 and August 2007, the three orphans were allegedly subjected to a range of cruel punishments by their foster parents, the details of which only began to emerge when the eldest brother related tales of horror to his new foster family in late 2007.

The boy, who by then was 11-years-old, burst into tears when his new foster mother wanted to talk to the boy after he had misbehaved.

"How am I going to be punished now?" screamed the boy, according to the Dala-Demokraten newspaper.

He then went on to provide chilling details of the torture-like punishment he and his two younger brothers suffered while on the farm.

In addition to being left hanging from hooks for hours without food or water, the three youngsters were also hung by their feet outside of a third story window, as well as forced to lie outside in the snow wearing only their underwear.

The indicted foster parents, a 42-year-old man and his 49-year-old wife, were arrested and detained in January 2008 and have now been charged with three counts of gross violation of integrity (grov fridskränkning), with an alternative charge of conspiracy to commit a gross violation of integrity.

The alternative charge stems from the boys' claims that an older boy who was also staying on the couple's farm also participated in the abuse.

The older boy, who has not been charged, denies the claims, although he admits to tying up the boys from time to time when the four played together.

The couple also denies the boys' accusations, claiming they did their best to give the three lads a good home until they could find permanent placement.

“There is no basis for these charges,” said the 42-year-old man's attorney to the Expressen newspaper.

“My client denies committing any crime. He has a hard time understanding how these children could come up with these stories.”

Following their time on the couple's farm, the brothers were each placed in separate foster families, with each one eventually divulging details of the abuse independently, but in a way which corroborated the others' accounts.

While the indictment is based almost entirely on the brothers' testimony, investigators also uncovered evidence on the couple's farm which strengthens the boys' claims.

Among items found were handcuffs, nooses, as well as traces of fabric where the boys say they had been tied up.

Investigators also interviewed a witness who told of a conversation during which the indicted 42-year-old explained that the couple had taken in the three boys to earn extra money to help pay for his studies, but that the kids were so difficult that he never had a chance to take any classes.

The trial of boys' former foster parents is set to begin on Thursday, with the court expected to hear testimony from brothers' three sets of current foster parents about how the children suffered during their time on the couple's farm.

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