The mayor of Enschede, a city in eastern Netherlands, called an attack on a Syrian refugee family a “disgrace” and promised to prosecute the gang of locals behind the crime.  RTV Oost reports that the attack took place last week but was confirmed recently. 

According to the local press, a group of people broke into the house of the family, then took the parents outside to beat them. The parents were left with physical injuries. Mayor Onno Van Veldhuizen confirmed the attack on Monday. “No-one has the right to play judge and hand out physical punishment,” he said at a local council meeting. 

Police and the city council failed to comment on the situation when it had happened because they said it was difficult to understand what really occurred. “People were silent, sometimes out of fear, sometimes out of shame and sometimes because they approved of what happened,” Van Veldhuizen said.

The family just moved to the Dolphia area of Enschede four months ago. Now, they are being offered accommodation at a new location. Van Veldhuizen said the family has not only suffered physical wounds but have been damaged emotionally as well. “What does this do to the victims and their children? And the children of those who took the law into their own hands? This is not the example we want to set for our children,” he said.