Hate Crimes in Sweden: Why It May Get Worse
By Salimonu Kadiri
(A letter written By Salimonu Kadiri to Adeola Aderounmu before the recent terrorist attack by a Swede in the town of Tröllhatan).
Nigerians belong to the black race and with the resurrection of Nazism in Europe and upsurge of neo-third Reich politicians who are not only represented in Parliaments but are in coalition government in some countries, the personal security of Nigerians like any Black person in Europe is constantly threatened. From the Swedish perspective, there is no day the persecution of the Blacks are not discussed both in the social and print media. The persecutions are based, mainly, on the colour of the skin.
After rolling out drums on October first to celebrate 55 years of political and economic backwardness of Nigeria that have culminated in self-styled Diaspora Nigerian in Sweden, let me acquaint you with the threat post to our collective wellbeing and security by neo-third Reich politically oriented sect called Nazis.
In the Swedish Metro Newspaper of Tuesday, 10 February 2015, a regular columnist, Göran Greider, observed to his dismay, on page six, that in the existing racial-ranking order, Black Africans are rated lowest. Then on Monday, 14 September 2015, the Aftonbladet newspaper under the subtitle– Top –S polititician: It is my right to say the ‘n-word’ revealed that the chairman of Lidköping municipal council, Kjell Hedvall was furious against those he called academic blockheads and politically correct maffians who criticized him for calling chocolate-ball negro-ball. According to him negro-ball is not an insult because “for hell sake, we have never had slaves in Sweden.”
The word negro originated from Spanish or Portuguese and it means black. The word *NEGER* is not Swedish in origin but an adopted and corrupt version of the American word, *NIGGER* commonly used to denigrate a Black person in America.
In addition the corresponding word for *Black* in Swedish language is *SVART* and not *NEGER.* If Kjell Hedvall had called his granulated cacao formed into ball negro-ball one would have understood him as utilizing the Spanish/Portuguese word to name his delicacy even if to the people of Latin countries, it would sound absurd for anyone to eat Negro testicle.
Well, some may say a negative nickname can only cause psychological and not physical wound, therefore, why bother about being called *NIGGER* or *NEGER.*
However, the front page of the ‘Svenka Dagbladet’ of Monday, 21 September 2015, had this headline: HATE CRIMES AGAINST AFROSWEDES INCREASE. It confirmed that Afro-Swedes, to a higher extence are affected by violence than other minority groups, 20 years after the murder of a young Ivorian in Klippan. Under the sub-title, on page 10, “AFROPHOBIC HATE CRIMES HAVE INCREASED SUBSTATIALLY,” a senior lecturer at Karlstad University, Tobias Hübinette, said that ‘Reports of Afrophobic hate crimes have increased by about 41 per cent between 2008 and 2014.
The phenomenon is the same in other European countries. Hate crimes often take place in public places, have often element of threat or pure physical violence and the perpetrator is seldom acquainted with the victim.’ To the question, what do you think about why Afro-Swedes are more vulnerable?, Tobias Hübinette replied, “It is awful to say but mostly black men are easy prey.” From the foregoing, Black people are usually persecuted not because they have committed any wrong-doing but because of the colour of their skin. Relative to Nigerians, let me narrate a relevant case out of many incidents.
On Wednesday, 23 April 2014, Swedish Television Channel 1 announced through the electronic and print media that its special program, ‘Scrutinizing Assignment’, in the evening of that day would feature cases of crimes committed by neo-Nazi groups in Sweden without judicial and legal sanctions.
Later in the evening, Scrutinizing Assignment revealed that in the early morning of 7 December 2013, a Nigerian visitor to Sweden was stabbed in the lower abdomen by a gang of four young boys said to belong to a Nazi sect called Swedish Resistant Movement. The Nigerian named, Fidelis Ogu, was on exit from the underground train station, Hokarängen, in the Southern suburb of Stockholm, and while on his way to his temporary place of abode he was stabbed.
He was rushed to Karolinska University Hospital where Doctors battled successfully to save his life. Although this incident happened on December 7, 2013, neither the Swedish public nor resident Nigerians in Sweden was aware of Mr. Fidelis Ogu’s encounter with the Nazi until when he appeared in the Scrutinizing Assignment TV programm where he showed the scar after the stab in his lower abdomen by the Nazi. In spite of the fact that the attackers of Fidelis Ogu were captured by the public surveillance camera, the police declined to investigate the case against the assailants of Fidelis Ogu on the ground that it would not be possible to prove who amongst the four stabbed him.
Due to the video film from the public surveillance camera shown in the TV program, Scrutinizing Assignment, one of the attackers went to the police to narrate that he was only acquainted with one of the attackers and that although he was with them that morning, he was not a member of Swedish Resistant Movement.
He also told the Police who among the four stabbed Fidelis Ogu. Premised on the insider’s evidence, the Police conducted new investigation and the prosecutor charged the three Nazi boys to court for heinous assault and attempted murder on Fidelis Ogu on September 30, 2014.
On October 24, 2014, a magistrate court in the south of Stockholm discharged and acquitted the stabbers of Fidelis Ogu. The court motivated its decision on p. 36-39 which I hereby summarize. Through the films from the public surveillance cameras in Hökarängen’s center, it is established that the accused had been in the vicinity where Fidelis Ogu had been stabbed.
They have namely passed by surveillance cameras both in the time immediate before and after the time when stabbing must have taken place. It can be established that the weapon which was used in the action has not been found. There is no technical evidence either which connects any of the accused to the deed.
The information which two witnesses have given only confirm that the accused were at the scene of the crime; that they have had access to knife and they have quarrelled with another dark- coloured man who they also chased the same morning.
Concerning information given by Fidelis Ogu in police interrogation, its value, the court says, is limited due to the fact that he has not been heard before the court. Moreover, it should be added that the police interrogations of Fidelis Ogu were conducted in English without a translator; at the time of interrogations, Fidelis Ogu was undergoing treatment for his injury whereby at the first two interrogations, at least, he had received morphine and beside had been under the influence of alcohol; and from the police interrogations, the court concluded that Fidelis Ogu had not been able to identify the person that stabbed him.
The only thing in the investigation which directly associated the accused with the crime was the witness account given by a companion (an Insider) of one of the three accused persons. The court said that the ‘insider’ had made credible impression on it. Since the consequence of witnessing against the accused was enormous, the court believed that the insider would not have given those information if they were not true.
Nevertheless, the court rejected the insider’s evidence on the ground that he did not contact the police until after he had seen the picture of himself, together with the three accused persons, culled from the public surveillance camera film and shown on Channel one TV program, Scrutinizing Assignment. His contact with the police, the court believed, could have been a ploy to protect himself.
His witness was not given under oath. The court reasoned that even if it was proved that the accused had access to knife in addition to their Nazi political convictions, those do not constitute any direct support to the claim that they stabbed Fidelis Ogu. In the court’s opinion, the investigation did not give a clear and unambiguous picture of whom or who had taken part in the deed and how. Against this background, the court does not believe that it could be considered as having been proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the three accused persons were guilty of the crime the prosecutor wanted them to be convicted of.
To dispute the decision of the court, some facts should be highlighted. When Fidelis Ogu was stabbed in the lower part of his abdomen on 7 December 2013, the police had immediate access to the video film from the public surveillance camera where an identifiable person was seen holding a knife and saying, ‘I got that devil.’ Not only that, two other persons with the knife holding man were known by the police to belong to a Swedish Nazi sect called Swedish Resistant Movement.
Yet, no attempt was made to invite the identified Nazi men for questioning, not to talk of searching their homes for the knife used against Fidel Ogu. If the police, from the beginning, had considered the stabbing of Fidelis Ogu as a serious crime, the interrogation of the victim would not have been conducted in English, by the usually experienced Swedish police, without a translator.
The interrogation was informal because the police had already made up their mind not to take the case to court. This view was corroborated in the Scrutinizing Assignment, relayed by the Swedish TV, Channel 1 on Wednesday, 23 April 2014, as the police told the reporter that investigation on the stabbing of Fidelis Ogu had been discontinued because the prosecutor would not be able to prove who among the three suspects stabbed him.
Since Fidelis was a temporary visitor in Sweden, did the police ask him of his temporary/contact address in Sweden and his permanent address outside Sweden? In the Scrutinizing Assignment program, Fidel Ogu was seen showing the scar after the stab in his stomach. How did the Swedish Television, channel 1 get Fidelis to participate in the program?
The prosecutor claimed that all efforts to get Fidelis Ogu to be present in the court for the trial was futile. What did prosecutor’s efforts entail? Why did the prosecutor open the case in court in the absence of the plaintiff, Fidel Ogu? The Swedish State, granted Fidelis Ogu a lawyer to represent his interest, was the lawyer a specialist in criminal law? Why did the lawyer, allocated to F. Ogu, allow the trial to continue in the absence of his client? How could a lawyer in a criminal court case, represent the interest of a client he/she has never met or talk to?
The court had discharged and acquitted the stabbers of Fidelis Ogu on the ground that it was not proved who among the suspects stabbed him even when one of his attackers was seen holding a knife in camera and saying ‘I got the devil’ at the scene of the crime. This extreme burden of proof proclaimed by the court is not in consonance with the Swedish Criminal Code, BrB 1962:700, Chapter 23 paragraph 4, reviewed in Law 1994: 458, dealing with co-perpetrators of crime. Co-perpetrator in crime is illustrated in legal case file NJA 1980, page 606, with an example.
It states that three men had each armed themselves with wooden rods and with these as weapons attacked some other men who were inflicted with various kinds of injuries. One of the attacked men had lost sight on an eye. All the three attackers were convicted for assault. All the three men were regarded as perpetrators of the crime despite the fact that it could not be ascertained what injuries each of the accused had inflicted on each victim. It was considered that the accused persons, after joint deliberation, had agreed to arm themselves with rods and collectively had made use of them. Each and everyone of the accused persons, of course, fulfilled condition for criminal intention.
Another case where the burden of proof of what an individual has done in a collective crime was the murder of two police men. On May 28, 1999, three Bank robbers, Jackie Arklov, Tony Olsson and Andreas Axelsson, robbed Ostgota Enskilda Bank in Kisa of the sum of 2.6 million Kronor. The robbers were chased by some police patrol vehicles and at a village called Malexander, the robbers opened fire and killed two of the police men chasing them.
Even though there was no clear cut evidence of who amongst the three robbers fired the bullets that killed the two policemen, all the three robbers were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder because of their presence at the scene of crime and their collective criminal intention. Similarly, the three Nazis fulfilled the condition for criminal intention when Fidelis Ogu was stabbed and there was no need to prove who among them stabbed him to find them guilty.
Following the decision of the court, many Swedish Newspapers on Saturday, 25 October 2014, reacted against the discharge and acquitance of Fidelis Ogu’s Stabbers. Reading through page 26 and 27 of the Aftonbladet of that Saturday, Oisin Cantwell wrote, “IT WAS, I MUST SAY, VERY GENEROUS OF THE MAGISTRATE COURT TO CONCEDE THE RIGHT OF SELF-DEFENCE SITUATION TO THE ACCUSED. AND IT IS REMARKABLE THAT, IN MOTIVATING ITS JUDGMENT, THE COURT DID NOT EVEN MENTION THAT ONE OF THE ACCUSED DNA HAD BEEN MIXED WITH OGU’S BLOOD.”
The practical implication of detecting the DNA of one of the accused in the blood of Fidelis Ogu must be that the accused had physical contact with him through stabbing. Yet, the court concluded that there was no technical evidence linking any of the accused persons to his stabbing with knife.
However, questions that should cause nightmare for every Nigerian (may be every African) in Sweden are: What happened to Fidelis Ogu after his appearance in the Swedish TV 1 program, Scrutinizing Assignment, on Wednesday, 23 April 2014? Was he murdered after his appearance in the TV, which was why the prosecutor could not find him to appear in court in a case that he was a plaintiff?
We don’t know how many cases like that of Fidelis Ogu happen in Sweden everyday and it is only affected individual who knows and until it is your turn you may feel unconcerned. My purpose of writing this is to alert and remind you that the time is ripe for all Nigerians in Sweden to speak with one voice to the authorities in Sweden and Nigeria about our collective security to life and happiness.
It is around this that we as Nigerians and Africans should forget our differences and stop being petty.