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Five guilty of hazing at elite Swedish school

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Five guilty of hazing at elite Swedish school
11:02 CET+01:00
A Swedish court on Friday convicted five young men for assaulting a younger student in a high-profile hazing case that took place at the same prestigious Swedish boarding school once attended by King Carl XVI Gustaf.

The five teens were found guilty of assault and sentenced to community service for the bullying of a 17-year-old student at the Sigtuna Humanistiska läroverk (SSHL) boarding school north of Stockholm.

"The punishment for the defendants is a suspended sentence and community service. They must pay damages to the victim to a total of 28,600 kronor ($4,460) for abuse causing pain and suffering," wrote judge Mikael Swahn in a statement.

While the court found the young men guilty of violence against the 17-year-old, the penalty was relatively light

While prosecutors had sought a conviction for aggravated assault, the court argued that since "the violence was not so severe and the injuries were short lived", the former students should only be found guilty of assault.

In one of the violent incidents, the victim recounted that he was forced to his knees and made and catch cheeseballs in his mouth thrown by the other students. If he failed, he was kicked or punched by his classmates.

The five men, four of whom are aged 19 and one of whom is 20, were sentenced to between 75 and 160 hours of community service, depending on their involvement in the abuse.

Prosecutor Yngve Rydberg was satisfied with the decision, but had aimed for a sentence of one year in prison.

"I think this sentence should give school officials the courage to be able to speak out when things like this are happening," he told the TT news agency.

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.

TT/The Local/og

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