Tuesday, January 26, 2016



Refugee centre worker stabbed in Sweden as police charge teenager with murder
Young asylum seeker allegedly stabs and kills a female employee of the refugee centre in Molndal near Gothenburg

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By Richard Orange, Malmo and agencies11:00AM GMT 26 Jan 2016
A teenage asylum seeker has been charged with murder after a woman working at the refugee centre he lived in was stabbed to death, Swedish media has reported.
The young man who has not been named was taken into custody after 22-year-old Alexandra Mezher died after the attack on Monday morning. Swedish news agency TT said he was 15 years old.
The boy, whose country of origin was not disclosed, was interviewed, along with seven witnesses to the crime, on Monday evening.

Ms Mezher was stabbed at the centre for refugee children aged between 14 and 17 who are without any adult guardians in Molndal near Gothenburg on Sweden's west coast.
The refugee centre employee later died of her injuries after she was taken to Sahlgrenska Hospital. The motive was not immediately clear.
The attack took place at a home for 11 unaccompanied refugee youth run by a company called Living Nordic in a converted hotel in Molndal, a suburb of Gothenburg.
Police said on Tuesday that two of the 11 residents at the home had managed to overpower the youth by the time police arrived.
"It says in the police report on the event that two guys held him down. That's an extremely good intervention," police spokesman Peter Adlersson told Expressen newspaper. "If he had been planning to injure more people, they prevented it. It's very easy to get wounded oneself if one intervenes in this way. We are extremely grateful for those who did this."
"It is obvious that the migrant situation is a great strain. It has become clear that the situation is completely unsustainable."
Police union director Lena Nitz
Swedish media reported that Ms Mezher's family was originally from Lebanon. A cousin described her as an "angel", adding: "It is so terrible. She was a person who wanted to do good, who wanted to be good.
"And then he murdered her when she was doing her job. We have cried a lot. She was such a nice person, warm and happy."
Police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg warned of the increase in similar incidents on Monday as the Swedish prime minister spoke of "a great worry" among people in the country.
“It was messy, of course: a crime scene with a lot of blood. The perpetrator had been overpowered by other residents," he said.
"These kinds of calls are becoming more and more common. We're dealing with more incidents like these since the arrival of so many more refugees from abroad," added Mr Fuxborg as Sweden struggles with a record influx of migrants and asylum seekers.

According to the Swedish Migration Agency, the number of threats and violent incidents at asylum facilities more than doubled from 2014 to 2015 as Sweden witnessed a record number of migrant arrivals.
In 2014, there were 148 incidents and in 2015 that number jumped to 322.
But arson attacks targeting asylum shelters have also surged, with at least two dozen centres reduced to ashes or damaged by fire last year.
Mr Lofven rushed to the asylum centre just hours after the attack, in an unusual step which underlines how much his government fears being punished by voters for its handling of last year’s refugee crisis.
“This is a tragedy. It is a terrible crime,” he said. “I think that a lot of people in Sweden feel a great worry that there might be more similar cases after Sweden took in so many unaccompanied children and youth”.
The attack came shortly after Dan Eliasson, Sweden’s national police commissioner, handed an open letter to Sweden’s government calling for 2,500 additional police officers and 1,600 extra civilian staff to make up for those taken up by policing asylum seekers and asylum centres.
“We need to be there often, there are fights and disturbances,” Mr Eliasson told Swedish Radio of the centres. “We have placed police officers at the border controls. Unrest at the asylum accommodation centres has eaten up police resources.”
Staffan Alexandersson, the social worker employed by Living Nordic to look after the home, said that the stabbing was the first event of its kind in the more than one and a half years since it opened.
“We were surprised, absolutely shocked,” he said. “Most of the people who come to our camps are very friendly. Sometimes teenagers squabble and argue, but that’s all. We’ve never had any violence against personnel.”
A Police officeer is seen outside a home for juvenile asylum seekers in Molndal in south western Sweden (Photo: AFP)
Also weighing on police resources are border controls introduced on Jan 4 and a higher national terrorist threat level after the Paris attacks in November.
"Many of the problems we are now facing help to prove the point that Swedish police have long been underfunded and under-staffed," police union director Lena Nitz, told TT.
"It is obvious that the migrant situation is a great strain. It has become clear that the situation is completely unsustainable."
The police request for more resources comes as greater attention is being focused on allegations of violence by young migrants across Europe, with some countries expressing doubt about their ability to integrate them into society.
Like the rest of Europe, Sweden has been struggling with the continent's biggest migration crisis since the Second World War.
After starting the year with Europe’s most liberal immigration and asylum regime, the country’s Social Democrat-Green coalition in November moved suddenly to tighten asylum and border rules to stem flows as high as 10,000 new arrivals a week.
The U-turn was so dramatic that Åsa Romson, the green party leader and environment minister, visibly fought back tears during the announcement.
The number of new arrivals has since dropped dramatically, to just 771 over the past week.
It has also tightened its asylum rules to curb the migrant flow.


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