Swedish authorities have arrested three members of an Ethiopian family living in the Stockholm municipality of Nacka on suspicion of having been involved in the honor killing of a young female family member.
The three suspects are the mother, brother, and cousin of a 14-year-old girl who was found dead in her home in Nacka on Thursday, May 19th. Although family members of the deceased teenager told investigators that the girl had taken her own life, inconsistencies in their stories, forensic evidence, and hidden evidence all aroused suspicions and the trio was taken into police custody some days later, Expressen reports.
Upon further investigation—which, in addition to a forensic pathology analysis, included the interrogations of the three suspects—the theory that the family members had staged the young girl’s suicide to conceal the true nature of the murder became increasingly plausible and murder charges were filed.
In addition to providing contradicting statements as to what had happened on the day of the young girl’s death, the suspects were also found to have hidden the key evidence, including the victim’s mobile phone and objects allegedly used in her ‘suicide.’ Furthermore, the forensic pathologist who analyzed the victim’s body told authorities that the family’s members account of the alleged suicide simply did not correspond to the injuries the young teenage girl had sustained.
Authorities suspect that the alleged honor killing was motivated by the fact that the girl had been spending time with her friends after school—something that is believed to have greatly displeased certain members of the family. Testimony from police investigations also revealed that the girl’s school had expressed concern for her safety on several occasions before the alleged murder, including on the day before her death, when she was reported ‘sick.’
At their arrangement in Stockholm last week, all three suspects denied any wrongdoing.
Although precise statistics related to honor killings and honor crime are difficult to come by since they’re often recorded as simple murders or domestic violence, experts say honor killings have been on the rise in Europe for nearly two decades. They have linked the problem to immigrant populations from so-called ‘honor cultures.’
In the fall of 2019, The Swedish Police Authority, the country’s national police force, began keeping track of honor-related crimes. Two years later, some 4,500 honor-related crimes had been recorded in the law enforcement agency’s database.
Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.