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Date set for verdict in asylum home murder trial in Sweden

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Date set for verdict in asylum home murder trial in Sweden
The accused in court with a member of his legal team. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT
16:30 CEST+02:00
The trial of a man accused of killing a worker at a home for young refugees earlier this year has ended.

Alexandra Mezher, 22, was stabbed to death at an asylum home for young people in Mölndal last January. The incident was covered extensively in the international media, and stoked tensions in Sweden over the refugee crisis.

A resident at the home is accused of murdering her. He was arrested by police who arrived at the scene of the fatal knife attack on January 25th after other residents restrained him and raised the alarm.

The man, who has not denied attacking Mezher but says he has no memory of it, was remanded in custody by Gothenburg District Court on Monday. The court said it would announce the verdict and sentence on August 8th.

According to a court psychiatric evaluation carried out during the course of the trial, the man suffers from a serious mental illness. Experts have concluded that if found guilty, he should be sentenced to psychiatric care in a closed facility for criminal offenders rather than jail.

However, the prosecutor urged the court on Monday not to take the report into account.

"He has had the ability to realize what his actions meant and has had the ability to adapt his behavious," said prosecutor Linda Wiking, who also asked for the man to be deported from Sweden.

"It is completely clear that he should leave the country with a ban on returning," she said.

The man's age has also been a point of contention during the trial. According to the prosecutor an examination of his teeth shows that he is at least 21 years old. However, the suspect himself claims to be 15. If he is found to be aged 18 or over he will be sentenced as an adult under Swedish law.

Questions have been raised over security in Sweden's care sector as a result of the stabbing, with one trade union complaining of deteriorating safety for employees in recent years.

“There are many work places where security and staffing levels are too low,” Veronica Magnusson, chairperson of trade union Vision told news agency TT last month.

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