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Sean Gorman, 18, had pleaded guilty to racially aggravated stabbing of Syrian Shabaz Ali

A teenager has been sentenced to seven years and nine months in detention for the racially aggravated attempted murder of a Syrian refugee.

Sean Gorman, 18, previously pleaded guilty to attacking Shabaz Ali, 25, a refugee. He repeatedly stabbed Ali in the chest and stomach during an argument about noise levels in a privately owned homeless hostel in Edinburgh in May.

Passing sentence at the high court in Edinburgh, the judge, Lord Woolman, told Gorman the attack had caused his victim serious physical and psychological harm.

“He cannot work. He can only take short walks with the aid of a walking stick. He awaits further surgery.”

The incident took place at a ground-floor hostel used by Edinburgh council near the Tollcross area of the city. It is thought Ali intervened in a row involving his female cousin, who was also based at the hostel, and a group of people including Gorman, who was then 17.

Gorman also pleaded guilty to the racially aggravated alarm of a woman, thought to be Ali’s cousin. Ali’s father claimed he could hear his son’s attackers shout: “Why are you still here? Why are you not back in your own country?”

The family came from Kobanî in northern Syria, and had been living in Scotland for five years. At the time of the attack, Ali was working as a barber in the Portobello area of Edinburgh and staying in a hostel as he looked for a new home.

Campaigners with Positive Action in Housing (PAIH), a Glasgow-based charity that launched a fundraising campaign for the family, said at the time of the attack that it had heard numerous reports of refugee families in Midlothian near Edinburgh suffering racist abuse and stone-throwing incidents, as well as instances in other parts of Scotland.

Following the sentencing, DCI Paul Grainger of Police Scotland said: “Gorman used appalling racist language before perpetrating significant violence against the victim, who was left fighting for his life.

“I cannot condemn the circumstances of this case strongly enough. Edinburgh thrives on diversity and Gorman’s actions do not in any way reflect the values of our city.

“Significant support has been shown across the capital for the victim and his family, which is far more representative of the strength of inclusivity across our communities.”

Issuing a statement on behalf of Ali’s father, Sivan, the solicitor Aamer Anwar said: “Shabaz’s father welcomes the significant sentence imposed today by Lord Woolman and the message sent out to violent racists like Sean Gorman.”

Describing Shabaz as “a hardworking, peaceful young man who tried to rebuild his life after Syria”, the statement also repeated allegations that, days before the attack, the victim had told Edinburgh council that he felt unsafe in his temporary accommodation “but his pleas for help were ignored”. The council has insisted it takes the safety of hostel residents “very seriously”.

The Guardian

Sean Gorman, 18, admitted stabbing Shabaz Ali, 25, who suffered life-threatening injuries in the attack after being subjected to racist abuse.

Shabaz Ali, pictured in hospital after the brutal knife attack (Image: PA/Daily Record)

Shabaz Ali, pictured in hospital after the brutal knife attack (Image: PA/Daily Record)

A teenager has admitted the racially-aggravated attempted murder of a Syrian refugee in Edinburgh .

Shabaz Ali was stabbed in an argument with Sean Gorman at a hostel in Upper Gilmore Place in the early hours of Thursday May 3.

Ali, 25, had fled to Scotland five years ago with his family and was working as a barber and staying in the hostel as he looked for a new home.

Police Scotland said Gorman, 18, had been visiting the hostel and that Ali called at his room due to loud noise.

Gorman made threats and racially abused the victim before stabbing him and leaving the property.

He was traced a short time later in Duff Street and arrested, with a lock knife recovered.

The 18-year-old pled guilty to racially-aggravated attempted murder as well as causing racially aggravated alarm to another woman within the hostel at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday, Police Scotland said.

The charity Positive Action in Housing have supported the Ali family and released pictures of Shabaz in critical care at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after the attack.

His father Sivan told the charity he could hear his sons’ attacker shout: “Why are you still here, why are you not back in your own country?”

Campaigners set up an online appeal for donations “to help Shahbaz recover and rebuild his life” with more than £12,000 raised.

Gorman will be sentenced in August.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Grainger said: “Gorman’s violence was extreme and left the victim with significant, life-threatening injuries. He showed utter disregard for the victim and another woman who was with him – made all the worse given the appalling racist language used.

“Whilst this attack happened within a private property, it gained a great deal of public and media interest and I’m pleased that Gorman has been brought to justice so quickly.

“Edinburgh is a vibrant place where people of different nationalities, faiths and backgrounds live together and the support shown by the local community for the victim and his family is far more indicative of the city’s inclusivity than this one isolated incident.

“We work closely with all the different groups and communities across Edinburgh and hate crime and violence of this nature are roundly condemned. I hope that today’s conviction helps the victim and his family to move past this terrible attack and I wish them well.”

Ali’s solicitor Aamer Anwar said a number of attacks on Syrian refugee communities are going unreported because people “are too frightened to complain”.

Anwar said: “The family are Syrian refugees from Kobane, Northern Syria, who fled death to live in Scotland five years ago.

“Shabaz lost nine members of his family after an attack on their city by Islamic State. This racist thug who plead guilty today had no regard for the life of Shabaz Ali, who had done nothing wrong, he was a hardworking and quiet young man trying to rebuild his life after Syria.

“Many refugee families today are suffering racist abuse in Scotland and it’s up to decent people to stand up for their rights and ensure that the culprits are dealt with and that the local authorities act sensitively to support and if necessary rehouse victims.

“What the authorities cannot do is hide and pretend this is not happening.

“Since the attack the family are deeply grateful to Positive Action in Housing for their tremendous advocacy and support, as well as their MP Joanna Cherry, the leader of the Council and the people of Edinburgh who also rallied to their support.”

Daily Record