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Trial opens in Belgium for Chechens who beat up a 15-year-old boy for seeing a Chechen woman, allegedly in a racist “hate crime”

By A. S.

The trial of three Chechens who beat a 15-year-old Belgian for having an affair with a Chechen girl last October has started in Belgium. The prosecution claims it was a “hate crime” as the Belgian boy, Ethan, was attacked because of “hatred and contempt for those who are not Chechens”.

The attack took place in the Belgian town of Namur on 11 October 2021, when three young Chechens of the age of majority met Ethan, according to one of the accused, “by chance”. The accused stated: “Such relationships do not happen at home. I told him to show me his phone to check what he had corresponded with the girl, who is the sister of my friend. I did not like their conversation. I lost my nerve’.

The Chechens beat Ethan for just under an hour, and two minors were allegedly involved beside the three adult attackers. The Chechen assailants also filmed the attack, in which they hit the victim fifty times until his face was disfigured. Ethan had reportedly been warned and threatened by the Chechens beforehand that he should not see the Chechen girl. He was told that he could not have a relationship with a Chechen girl, that this was not happening.

The prosecution is asking for seven to ten years in prison for the attackers. In addition, Ethan’s parents are seeking €1,500 in damages because their son was incapacitated by the attack for more than four months. The defendants, all of whom train in boxing and martial arts, deny that five people beat Ethan for an hour. Nevertheless, the footage they themselves made while beating their victim speaks for itself. They started beating him after he was forced on his knees to apologise for seeing a Chechen girl. The videos, which were initially posted by the perpetrators on social media, were later deleted.

At the end of the beating, the main assailant allegedly threatened Ethan: “You will be the example, tell everyone else that if they touch the Chechen woman, they will meet your fate or a worse.” Now the accused denies his words.

According to Ethan’s lawyer, it was a “crime of honour”. Such crimes are common among migrants, especially Muslims, who seek to avenge the shame that has supposedly befallen their family or community. The victims are often also their relatives or community members. In particular, such revenge is common in Chechen communities in Europe, including the beheading of Samuel Paty, a French teacher who allegedly insulted Islam, by a Muslim of Chechen origin.

 

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