Southern Ostrobothnia police are investigating an alleged case of aggravated assault on a young man of foreign background, who ended up in hospital and whose car was totally destroyed as a result of harassment by a group of Finnish youths in Teuva. "Kill this mamu," the alleged assailants yelled at the victim.
Police said in a press release that a person has been arrested in connection with the facts and the case is being investigated a an "aggravated assault", but so far they have refused to include the racist background behind the assault in the investigation.
The events occurred on the night of Friday 5 to Saturday 6 June in Teuva, a small municipality of just 5,000 inhabitants located on the western coast of Finland, halfway between the cities of Vaasa and Pori. A place where the presence of people of foreign origin is rare.
Sat on his car
The victim is an 18-year-old boy, Fares Al-Obaidi, who on Friday night traveled from his place of residence, in the nearby municipality of Kristiinankaupunki, to a cottage in Teuva where he met with some friends. There, at some point a dispute began with some young people from the town, after which he and his friends decided to leave the cabin and go to the center of the town.
They made a stop at the grill yard, where - according to the story the victim told to Iltalehti - some local youths began to harass him. Some of them sat on top of his car and others started kicking it.
Al-Obaidi decided then to leave the place, although the others tried to stop him. His intention was to return to Kristiinankaupunki, but he told his friends that he would first drop them back at the cottage.
Chased and thrown into a ditch
When they started the route, they noticed that several cars were following them along a small cottage road. The pursuers tried to make dangerous overtaking and force him to stop. Those maneuvers, he said, became even more dangerous when they entered a larger road.
"We called the police as soon as they started following us, but it took a really long time for them because the police came from Kauhajoki. We drove for a couple of minutes. Then came a BMW, which parked across the road," he told Iltalehti.
The roadblock forced him to drive into a ditch.
"After that, a large number of people came out of the cars that followed us. There were men and women of different ages among them. They got on top of my car and broke the glasses. And finally, they caught me," he told MTV News.
"Good that you are dying"
Al-Obaidi assures that he received blows all over his body, while the attackers shouted "kill this mamu".
"I was beaten on the ground. Finally, they grabbed me by the neck so I could no longer breathe. I shouted I could not breathe anymore, and one of them replied 'good that you are dying'," he continued.
His ordeal ended when the police arrived at the place. The beaten young man was taken by ambulance first to Seinäjoki and then to Vaasa hospital. When he talked to MTV, he said he is still recovering of the injuries and that he did not know his attackers.
One paragraph in police bulletin
Despite the seriousness of the events, the next day the Southern Ostrobothnia police hardly dedicated a paragraph to the case in their daily bulletin.
The writing of the text also appears to be intended to present the events as a regular dispute between youth groups. The police note does not even mention that the victim was a single person of foreign origin and that the attackers were a group.
The case only became national news after a Finnish private person decided to explain it on Facebook.
According to this person's account, everything started when the attackers tried to harass and challenge a Finnish man and Al-Obaidi defended him. This person - who claims to know the victim's family - also noted that in the end, the assailants only retaliated against the man with immigrant-background.
*All photos shown in this article by Mari Aaltola.