Court slashes sentence in ‘honour killing’ case

A Swedish appeals court has reduced a lower court's eight-year prison sentence for a 17-year-old boy found of guilty fatally stabbing his sister more than 100 times after she fled a forced marriage in Iraq, in what the court referred to as an "honour killing".

Court slashes sentence in 'honour killing' case

In a ruling issued on Tuesday, the Malmö Court of Appeals (Hövrätten), upheld the teen’s guilty verdict, but discarded the lower court’s eight-year prison sentence.

The court instead sentenced the boy to four years in juvenile detention because he was 16 when he killed his sister.

As the boy was only days away from his 17th birthday at the time of the attack, the lower court had decided to punish him as a 17-year-old rather than as a 16-year-old, allowing for a longer prison sentence.

The appeals court verdict stated that had the the crime been committed by an adult, it would have warranted a sentence of life in prison.

The appeals court’s verdict also confirmed that there was enough evidence to tie the teen to the murder, restating that the apparent motive was the notion of protecting the family’s honour.

The 17-year-old’s sister had previously fled a forced marriage in Iraq and returned to Sweden. Her body was found with multiple stab wounds in her Landskrona apartment in April 2012.

Representatives of the Malmö-based organization Tänk om, which works to stop honour crimes, told local media at the time that the woman had been in touch with them for one year since returning to Sweden and that she slept with a knife under her pillow for fear of reprisals over her escape.

They claimed local authorities had ignored their warnings that the woman was under threat and needed protection.

After being found guilty in district court, the victim’s brother appealed his sentence and argued he should be set free.

Upon learning of the verdict, attorney Elisabeth Massi Fritz, who represented the victim’s sister, claimed the question of sentencing for violent crimes committed by young people should be tried in the Supreme Court (Högsta domstolen).

“You have to look at what sort of murder we’re dealing with. There are a number of complicating circumstances,” she told the TT news agency.

She added, however, that she was happy that the appeals court had confirmed the “honour” motive for the killing, seeing the verdict as a sign that the Swedish courts are starting to deal with a matter facing many young people in Sweden.

“I’m even more pleased considering all of those who have actually been victims of honour crimes,” she said.

TT/The Local/at

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Skåne murder may be tied to Norway drug bust

A Swedish man who went missing in January has been found dead amid growing suspicions he was the scapegoat for a botched drug deal in Norway.

The 31-year-old’s body was found over Easter outside Hörby, around 60 kilometres from his hometown Landskrona in the southern Swedish region of Skåne.

Police had been searching for him since mid-January, when his family reported him missing.

According to local newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad (HD), the body was in such a bad state that it took a week to identify it.

HD also claimed that police investigators had travelled to Norway to question several people regarding the 31-year-old’s disappearance.

According to reports, those questioned are from the Skåne region and had been detained in Bergen, Norway on suspicion of smuggling large amounts of amphetamine and narcotic pills.

The drug smugglers were stopped by Norwegian police on October 31st. They were travelling in three cars. In one car police found spare tyres containing nearly five kilos of amphetamine and a large amount of pills.

Another man from Landskrona was arrested in mid-February and handed over to Norway.

Soon after the murdered 31-year-old’s disappearance Swedish police received a tip that he for some reason had become a scapegoat for the botched drug smuggling, reported HD.

But the head of the investigation, Kenth Pehrsson, did not want to comment on the case and refused either to confirm or refute whether hearings were held in Norway in conjunction with the investigation into the 31-year-old’s disappearance.

However, Pehrsson did confirm that details of the Norwegian drug bust were cited in the investigation.

“No one has been suspected of any crime,” said Pehrsson.

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