STOCKHOLM, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Five teenagers who were convicted of a brutal gang rape against a minor boy last October are to be expelled from the country, an appeals court ruled here on Wednesday.
The teenagers, aged 16 to 17, came to Sweden from Afghanistan as unaccompanied refugees.
Last October, they forced a younger boy into the woods in the central Swedish city of Uppsala, gang-raped and beat him at knife-point.
They were sentenced in December by the Uppsala District Court to more than a year of closed juvenile detention for aggravated rape. However, the district court did not sentence them to deportation due to the general security situation in Afghanistan.
However, due to the seriousness of the assault, the Svea Court of Appeal in Stockholm ruled on Wednesday to deport all five of the boys to Afghanistan. They are banned from returning to Sweden for 10 years.
"Several factors come into play when you consider deportation. First, it's a question of the seriousness of the crime. It's often said that if the offense carries a penalty of more than one year it may be grounds for deportation. In this case, the crime was far more serious," the president of the Svea Appeals Court, Fredrik Wersall, was quoted by TT news agency as saying.
Moreover, the court of appeal pointed out that the teenagers were unconnected to Sweden.
"In this case the court of appeals notes that the boys do not have a link to Sweden. Then you also try the issue whether it's possible to execute a deportation order. In this case the appeals court does not have its own expertise, but relies to a significant extent on the Migration Agency's opinions," added Wersall.
The court also ruled that the teenagers should be treated as adults and therefore any humanitarian reasons to not send them back to Afghanistan were not strong enough to prevent deportation.
"It's simply because the phenomenon of unaccompanied refugee children is not something that has been around very long. New issues arise in a refugee situation like this. It is not particularly strange then that courts reach somewhat different conclusions," Wersall told TT.
According to statistics from the Swedish Migration Agency, over 35,000 asylum applications were made by unaccompanied refugee children in Sweden during 2015. The country initiated border controls last year to monitor migration flows more closely.