The Swedish government is under fire from critics after giving an Iraqi man custody of children he conceived with a then-13-year-old girl who was raped by the man after being sent to Iraq to marry him in 2007.
The girl, given the name “Alicia” to hide her identity, travelled to Iraq to marry her 23-year-old cousin in 2007 and said she was raped by him on the night of their wedding, Dagens Nyheter reports.
She then became pregnant sometime later that year and travelled back to Sweden where she gave birth to twins in Gothenburg. In 2009, Alicia travelled back to Iraq where she asked for a divorce, which was supported by her father if she gave up her rights to her children under “Iraqi law”.
“After my divorce, my ex-husband’s family came to me. They pushed the children out of my arms, pushed them into a car and left. I just cried and screamed,” Alicia told Swedish media.
Following the divorce, Alicia had been designated the sole guardian of the children in Sweden; but a new Stockholm District Court judgement has given the father sole custody.
The court claims that because Alicia and her ex-husband do not cooperate with each other that there can be no basis for joint custody and Alicia gave consent to allow the man to keep the children in Iraq.
The ruling has been slammed by many including Sara Mohammad from the anti-honour violence organisation GAPF who said: “Society must dare to take a stand sometime. According to me, you are not a suitable parent if you married and had sex with a child.”
“Had a Swedish girl been sent abroad to marry a paedophile, then every social worker and politician had rolled up their sleeves straight away. Every minister and the prime minister would have called it a huge scandal for Sweden,” she added.
240,000 young people in Sweden with migrant backgrounds live under oppressive ‘honour’ culture. https://t.co/adNIukTC0B
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 30, 2017
An estimated 240,000 young people from migrant backgrounds live under the rules of so-called “honour culture” in Sweden.
The Scandinavian country has also seen a number of cases involving child marriage among migrants. In 2016, authorities claimed there were at least 70 married underage girls in asylum homes across the country despite such marriages being against Swedish law.
Last year, a case that is similar to Alicia’s made headlines after a judge ruled that a 26-year-old man who got a 13-year-old girl pregnant in Syria could not be tried for rape because the crime occurred in Syria before the pair sought asylum in Sweden.