Teen tells court of abuse at elite Swedish school

A student told a court on Monday of being beaten by five other students facing charges in a hazing scandal that has rocked the same prestigious Swedish boarding school once attended by King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Teen tells court of abuse at elite Swedish school
Students on trail over boarding school beating

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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Half of Viking city of Sigtuna were immigrants: study

No fewer than half the population of the Viking town of Sigtuna were immigrants, a new genetic analysis of human remains from the 10th to the 12th century has discovered.

Half of Viking city of Sigtuna were immigrants: study
An 11th century skeleton found in Sigtuna. Photo: Stockholm University
While rough half of the 38 people whose bones and teeth were genetically tested grew up in or around the nearby Lake Mälaren area, the other half came from as far away as Ukraine, Lithuania, northern Germany, the British Isles, and parts of central Europe, as well as from southern Sweden, Norway and Denmark. 
“It was a sort of Viking Age Scandinavian Shanghai or London,” Anders Götherström, Professor of Molecular Archeology at Stockholm University, told the TT newswire. “Anyone who wanted to do something, to work their way up in the church or in politics were first forced to come to Sigtuna.” 
Now a picturesque lakeside town with a well-known private boarding school, Sigtuna was one of Sweden’s first cities, founded in 980AD by the country’s first Christian king Olof Skötkonung. 
It soon grew into a major settlement of around 10,000 people, roughly the same population as Anglo-Saxon London. 
The study, the largest of its kind so far carried out in Sweden, combined DNA analysis and strontium analysis of teeth to build a detailed picture of where the people had come from. 
The results have been published in an article in Current Biology,  Genomic and Strontium Isotope Variation Reveal Immigration Patterns in a Viking Age Town
Maja Krzewinska, the researcher at Stockholm University who was the study's primary author, said that it showed that Vikings had not only been emigrants and invaders. 
“We're used to thinking of the Vikings as a travelling kind, and can easily picture the school books with maps and arrows pointing out from Scandinavia, as far as Turkey and America, but not so much in the other direction,” she said in a press release issued by the university. 
The project is part of the ATLAS-project which plans to use ‘deep-sequence analysis’ to shine light on the demographic history of Sweden. 
“I especially like that we find second-generation immigrants among the buried,” Götherström, one of the project’s leaders, said in the release. “That kind of migratory information has never been encountered before as far as I know.” 
The study found that approximately 70 per cent of the female population were immigrants, and about 44 per cent of the men.
Götherström told TT that the Atlas project underlined the fact that, genetically, there was no such thing as an ethnic Swede. 
“The Swede doesn't exist genetically,” he said, “We've pieced ourselves together from parts taken from the whole world, and the more we study this genetically, the more we see that people have been moving around the place the whole time.”