Mother blames Swedish migrant policy for daughter's stabbing

From MailOnline

By Sara Malm and Nick Fagge

The mother of the young social worker who was allegedly stabbed to death by a 15-year-old asylum seeker at a shelter for refugee children today spoke of her anguish as the family blamed Sweden's migration crisis for her death.

Alexandra Mezher, 22, was working alone with ten youths aged between 14 and 17 when she was attacked at the home for unaccompanied young migrants in Mölndal, near Gothenburg. She later died of her injuries in hospital.

Alexandra Mezher, 22

Alexandra Mezher, 22

Chiméne Mezher, 42, today told how she had lost her 'angel', as a close cousin said: 'It is the Swedish politicians' fault that she is dead.'

Sweden is one of the main destinations for refugees and migrants entering the EU and police warn they cannot cope with the tide of migrant-related crime. 

Paying tribute to her 'angel', her mother wept: 'She was my air, she was my everything, why her?'

'She was not just my daughter, she was my angel. She was a just and fair human being. There were so many who loved her. She was my daughter, my friend.. my mate,' Mrs Mezher told GoteborgsPosten. 

Miss Mezher's best friend-of-eight-years Lejla Filipovic, 22, also paid tribute to the young social worker today, saying the pair were like sisters. 

'She was so goodhearted, she wanted to do so much in life,' she told The Telegraph, adding that she had sometimes worried that Miss Mezher was putting herself at risk. 

'I know that some of the kids aren't in a good place right now, because they came without their parents, so sometimes I was worried, but I knew that she had good coworkers,' she told The Telegraph. 

The teenage migrant accused of murdering a young Swedish social worker at a refugee centre will be stand trial as an adult, MailOnline has learnt.

Authorities in Sweden have taken the unusual step of the 15-year-old suspect in police custody due to the serious nature of the crime. Youngsters are normally sent to a secure children’s home following arrest.

But the boy – named on social media in Sweden as Yousef Khalid and described as being originally from the Middle East – is being held behind bars due to public outrage following the brutal knife killing of Alexandra Mezher.

And he will be held in an adult prison until he goes on trial.

‘A person is criminally responsible when they reach 15-years-old in Sweden,’ a Gothanburg Police spokesman told MailOnline.

‘The boy is being held at the police station.

‘But it is very unusual that children to be kept in custody by the police.

‘However the public prosecutor has deemed this as a special case due to the nature of the crime and will ask for the boy to be held in prison until he goes to trial.’

The spokesman added: ‘He is not known by the police and has not been arrested before.

‘But there is always a variable of uncertainty about these kids identity.

‘We don´t know anything about the boy family. We have not even established his identity with a 100 percent certainty yet.’

Meanwhile police have praised the bravery of the two residents of the migrant centre who tackled the killer, saying their courage had saved lives.

‘The two boys who over-powered the knifeman probably saved lives,’ a Gothenburg Police spokesman told MailOnline.

‘When the first patrol came to the centre they were informed that the boy was held down by two other boys who were living there.

‘When they entered the crime scene they found him on the floor being held by these two boys.

‘They had over-powered him and probably saved the lives of others.

‘It is fair to say that they were really brave and courageous in their actions.

‘We found what we think is the murder weapon laying beside them.’

All residents of the migrant centre, a drab three-storey building on the outskirts of Molndal, a suburb of Gothenburg, have been moved to another location, it has emerged.

A police spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We have seven witnesses who saw the incident and we will talk to them again tomorrow. The 15-year-old boy will be interrogated again tomorrow as well.

‘All the boys who were staying at the centre has been allocated to other centres in Mölndal.’ 

The incident comes amid rising tensions over migration in Sweden. The number of threats and violent incidents at asylum facilities doubled between 2014 and 2015.

Earlier this week, Stockholm police warned that the capital's main train station is 'overrun' by gangs of Moroccan street children, who are 'stealing and groping girls' and have called for more resources to cope.  

Today, Prime minister Stefan Lofven admitted that many people are fearful of attacks similar to the killing of Miss Mezher, because 'Sweden receives so many children and youths arriving alone'.

Sweden accepted more than 160,000 asylum seekers in 2015, more than any other EU state per capita.

Alexandra, of Lebanese Christian origin, lived with her parents Boutros, 46, and Chiméne Mezher, and her two younger brothers in Borås, some 40 miles from Molndal. 

Her father came to Sweden from Beirut, Lebanon, in 1989 and her mother moved there three years later. 

It has now emerged that Miss Mezher had been working alone at the housing in Mölndal, which is home to ten unaccompanied minors.

Despite rules that the staff should work in pairs, Miss Mezher had been working a night shift all by herself and was attacked just half an hour before daytime staff were due to take over, GT reports.  

A colleague speaking on condition of anonymity told GT that staff had previously complained about having to work alone overnight.

'Everyone cried and someone said that this was something we had brought up before, that no one should work alone.'

A spokesperson for HBV Living Nordic AB, which runs several care facilities for unaccompanied minors in the surrounding area, told the paper the rotas followed government guidelines.

Police said Miss Mezher was stabbed shortly before 8am on Monday by a boy, who was then apprehended by other youths living at the centre.

She was taken to Sahlgrenska Hospital in Gothenburg, but died later on Monday as a result of her injuries.

Officers discovered a knife at the scene and the teenager has since been arrested on suspicion of murder. 

Swedish police have today praised the actions of the other children living in the facility, hailing them 'heroes' after they overpowered the boy after he attacked Miss Mezher. 

'Two boys held him down. It is a very good intervention. Had he intended to hurt anyone else, then they have prevented that,' police spokesperson Peter Adlersson told Expressen.

'It is easy to become injured yourself when intervening in this kind of situation. We are very grateful for these kinds of actions.'  

Miss Mezher had only worked at the centre in Mölndal for a few months.

It is is home to ten unaccompanied children aged 14-17, who arrived in Sweden seeking asylum without a parent or a guardian and has provoked unrest.

Neighbourhood-watch groups have reportedly been sent out to prevent teenage girls from being sexually harassed on their way home from the commuter trains from Gothenburg. 

Parents have also spoken out against having their children in the same classes as the immigrants.

But Miss Mezher, a psychology graduate from the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, was driven by a strong desire to do good, and was fascinated by theories examining why some people commit crime. 

She had completed a three-year course in social science for communication and learning and called her dissertation, 'The road to non criminal - a lifestyle change'. 

Written with another student, she researched the factors which help offenders break from a life of crime.

It concludes that to make a lifestyle change and be able to break a delinquent behaviour, 'social workers need to build trust in relationships'. 

Miss Mezher's cousin said: '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.'

Miss Mezher was reportedly planning to return to university to do a masters degree in social science.

The stabbing occurred on the same day as police in Sweden demanded more resources to stem rising violence apparently linked to the migrant crisis.

Police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg, who refused to reveal details of the murder suspect's nationality, 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.' 

National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson requested 4,100 additional officers and support staff to help fight against terrorism, carry out migrant deportations and police asylum facilities.

He said: 'We are forced to respond to many disturbances in asylum reception centres. In some places, this takes significant police resources.

'This was not the case six months ago and it means that we won't be able to respond as effectively in other areas. 

Also weighing on police resources are border controls introduced on January 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 World War II.

A country of 9.8 million, Sweden took in more than 160,000 asylum seekers in 2015, the highest number of refugees and migrant arrivals per capita in the EU.

Out of the 160,000 who applied for asylum, 35,369 were unaccompanied minors. 



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