An unaccompanied refugee “child” has been sentenced to 6 months of youth detention for raping a 12-year-old girl in Sweden. In a police interview, the Syrian said that he did not know it was illegal to have sex with a child. The teen has also been convicted of other serious crimes, but will not be deported.
The investigation into the case started after Swedish journalist Joakim Lamotte revealed that the police ignored the rape case of the young girl, Fria Tider reports.
After Lamotte’s revelation, a national debate was ignited in which the national police commissioner and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven were involved. After almost a year the research of the case was finished, Lamotte wrote ‘a shame’ in a Facebook post.
Uddevalla District court found the man guilty of two counts of child rape, sentencing him to 6 months of youth detention. This judgement included punishment for threats made by the man to an official and a school-girl. The Syrian has also been ordered to pay the 12-year-old victim SEK 140,000 (13,300 euros) in damages.
During questioning, the Syrian migrant stated that he was unaware that it was forbidden to have intercourse with a person younger than 15 years of age. However, the judge made it clear that ignorance of the law is not an excuse, and therefore this defence had no effect on the judgment.
The age of consent in Syria is 15, per Article 491. Article 491: 1, and intercourse with a minor is punishable by 9 years’ imprisonment at hard labour. However, in many Islamic communities, sexual maturity is informally dictated by Sharia law, which indicates that it can be reached from the age of 9 lunar years (approximately eight years and eight months), and so breaches of Syrian law often go unpunished.
According to court, the man was 17 years of age and came to Sweden from Syria in 2014 as an unaccompanied child refugee.