After a video of two youths threatening and kicking a man in the face went viral on social media over the weekend, the assailants have both been sentenced to a juvenile detention centre. On Saturday morning, three young men assaulted a 59-year old man in the Antwerp metro station Astrid. They threatened him with a knife and kicked him in the head. One of them filmed everything and by Saturday evening, the video had gone viral on social media. The Antwerp police immediately opened an investigation.
Investigators were able to identify one of the 17-year-olds as Ayo A. On Sunday, he was arrested. Another 17-year-old, so far only known as B, was arrested as well. Ayo A. had been on the police’s radar for a while. The Youth Justice court decided to send them both to juvenile detention. The 59-year old victim was also identified and is doing relatively well after the attack.
“I fell asleep while I was waiting for the metro,” said Jef, the victim, to Het Nieuwsblad. “Suddenly three young men were threatening me, saying ‘your wallet or your head’, and kicked me in the face. After that, everything went black.”
“This video shows a total lack of empathy,” said court psychiatrist Hans Hellebuyck to Het Laatste Nieuws. “That won’t change in 10 years, that won’t even change in 100 years. Someone like this cannot be saved or helped. He has to be locked up for as long as possible, and kept out of society.”
As the suspect is 17 years old, there is the possibility that the Youth Justice court will hand him over to the Correctional Court, in which case he’ll be tried as an adult, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.
Mayor of Antwerp, Bart De Wever (N-VA) reacted to the video as well. “Harming someone who is visibly defenceless like this is an act of immense cowardice. Luckily the police were able to intervene decisively, and immediately arrested suspects. These kinds of videos, that seem to glorify violence, are truly repulsive.”
The Brussels Times