UPDATED: A 14-year-old boy stabbed a man in his 20s to death while they were riding on a bus in Bærum, just west of Oslo, last week. It’s the latest incident of serious juvenile crime in Norway, and police reaction is limited because the murderer is so young.
“The case will be investigated in the usual manner,” Police Inspector Knut Lutro told reporters at a press conference following the stabbing just before the Christmas holidays. “Even though he can’t be punished (with time in jail), he is charged.” The boy, who has been in trouble before, was placed in the care of Norway’s child protection agency, Barnevernet.
His victim was a 26-year-old man, later identified as a refugee from Afghanistan, Faridullah Rahmani, who lived with and supported his widowed mother in Bærum. Known as “Farid,” he was described by friends and family as a “popular, smiling and down-to-earth man” who had sought a safe life in Norway.
Instead, according to police, he wound up in a conflict on the bus with his young assailant and two of the suspect’s friends. The 14-year-old has since claimed that he and his friends objected to how Farid was taking video with his mobile phone on board the bus. They allegedly snatched his phone, the conflict escalated and the young assailant’s defense attorney told newspaper Aftenposten that his client pulled out a knife “to scare him,” not to kill him. “He now says it was a fatal evaluation and he is very, very sorry,” attorney Thor Bache-Wiig told Aftenposten. So is the 14-year-old’s family, according to Bache-Wiig.
Funeral ceremonies were held on Friday for Rahmani at a packed mosque in Bærum, with burial following at the Steinskogen cemetery under heavy police protection. His family contradicted claims that Rahmani had been in an earlier conflict with the 14-year-old, calling him “a coincidental victim” of juvenile crime.
There were several witnesses to the stabbing, after which the 14-year-old ran away from the bus but turned himself in to police in Sandvika later in the night, accompanied by his mother. Police Chief Ida Belbo Øystese said the 14-year-old “is part of a milieu that police are following, but when youth are under age 15 it’s limited what police can do. We don’t know why youth have committing more crimes, and more serious crimes.”