An English school bully whose videoed ‘waterboard’ attack on a 15-year-old Syrian refugee student sparked global outrage will face court.
Footage of the incident, which went viral on social media this week, shows refugee Jamal being taunted by another student.
Jamal’s arm is in a sling after being fractured in an earlier attack.
“What are you saying now then?” the bully calls out as the person filming adjusts his mobile phone to get both boys in the frame.
Jamal is forced to the ground at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, before being grabbed by the neck and having a bottle of water poured over his face.
“I’ll drown you, you little bastard,” says the attacker, who eventually lets Jamal walk away silently from the October 25 attack.
After making its way onto social media on Tuesday (UK time) the 40-second video has become as a symbol of anti-immigration hatred in the UK.
On Twittter, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman called it “absolutely shocking” and MP Tobias Ellwood tweeted “To the Syrian refugee – I say sorry.”
When he saw the world was watching the video, “I felt ashamed of myself and why it happened,” Jamal told ITV.
“I woke up and just started crying. They think I’m different.”
West Yorkshire Police said in a statement they have interviewed a 16-year-old boy over the alleged “racially-aggravated assault” and the suspect is now waiting for a court date.
The alleged perpetrator is being threatened according to reports, and his family home is under police guard.
Jamal and his sister have been targeted by bullies at the school, a spokesman for their family said, according to the ABC.
“Last month [Jamal] was set upon and assaulted so severely by four of the students in the school that his arm was fractured.
“Having had his arm placed in a cast, he returned to school, only within days to be set upon again by the same group of boys who this time strangled and waterboarded him whilst video recording the incident and sharing the same to add to and publicise his humiliation.”
Tasnime Akunjee, a solicitor representing the family, told The Guardian Jamal’s 14-year-old sister had her hijab forcibly removed by another group of students.
Police confirmed they were made aware of a second video in which “a young female from the same family was assaulted at school” and are investigating.
“We are not going back to the school,” Jamal told The Guardian.
Jamal’s unnamed bully claimed in a handwritten letter to The Sun Online that the pair are “on good terms” but that he regretted his actions.
The family came to Huddersfield two years ago after fleeing persectuion under the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, according to local media reports.
A fundraising appeal set up for Jamal and his family this week has received almost $250,000 in donations so the family can move from Huddersfield.
“They don’t want to live there any more. The level of abuse the children have received has become too much,” Mr Akunjee said.
On Thursday afternoon (UK time) Jamal and his father made a brief appearance at a peaceful demonstration outside the school. “Thanks to everyone,” said the father.