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KIDNAPPING

15-year-old girl abducted by father and armed men

A 15-year-old girl, taken into custody by social services last week, was removed on Sunday from her foster home by four armed men, one of which was her father.

”I can confirm that we are dealing with a case of abduction. I can’t disclose more than that due to the sensitive nature of the case,” said Johan Frisk of the Jönköping police to daily Aftonbladet.

According to the paper, the girl came to Sweden with her parents a few years ago.

She was removed from her home last week after social services found out that her father had been beating her. Local authorities placed her in a foster home in the nearby community of Sävsjö.

But on Sunday four men armed with guns and axes turned up at the foster home looking for the 15-year-old. After overpowering and tying up the foster parents the men took off with the girl.

”It could be honour-related,” an anonymous source told the paper.

Several police patrols were called out to the area but police are not willing to disclose any particulars about the case at this stage in the investigation.

Neither the municipality authorities where the girl lives nor the administrative court in nearby Jönköping wanted to elaborate on the case when Aftonbladet contacted them.

According to the detention order the father is suspected of abduction, deprivation of liberty, two cases of assault and threatening behaviour. A warrant for his arrest was issued on Sunday evening.

His legal representation could not shed more light on his whereabouts.

”I have not been in contact with him and I don’t know where he is,” said Conny Rydberg, the father’s lawyer, to Aftonbladet.

According to Aftonbladet’s anonymous source the girl could already have left the country.

”It is not unlikely that the girl will be taken abroad,” the source revealed to the paper.

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AFGHANISTAN

Three prosecuted in Sweden’s first forced marriage charge

Three men have been charged in southern Sweden for forcing a 23-year-old woman to marry a man in Afghanistan - after abducting her boyfriend in Sweden.

Three prosecuted in Sweden’s first forced marriage charge
Prosecutor Kristina Ehrenborg-Staffas in 2012. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

The woman’s father and two other men are accused of carrying out a series of crimes against her 21-year-old boyfriend in Lund. The indictment says they abducted, assaulted, robbed, extorted and sexually harassed him in November 2015. 

On the same night as the alleged abduction, the woman’s father is accused of making illegal threats that involved pushing her into a marriage against her will.

“This is Sweden’s first forced marriage indictment as far as I know,” prosecutor Ulrika Engwall told news agency TT, adding that she believed all of the alleged crimes were honour-related. 

Two of the suspects, the woman’s father and a close friend of his, are being held in custody. The third remains at large. 

“The woman did not comply with what the family thought and continued the relationship [with the 21-year-old] after she was married off,” said Engwall. 

Johan Sjöström, a lawyer representing the woman’s father, said his client rejected all of the allegations against him and insisted that his daughter had agreed to the marriage. 

Sweden enacted a new law to combat forced marriage in July 2014. Despite a number of reports being filed, this is the first case to result in an indictment. 

The Prosecution Authority's development centre in Gothenburg has examined the earlier preliminary investigations to see why they were dropped. 

“We’ve been tasked by the government with finding out why there haven’t been any previous indictments,” said prosecutor Kristina Ehrenborg-Staffas.

“The nature of the crime means that there are often difficulties with evidence. Often prosceutors only have the girl’s version to go on.There’s a lack of witnesses willing to talk and opinion is often divided on whether a marriage has taken place,” she said. 

Forced marriages were already illegal in Sweden prior to 2014 but were treated as part of a broader category of coercion crimes. The new law also criminalized a broader range of offences.

Anyone found guilty of forced marriage can be jailed for up to four years. 

People convicted of tricking a victim into travelling abroad to be married off against their will can face two years in prison.