Sweden: Court interpreters and spies

The Local has an article about the lack of qualified court interpreters. I thought it also raised an interesting point, as it means that even when a woman seeks help from the authorities, she might still be restricted by people from her own community, acting as court representatives.



But not all interpreters are as cautious with the lives of others.

Take the case of Aaliyah (not her real name), who claims to have been the victim of repeated mental and physical abuse at the hands of her partner.

The Local was in attendance at Solna District Court when Aaliyah explained her situation to the court in Arabic.

"He made me abort several pregnancies. He beat me, and he also threatened to expose a nude picture he had secretly taken of me during our four-year relationship," she said.

The judge however heard only a fragment of Aaliyah's story as the interpreter condensed her account into a mere three words: "He abused me."

When the defence attorney asked the victim why she had not come forward during all the years the defendant was abusing her, she said that it would have raised too many questions within her community.

"Everybody would have asked me about the nature of my relationship with him and I did not have any answer," she said.

"In my culture it is not socially accepted to have a lover. Even my own family, my own sisters would have cast me out of their social lives," she said as she broke down in tears.

Again, however, the court heard only part of Aaliyah's story as the interpreter neglected to mention the cultural stigma attached to her romantic involvement.

Christina Voigt, the prosecutor in the case, is less than surprised when told that the interpreter shortened the victim's statement. "It happens," she tells The Local.


Source: The Local (English)

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