Teen girls convicted for harassing refugees

Two teenage girls have been convicted for their role in terrorizing refugees in Vännäs in northern Sweden last May in what was described at the time as a “lynch mob”.

The girls, aged 16 and 17 when the incident took place, were sentenced to juvenile care by the district court in Umeå for harassment and vandalism, Sveriges Radio (SR) reports.

The charges stem from a May 9th incident in which a group of 30 to 50 young people shouted and threw stones at an apartment building housing a large number of refugee tenants, predominantly from Iraq.

Authorities decided to evacuate about 40 refugees to avoid potential violence. Within two weeks, nearly half of the refugees had decided to leave the area permanently.

According to the Västerbotten-Kuriren newspaper, the incident stemmed from a dispute involving a group of local youths who confronted a refugee boy about the alleged assault of a local girl.

Tensions from the school yard confrontation escalated over several days, culminating in the assembling of what police described as a “lynch mob” outside the apartment building.

While dozens of young people were involved in the incident, prosecutors only succeeded in bringing charges against the two girls.

During the trail, prosecutor Lotta Sundström admitted that she wished she could have charged more people in connection with the incident.

“It’s not at all satisfying. We would have liked to have been able to connect more people to the crime, but we’ve failed to do so in our investigation,” she told SR.

The younger of the girls confessed that she threw rocks at the window of an apartment where a refugee family lived, but she denied her acts were racially motivated.

The older girl, however, didn’t admit to having any roll in the harassment or vandalism.