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'Dad told me to grab the knife': convicted son

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'Dad told me to grab the knife': convicted son
An image from Abbas Rezai's funeral in February 2006
15:01 CEST+02:00
The re-trial of the so-called Högsby 'honour killing' continued on Tuesday with testimony from the 23-year-old son who claims his parents made him take the blame for murdering his sister's boyfriend.

“They went through what I was supposed to say; that there was a scuffle and that dad was in the toilet. And that I threw the oil," he said in the hearing on Tuesday.

The case stems from the killing of 20-year-old Abbas Rezai, who was found dead in an apartment in Högsby in southern Sweden in November 2005.

Police revealed at the time that Rezai had been scalded with hot oil, hit with a variety of objects, and repeatedly stabbed in the back and chest, with the majority of the wounds sustained after his death.

He was also almost entirely scalped and one of his fingers had been partially chopped off.

The man was allegedly killed because of his relationship with a 16-year-old girl.

Her brother, who was 17 at the time, was convicted, whilst the girl's parents, who were initially implicated, were acquitted, despite police claiming that it was almost impossible that the 17-year-old could have acted alone.

The 23-year-old, solely convicted of the crime in 2006, was recently granted a retrial and is now accusing his parents, saying they made him shoulder responsibility for their deed.

During the hearing, the son was seated behind a screen for security reasons.

On Tuesday he told the court how his father sent him away to cousins in Högsby to pick up the long knife that was later used in the murder of Rezai.

He was also told that his sister and her boyfriend would be coming home and that they would be allowed to get married.

“But it didn't seem like that at my parents' place. They didn't buy anything in particular, no flowers or anything,” said the man.

And when the couple later arrived the father was not polite and didn't greet Rezai, despite him trying to be nice and say hello to everybody.

The parents had then alledgedly asked the daughter when she came home if she was still a virgin and, according to the son, the answer made them angry.

The father then started to question the boyfriend in a manner that frightened him. The son claims that he saw his mother crush sleeping pills in a glass and mix with the powder in a soft drink.

After the father started to threaten the boyfriend the mother came running in suddenly and threw the hot oil on Rezai.

“I saw him scream and start running towards the door. Dad shouted, 'Stop him!',” said the son, according to Expressen newspaper.

At this point the 23-year-old started crying in the courtroom and had to take a break.

When he resumed his story he described how his mother held down the boyfriend while the father was striking him.

“Go get the knife,” the father then called out.

The son brought out the knife but couldn't manage to use it, instead giving it to the father who began to strike at Rezai with the weapon.

"Abbas was on his knees, it was...I can't even describe it," he said according to Expressen.

After the deed, the son was told to rinse the bloodied knife. He told the court that his parents then showered, cleaned their clothes and put plastic bags over their hands to avoid fingerprints.

After the murder the family left the scene by car.

According to the son, they first traveled to Växjö and then on to Gothenburg. On the road between the two Swedish cities the son claims that the father wanted to ditch the drugged girl in the woods.

“We might as well throw her out. She has ruined the family,” the father said, according to the son's testimony.

When the son, who was driving, wouldn't comply, the father was angry with him too.

From Gothenburg the family continued to Malmö and then by train to Denmark. First they were planning to leave for abroad, but then changed their minds and went to relatives near Copenhagen.

"I kept thinking; what happens if we go abroad? If they have done that to Abbas, what will they do to my sister," he said, according to Expressen.

According to the 23-year-old's testimony it was in Copenhagen where he was told he should claim responsibility for the crime.

The mother's lawyer, Carl Olof Wirell, denied that the daughter was drugged with sleeping pills. According to Wirell, the mother also tried to call for help when her son and Rezai began to fight.

“Of course my client was not happy that her 16-year-old daughter disappeared with an unknown man,” he said to the court.

According to Wirell, the mother's reaction was perfectly normal reaction, but that assuming it had also triggered a wish to commit murder was an exaggeration.

However, according to the son, the mother kept her children under tight control and often subjected them to physical punishments.

"My sister and I have lived together and been beaten together," he said in his testimony.

The son was convicted of the crime and has spent the last four years in a detention centre.

It was during his time on the inside that he came to the realisation that he had been taken advantage of by his parents.

"I realized I can make my own decisions. It is difficult to live a lie," he said in court.

According to Expressen, he gave up all relations with his parents but is in regular contact with his sister who lives in Sweden under a protected identity.

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