Park assault student claims police failed him

A STUDENT who was assaulted and racially abused in a Glasgow park has complained to police over the handling of the case.

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Sonoo Yaqoob, 19, said he thought he was going to die while being attacked by a gang of 15 in Queen's Park in the South Side.

He suffered a puncture wound to his back and bruising to his body and said he now has post-traumatic stress as a result.

Sonoo, who lives in Cambuslang, said he has not had any contact from police since the attack in June, aside from a letter telling him an officer would be in touch.

The teenager, along with his parents and three younger sisters, fled Pakistan in 2001 after receiving death threats for being Christian and settled in Glasgow soon after.

Yesterday, his lawyer, Aamer Anwar, lodged a complaint with Police Scotland on his behalf.

Speaking at a press conference in the city, Mr Anwar said that officers had "fundamentally failed" in their duty to investigate the race crime.

He said that a statement was taken from Sonoo while he was in the Victoria Infirmary, where he was rushed for treatment following the attack on June 24.

When the teenager had not been contacted by officers three days later, he and his father Morris Yaqoob, 50, visited Aikenhead Police Station and were told that the office dealing with the case was off duty, the lawyer said.

But Sonoo told the press conference he is still to be spoken to by police, seven months later.

Police Scotland said yesterday that they had made "several attempts" to contact Sonoo, but the victim and his lawyer strongly dispute this.

Mr Anwar said, in a letter to Police Scotland Chief Constable Steve House: "We would submit that the failures of officers to deal with the serious assault on Mr Yaqoob, in the absence of any other explanation, is an example of institutional racism."

Sonoo, a student at Langside College, was walking through Queen's Park with two friends at around 2.30pm on the day of the attack.

He said 15 boys then set upon him and one said: "You think you can kill our soldiers, we will kill you."

Mr Anwar said this language could be linked to the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in South East London, on May 22 last year.

Sonoo added: "I felt a sharp pain in my back while I was being kicked about.

"I thought it was a syringe needle or screwdriver. I thought they were going to kill me."

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said it would be "inappropriate" for them to comment until the complaint had been dealt with.

She added: "Several attempts have been made to contact Mr Yaqoob and we were unaware of his concerns until the complaint was received.

"It will of course be investigated thoroughly. Hate crime is a force priority and we do not accept the inference that it is not taken seriously." linzi.watson@eveningtimes.co.uk

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