Honor Related Violence (Sweden)

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Statistics on Honor Related Violence and Killings

More than 4,000 teenagers in Stockholm are exposed on a daily basis to cultures of honour that involve traditions which run counter to Swedish law, according to an estimate based on a new official study.

Violence and repression are regular occurrences for a large section of 16-year-old school goers in the city centre and suburbs, according to a study commissioned by local politicians.

Ulf Kristersson (Mod), Commissioner of Social Services, is one of a number of politicians surprised and outraged by the findings.

"It's not permitted for adults, not even parents, to prevent children from living full, independent lives," he told Sveriges Television.

The results come from a survey of a cross section of more than 2,000 pupils.

Almost a quarter of female respondents, 23 percent, said they were expected to retain their virginity until marriage and were not allowed to have a boyfriend. Sixteen percent of girls were not allowed to have male friends or decide whom they would marry.

Seven percent of girls and three percent of boys said they were exposed to serious violations in the form of threats and violence.

And ten percent of girls and four percent of boys said their lives were limited to the extent that they could not live in the same way as other people their own age.

The majority of teenagers who matched the honour culture profile have parents born outside Sweden.
'Honour' culture common in Stockholm
The Local, April 14, 2009

Fadime Sahindal, shot in the head, January 21, 2002

Şahindal was opposed to her family's insistence on an arranged marriage, and instead selected her own boyfriend. At first she kept the relationship secret, but her father found out about it.

Fadime then left her family and moved to Sundsvall, where her brother found her and threatened her. She went to the police who advised her at first to talk to her family. She then turned to the media with her story, after which she turned again to the police and was offered a secret identity. By turning to the media Fadime managed to receive support from the Swedish authorities, but she had also made the "shame" of her family public.

She filed a lawsuit against her father and brother and won - her father was accused of unlawful threats.

The next month, in June 1998, they were scheduled to move in together when the boyfriend, Patrick, died in a car accident. He was buried in Uppsala.

Her father forbade her to visit Uppsala, since he did not want her to visit her former boyfriend's grave. Nalin Pekgul, a Kurdish-Swedish parliamentarian negotiated a compromise in which Şahindal agreed to stay away from Uppsala and her father promised not to stalk her.

On 20 November 2001 the Violence against Women network arranged a seminar about the topic "Integration on whose terms?". During the seminar Fadime spoke in front of the Swedish parliament about her personal story.

On 21 January 2002, Fadime was secretly visiting her mother and sisters in Uppsala. Her father arrived and shot her in the head, in front of her mother and two sisters. Confronted by police, he confessed and said to his defence that he was ill. Despite the confession, one of her cousins later tried to convince the police that he had killed her.

Her murder sparked a debate in Sweden about immigrant integration and raised questions regarding Patrick's death.

Fadime was buried in Uppsala.
Fadime Sahindal
Wikipedia, accessed January 20, 2011

Abbas Rezai, beaten with a baseball bat and iron rod, scalded with hot oil, and stabbed to death, 2005

In its judgement, the court wrote that the crime for which the 18 year old was found guilty was deserving of life imprisonment. But the sentence of four years' secure youth detention was due to the fact that he was only 17 when the crime was committed.

The verdict was not unanimous. Two of the judges in the trial said they believed that the 18 year old's mother and father were also guilty of murder. They wrote that who had done what was certainly not clear, but that it was beyond any doubt that the three on trial had planned the killing together.

Abbas Rezai was found dead in the apartment belonging to the Afghan family in Högsby, in Småland. According to the prosecutor, Kjell Yngvesson, the murder was an honour killing, in revenge for Rezai's relationship with the 16 year old daughter in the family.

The mother, father and son were all tried for murder, but from the beginning the son claimed responsibility for the crime. He stated that he and Rezai had had an argument which had escalated into the violent killing.

Abbas Rezai had been beaten with an iron rod and a baseball bat, and hot oil had been poured over him. He was also stabbed 23 times with a 29 centimetre knife.

The prosecutor maintained that both the parents and other members of the family had collaborated in the murder. He demanded a life sentence for the parents and a long jail sentence for the son.
Four years for Högsby murder
The Local, April 26, 2006
The parents of a man convicted of a so-called honour killing in Högsby, southern Sweden in 2005, have been arrested following a decision by the Supreme Court to review the case.
. . .

The court classified the murder as a so-called honour killing as Rezai was involved in a relationship with the convicted man's sister at the time of his brutal slaying in November 2005.

His parents were meanwhile acquitted despite both the district court and the appeal court ruling that their son could not have committed the crime alone.

In his application for a pardon from the Supreme Court, the 23-year-old has forwarded claims that it was in fact his parents who were behind the killing, arguing that he was merely present in the apartment at the time.

In support of his case he has cited the testimony made in police interviews by his younger brother, who was 15-years-old at the time. The teenager spent some time in state care due to concerns over reprisals from his family.

The man has furthermore supported his application with a new statement from the medical examiner and the police forensics team which carried out the examination of the apartment.

Jian, beaten and threatened with death, 2009

Six suspects are now on trial in the Gothenburg (Sweden) court for threatening to kill Jian (19) and her boyfriend Azan (25). The six are Jian's parents, two aunts and two male cousins.
. . .

Sune Johansson said that this case involved family's honor and what happens when a daughter's chastity is questioned.

Jian and Azad's case is one of the few concerning honor related violence which has come to trial.

In the summer of 2007 Jian's parents discovered she had a boyfriend. Since then her life changed around completely: her father drove her to and from school, she was not allowed to go out without an aunt following her. Azad comes from the same city in Kurdistan, but her parents wanted her to marry a cousin, whom she didn't know.

Jian says her parents and relatives beat her, threatened to kill her and cursed her. They called her a 'whore' and told her she was dirty and worthless. Her father told her he'll kill her with a pistol and her mother told her they'll kill her on the spot. They threatened to kill Azad and cut him up in the bathtub. Jian says that the only thing preventing them from doing so was the fact that everybody would then know about the relationship.

Jian and Azad wanted to get married and Azad asked Jian's father for her hand, but was refused over and over again.

The suspects deny the charges and say that the boyfriend manipulated Jian and brainwashed her, and that he wants to marry their daughter only so he could get asylum in Sweden. They admit that they tried to restrict the relationship between Jian and Azan since they thought he was too old for her, unemployed and threatened with deportation, but they deny that honor is involved.

Jian's 21 year old aunt told the police that nobody wanted to do anything bad to Jian and that they would never harm or kill Jian or Azad. The family accepted that they would marry.

The social services took Jian into their custody at the end of February last year. For two months she couldn't meet Azad and then she ran away from the shelter. She was found by her parents and two male cousins. The four were in a car, Jian's mother was driving. She beat Jian with a shoe and threatened her with a broken glass bottle and screwdriver. The abuse ended when the police showed up.

The relatives deny this and the father says that he was so happy to see his daughter that he hugged and kissed her.

The threats against Jian and Azad are considered very serious and according to newspaper GT, even the people around them are threatened.

Young women, stabbed 53 times, November 2010

A man in Sweden has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after being found guilt of murdering his daughter in a so-called honour killing.

Subhi Othman, who admitted to stabbing his daughter to death in November last year, was sentenced Monday to 18 years in prison by the district court in Nyköping, south of Stockholm.

After killing his daughter on the stairs of the family home, Othman gave himself up to the police.

When police arrived on the scene, they found his daughter lying in the foetal position at the bottom of the stairs. She had been stabbed 53 times.

During questioning, Othman claimed he saw no other solution as his daughter was leading what he viewed as an ‘indecent’ lifestyle.

According to tabloid Aftonbladet, Othman began hating his daughter after her husband had filed for divorce. Behind this was a rumour of infidelity.

The 21-year-old woman and her three-year-old daughter had moved from Gothenburg to Katrineholm, in central Sweden, to live with her parents following the divorce.

The court found that the murder had been premeditated and especially brutal.

18-year-old female, threatened, beaten and forced to strip in public, June 2011

A 29-year old resident of LUnd in southern Sweden was charged with threats, coercion, abuse and molestation for beating his little sister (18) in the family home and then forcing her to undress down to her underwear in a nearby playground. The police and prosecution are viewing the incident as honor-related violence.

The brother gave his sister several blows to the face and kicked her in the hip. He threatened to break her arm if she didn't give him her cellphone and told her he would be willing to sit in jail to see her dead.

The woman had been engaged to a man in her parents' homeland, but had left him last year because he beat her.

The woman's mother defends her son and condemns her daughter's actions. she told the police that her daughter had ruined her life because ten police officers had come to the family home because of her.

The brother was in police custody for several days last June. He had confesses to the crimes, but has since then changed his approach and claims innocence. He says his sister had received her injuries, which were documented in a medical center, when she jumped off a roof.

The case was reported to the police by the principal of the sister's school.

Three of the sister's girlfriends will be testifying as witnesses. two of them were there when the brother forced his sister to undress. The brother had said his sister was no longer worth the clothing and jewelry she had received from their parents. His sister did what he wanted for fear of being beaten, but she refused to give up her mobile phone and stuffed it into her bra.

During the conflict the phone rang, which made the brother even more upset and he twisted his sister's arm.
Tvingade syster klä av sig på lekplats (Translation)
Anders Isberg, Skanskan.se, February 28, 2012

19-year-old male, almost beaten to death with metal bars, October 2011

Six men in Hallsberg, central Sweden, have been charged with the severe beating of a 19-year-old with metal rods at a gym in central Sweden, in an attack police believe to be honour-related.

”You don't usually get very far in the investigation of these matters,” said prosecutor Karl-Erik Antonsson to news agency TT.

The six men allegedly beat the 19-year-old so severely with metal bars that he was close to losing his life.

The young man turned up bleeding at the reception of the local gym Alléhallen in Hallsberg in the beginning of October last year. He was quickly taken to hospital where medical staff performed emergency surgery to try to save his life.

Police suspect six men who had been in the gym as the attempted murder took place.

At first they thought that the motive was an underlying vendetta between two families, but as the details of the case unfolded, investigators instead started looking at the case as a honour-related crime.

The prosecutor believes that the men wanted to protect the daughter in their family after an alleged kidnapping attempt.

The prosecutor filed the charges against the men last week under the classification of attempted murder.

Four of the men allegedly deny having anything to do with the attack, while two admit to a certain degree of assault and battery, according to news agency TT.

14-year-old female, beaten with a vacuum-cleaner, stomped on and kicked, February 2012

A teenager (17) from Copenhagen has been remanded to 14 days in custody for beating his sister (14). The brother apparently believed his sister's lifestyle violated the family's honor.

The police were called in when a neighbor saw the girl, who was walking around with very little on. The brother had beaten, stomped and kicked his sister. He also beat her with a vacuum-cleaner. The girl had wanted to invite boys to the family home.

19-year-old female, stabbed 107 times, April 23, 2012

A Swedish court on Tuesday sentenced a 17-year-old man to eight years in prison for stabbing his sister 107 times in what judges called an honour killing.

The teen, who was 16 at the time, was convicted of killing his 19-year-old sister at her home in the southwestern town of Landskrona on April 23 last year.

He had called emergency services and said a masked attacker had killed her, but investigators said his story didn't hold up against evidence found at the scene.

"The court found the man guilty of the murder and that the motive was to restore the family's honour," the Lund district court said in a statement.

It said that "despite the man's young age," it was sentencing him "to a long prison sentence, and has set it at eight years."

The names and nationalities of the brother and sister were not disclosed, but media described the family as being of Iraqi origin.

The sister had told friends and family that she was worried her life was in danger, after she fled from Iraq, where she had been reportedly married against her will to an older man whom she claimed beat and raped her.

Once in Sweden, she contacted social services in Landskrona, but she said they did not take her family's threats against her seriously, Swedish media reported.

The court meanwhile refused to pay damages to the victim's mother and a half-sister born to the same father, arguing the relatives did not have a close relationship with the deceased.
Teen in Sweden jailed eight years for honour killing
Agence France-Presse, January 29, 2013

Young women, lips cut off and eaten, May 2012

A former associate professor at Sweden's prestigious Karolinska medical institute is being held in police custody for cutting off his wife's lips with a knife and then eating them in Stockholm.

According to Sweden's Aftonbladet newspaper, the man flew into a jealous rage over suspicions that his much younger wife had been having an affair.

The man, who is 52, admitted to cutting off his wife's lips in a closed court hearing, the paper reported, saying it was retaliation.

'It was honour related. He doesn't seem to regret a thing. He believes she insulted him,' a source with knowledge of the matter told the paper.

The assault was so brutal that the prosecutor tried to have him charged for attempted murder. But the court sought to downgrade the charge to aggravated assault.

Ingela Hessius Ekman, who represents the victim, said her client may have suffered irreparable damage.

'She has very serious injuries, doctors can not yet determine whether she can be healed or not,' she told Aftonbladet.

'She's in a lot of pain.'

Miss Ekman added that the trial is due to start at the beginning of July.

The man, who is from Iran, was doing post-Doctoral research at the institute in 2010.

He is now employed by a university in Tehran, but still lived partly and Stockholm, where he collaborated with his old research group at the university, and used its email services and library through a 'declaration of association.'