In Flanders, the trial of children of notables for a deadly hazing

They belonged to a select club, Reuzegom, supposed to be “the melting pot of the Flemish elite” and nothing, in principle, intended them to appear before a court to answer charges of murder without premeditation, treatment inhumane, administration of harmful substances and failure to assist a person in danger. Son of notables, they were however eighteen, before the judges of Hasselt, in Limburg, Friday, April 22. All there to explain the circumstances of the death of Sanda Dia, 20, son of a Senegalese mother and father, a student at the Flemish Catholic University of Louvain who wanted to become an engineer. Died after a “baptism” (a hazing) in accordance with the promise of its organizers: he was to be “crazy and brutal”.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Sanda Dia, 20, died during a hazing organized by students from good families in Flanders

Sitting side by side, white shirts and navy blue sweaters, “Shrek”, “Little seed”, “Mouche à merde” and the others are no longer protected by their nicknames and the anonymity they have been assured since December 5 2018. That day, Sanda Dia was admitted to hospital with a body temperature that fell to 28.7 degrees and 117 grams of salt in his blood, as if he had drunk four liters of seawater. ne of the phases of baptism consisted of swallowing and regurgitating a live goldfish. Anyone who couldn’t do it had to drink lots of fish oil, which was high in salt.

Lying unconscious and placed back in a hole

Other ordeals included swallowing a mouse mixed with dog porridge, decapitating an eel, burrowing in a hole before being doused with ice water and urine, and more. Images that the defendants had tried to eliminate were broadcast on the eve of the trial. We see the young Sanda lying unconscious on the grass before being replaced in a hole. Emergency services were only called two hours later.

With two stooges, the one who was said to be “a Sunday child”, talented, smiling, happy, had not wanted to avoid an initiation rite supposed to facilitate his integration. He didn’t want to hear that a club member who, according to another student, had already called him a “nigger”. Not hearing others sing “The Congo is ours”, in memory of colonization. One of the “tamers” from “blue” (the pledges) also apparently liked to talk about Hitler as “our good German friend”.

“Our life is destroyed, we want the truth, but is it possible? », questioned a few days before the trial, Papis Dia, the father of the victim. His lawyer, Mr.and Sven Mary, said her hope that “the omerta” finally be broken. At the first hearing, those questioned all denied forcing the young man to swallow the fish sauce. Or maintained that he had voluntarily chosen to continue the trials when he had “the possibility of stopping at any time”according to one of them. “Sanda Dia ingested everything of his own free will, he expressly admitted the rules of baptism”, wrote one of the defendants’ lawyers in the conclusions he filed.

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