The three people thought to be responsible for the brutal murder of a gay man in Belgium over the weekend are all teenage boys.
Each of the boys, two of whom are 17 years old and one of whom is 16, turned themselves into police on Sunday, the day after the murder, according to De Standaard.
They were interrogated on Monday and will be brought to trial in juvenile court Tuesday, where a judge could decide that ordinary juvenile justice measures are not sufficient enough, and instead have them tried as adults because they are between the ages of 16 and 18.
The murder took place in a park in the East Flemish city of Beveren, near Antwerp, where the three teenagers are thought to have lured 42-year-old David Polfliet under the pretense of a date arranged using the gay dating app Grindr.
The three are said to have admitted to the court their involvement in Polfliet’s death, saying they didn’t intend to kill him, but wanted to rob him. The victim was badly beaten and fatally stabbed. A cyclist found his body the following day and called police.
The public prosecutor's office of East Flanders has not provided an official motive, saying it will take into account all possibilities, but many have condemned the murder as a homophobic hate crime, including Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who took to Twitter to say he was “deeply shocked by the extreme homophobia in Beveren” and hung the rainbow flag from Rue de la Loi 16 as a symbol of solidarity with the gay community.
There is no room for hatred in our country. Love wins. Marc Van de Vijver, the mayor of Beveren where the murder took place, responded with “horror and bewilderment.” “The perpetrators must be severely punished so that such acts never happen again,” he said.
In ons land is er geen plaats voor haat. Love wins. ?️?Pas de place pour la haine dans notre pays. Love wins. ?️? pic.twitter.com/JTLXFtUktb — Alexander De Croo (@alexanderdecroo) March 9, 2021
- Prosecutor requests alleged teenager murderers be placed in closed institutions
- Brussels MPs call for acceleration of action plan against homophobic violence
- European Parliament declares EU an LGBTIQ freedom zone
- Concerns raised over increasingly radicalised teenagers
- More arrests made in connection to homophobic hate crime
- Dead man found in park may be victim of hate crime
- Silent march to mark first homophobic murder in Brussels-City