A boy who allegedly ‘waterboarded’ a Syrian refugee is to be charged with assault as it emerged the victim’s sister had her headscarf ripped off in another attack.
West Yorkshire Police said the teenager has been interviewed and reported for summons over the incident on a school field and will appear before a youth court ‘in due course.’
The boy was quizzed over the footage in which the 15-year-old victim, whose arm is in a sling, is headbutted, then pinned down and squirted in the face with water.
And today it emerged the victim’s sister, who fled the war torn city of Homs with her family, was assaulted on the same day the shocking video went viral on social media.
The girl, who has been subject to so much playground abuse she once tried to kill herself by cutting her wrists with a shard of glass, was attacked yesterday by her tormentors.
The distressing video filmed at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, shows an attacker telling his victim ‘I’ll drown you’ before he launched into the sickening attack.
The clip has provoked outrage across Britain and the 15-year-old boy and his family have been met with a huge outpouring of support from members of the public.
A crowdfunding page set up to support the victim has raised more than £53,000, and the fund is growing minute by minute.
A lawyer for the family confirmed to MailOnline that the boy and his sister have been subjected to so much abuse that their investigators contacted police, the local council and the the local MP.
Mohammed Akunjee, of Farooq Bajwa & Co, based in Mayfair, London, said: ‘We have been investigating this since the family contacted us about the abuse they are receiving.
The boy with a clearly broken arm was approached on the school field as others looked on
‘The boy and his sister have been subjected to so much abuse that we decided to contact the MP in this case.
‘The same day the video went viral on social media of Jamal being attacked, his sister was also attacked.
‘She had her headscarf ripped off in the playground. This is despite us complaining to the school about the abuse.
‘She has also attempted suicide, and tried to cut her wrists with a shard of glass the level of bullying got so much.’
He was then pushed to the ground by another pupil at Almondbury Community School in West Yorkshire
Mr Akunjee said they have contacted the school and the local authority, but have not been given any information on what action was being taken.
He did confirm that the attacker, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was excluded on November 20.
Three other boys that appear in the video are being dealt with by the school.
In statement West Yorkshire Police said a 16-year-old youth has been interviewed and reported for summons for an offence of assault.
The statement said: ‘The incident occurred on 25 October this year and has been subject to thorough investigation since it was reported to us the day after.
‘The victim and his family are receiving ongoing support from police and other agencies.
The boy was strangled as water was poured on his face by the bully who said he would ‘drown’ his victim
‘Safeguarding measures have been put in place for the victim and his family.
‘A previous unconnected incident on 7 October, in which the victim suffered a wrist injury, was also fully investigated at the time.
‘Three youths were interviewed. There was no further police action and the matter was referred to the school.’
The family is believed to have fled from the Syrian city of Homs which was under siege from May 2011 to 2014 following protests against dictator Bashar al-Assad.
The footage, filmed by a friend of the attacker, shows the victim, already with his arm in a plaster cast being targeted on the school field.
The boy walks away, saying nothing and not retaliating to the bullies who attacked and filmed him
The victim, who came to Huddersfield two years ago, is headbutted, dragged to the floor by his neck and then pinned down by his throat. The 16-year-old boy attacking him shouts: ‘I’ll drown you.’
He then tries to force water from a bottle into the boy’s mouth as his victim struggles underneath him.
Why have refugees fled Homs for the West?
Rebels and civilians withdrew from strongholds in Homs in May 2014, surrendering to President Bashar Assad.
The city was once dubbed the ‘capital of the revolution’.
Few people have returned, and large parts of the once vibrant old city were abandoned and destroyed.
Trouble in the western Syrian city began to face trouble in April 2011 when a huge ‘sit-in’ protest in the city’s mains square against Bashar al-Assad’s regime was disrupted by government security forces with 62 people killed.
In December 2011 the city became a a major base for the Free Syrian Army and it came under siege by the Syrian Army and Hezbollah for three years, with frequent bombing and shelling attacks against the militants.
In December 2016 than 2,000 rebels and their families began leaving the last insurgent-held area in the city following several years of combat after reaching a ceasefire with the government.
Despite this, at least 32 people were killed and 90 injured in two bomb explosions in the Zahra district in the middle of the city days later, with ISIS claiming responsibility for the attacks.
Homs has one of the highest death tolls in the conflict, with the Syrian Martyrs group predicting more than 17,000 deaths in the city, not including government forces.
After the attack, the victim frees himself and calmly walks away.
Despite a large crowd gathering, none of the other children follow him as he walks off, alone.
The incident occurred last month but it has now been shared thousands of times on Facebook by people angry at a ‘lack of action by school chiefs’.
Locals named who they claimed was responsible for the attack online, and witnesses said police were at the teen’s house last night.
Family members of the supposed attacker were also named and received death threats online.
A Facebook account believed to belong to the boy features numerous posts shared from the page of English Defence League founder Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.
One of those posts, apparently referencing comments by Boris Johnson about Muslim women wearing veils, read: ‘Should Britain ban letterboxes because of all the trouble they’re causing?’
Robinson was jailed for contempt of court earlier this year after posting videos about a child grooming trial involving a group of Asian men from Huddersfield. He was later freed on appeal.
As the anger grew, a crowdfunding page set up for the victim receive a deluge of donations.
This morning more than £48,000 had been pledged for the boy’s family with some suggesting they should use the money to relocate from Huddersfield where locals claimed the boy’s sister has also been bullied.
The video has been viewed more than 27,000 times and attracted hundreds of comments of disgust from Huddersfield parents.
Tory MP Tobias Ellwood was among those to share the footage, writing online: ‘Absolute disgrace – Please retweet.
‘This bully, his parents, the school where this occurs and the onlookers who fail to step in, all have big questions to answer.
‘To the Syrian refugee – I say sorry. It’s not the welcoming, friendly Britain we are supposed to be.’
Police outside the Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire today
The footage was called ‘heartbreaking’ by presenter Jeremy Vine.
He said on Twitter: ‘I’m trying to resist naming the bully in this film. More important, is it possible to do anything for the victim?
‘A Syrian refugee who already had a broken wrist, apparently from a similar attack. Heartbreaking.’
Barry Sheerman, the Labour MP for Huddersfield, said he has been supporting the teenager’s family.
He said: ‘Video of assault against one of my constituents absolutely shocking.
The victim’s family fled the Syrian of Homs which was under siege from May 2011 to 2014 following protest against dictator Bashar al-Assad
‘Have been supporting the family since it was first brought to my attention.
‘Understand from council that the school have taken strong action.
‘Will be following up to ensure all available support is being given!’
An outraged mother of another pupil at the school said the victim was a ‘nice boy’ who is ‘never in trouble.’
Shanaz Abdullah, 39 said her son Birayar, 17, played football with the victim in school last year.
She said: ‘I know what he has been through.
‘The victim was much younger than my son but there was a group of them who were all from different countries.
‘He struggled to speak English when he first moved here.
‘I asked my son once ‘why is the boy playing with you so much younger?’
‘He told me it was because he was being bullied by other boys and they wanted him to play with them.
‘He is such a nice boy. He is never in any trouble and would never cause anything.’
Syrian journalist Danny Makki said on Twitter: ‘Escapes death, destruction and violence in Syria only to be viciously attacked, waterboarded and bullied at school in the U.K. This makes my blood boil.’
A woman added: ‘One of the saddest things about that video is the way the lad gets up and walks away as if he’s used to being treated like it… like it’s normal. I hope karma is real.’
On the GoFundMe page set up to raise money for the victim it said the family are ‘refugees in the UK and they struggle to meet the basic necessities of life.
It adds: ‘We want to raise money for the family to ease their situation and hopefully they can use the funds to help improve their quality of life and to put a smile on their faces.
‘Having left a war torn country, the least they deserve is to live in peace without being harassed.
‘Please donate generously and let’s change this horrible situation into a blessing in disguise for them.’
Head teacher of Almondbury Community School Trevor Bowen said: ‘The safety and welfare of students is of paramount importance to us and this was a very serious incident.
‘We are not able to comment further as we are supporting the police with their investigation but I want to be clear that we do not tolerate unacceptable behaviour of any sort in our school.’
In a letter to parents, Mr Bowen said: ‘You will be aware of widespread media reports about an incident which took place in school.
‘The incident happened on our Fernside site a number of weeks ago.
‘The safety and welfare of students is our number one priority and I can assure you that this situation is being taken extremely seriously.
‘The matter is subject to an ongoing police investigation and, as I am sure you understand, we must be guided by the authorities in the amount of detail we are able to provide.
‘However, I can confirm we are working with the police to support their enquiries.
‘Since the incident occurred in October, the school, the local authority and the police have all taken action.
‘We must allow the legal process to take its course, but I want to be absolutely clear that we do not tolerate unacceptable behaviour of any sort in our school.
‘I can also assure you that we are working very hard to ensure it is ‘business as usual’ across the school and that there is no disruption to the children’s education.
‘The wellbeing of students is of paramount importance to us and a high level of support is available to anyone who may need it.’
A spokesman for Kirklees Council said on Twitter: ‘A police investigation is underway into the video from a local school.
‘Neither us nor the school condone violence in any form and behaviour like this will not be tolerated.’
Waterboarding is used as a form of torture where water is poured over the face of the victim and their breathing passages causing the sensation of drowning.
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