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Man found dead thought to be victim of gay bashing
A man was found dead in a park in Beveren, East Flanders, on Saturday, an apparent victim of a gay bashing. The 42-year-old man was reportedly lured to the park by a fake account on a dating app.
VRT reported the specifics of the case based on trusted sources, though the public prosecutor in East Flanders has yet to confirm the information. In a statement, the prosecutor said that the man had been the victim of extreme violence, which led to his death.
“In the meantime, we have arrested a number of suspects,” said the prosecutor in a statement. “We are currently interviewing them and investigating the facts of the case. All avenues are open at this point.”
The three suspects in custody are all minors. Sources speaking to VRT said that the man, David P, lives in Sint-Niklaas, about 11 kilometres southwest of Beveren. He had allegedly agreed to meet up with another man in the park. Once he had arrived, he was confronted by three youth who beat and stabbed him.
‘An insidious poison’
If it turns out to be a murder based on homophobia, it would only be the third in recent Belgian history. The other two both happened in Liège in 2012.
Homophobia “has always been an insidious poison in our society,” Wim Raes, chair of the queer rights organisation Tiszo in Sint-Niklaas, told VRT. “We have always been faced with both physical and verbal aggression.”
Prime minister Alexander De Croo said on Twitter that he was “shocked by this extreme hate” in Beveren. “This is so horrific. My deepest symphathies go out to the victim’s family and friends. The justice system now needs to do its work. But let me be clear: We will never accept this kind of violence in our country.”
Photo ©James Arthur Gekiere/BELGA