Young rapist gets jail time, expulsion

But international law may prevent the young man who raped a ten-year-old girl last year from being returned to Somalia

The 17-year-old boy who was convicted earlier this year of raping a ten-year-old girl and attempting to rape a nine-year-old girl in the Jutland village of Gullestrup has received a six-year jail sentence to be followed by permanent expulsion.

The boy, who is of Somali heritage, showed no sign of emotion as judge Peter Bredahl read out the decision in the Herning Municipal Court yesterday.

The boy had been arrested in November last year after the attacks in a wooded area near the girls' home.

Defence lawyer Jeppe L. Jepsen wasn’t surprised over the verdict, but questioned the severity of the sentence and is considering an appeal.

State prosecutor Jacob Balsgaard was satisfied with the decision after arguing it he should serve between six and eight years before being expelled permanently.

But whether the boy will actually be expelled is another matter. After he serves his jail sentence, the immigration authorities will decide whether Somalia is safe enough or the boy to reside in.

Sending the boy to a country in which his life and health would violate international law. If it is ruled that he cannot be expelled then he would be allowed to remain in Denmark.

And, according to Jyllands-Posten newspaper, before the decision was revealed, Jepsen told his client that, “No matter what happens, you won’t be sent to Somalia.”

Instead of expulsion, the boy would likely remain in Denmark under tålt ophold, in which he would be forced to live in an asylum centre and report regularly to the police.

But this too may not happen. This June the Supreme Court found that an Iranian man – that was held under tålt ophold because he could not be deported to Iran for fear of his safety – was suffering a "non-proportional encroachment into his freedom of movement." He has now been released from the restrictions.

In attendance at the court were a number of members of the right wing Danish Defence League (DDL), many of whom clapped as the judge read out the sentence.

The case has generated a lot of attention in the area, and the Islam-critical DDL led demonstrations in December after the incident.

There were also fears of vigilantism when locals threatened to take matters into their own hands, as it took the police over a week to make an arrest. The threats prompted authorities to urge young immigrant boys in the area to remain indoors.

This story was updated on September 3, 2012, with information about the boy's likelihood to remain in Denmark under 'tålt ophold'. 

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