Saturday 13 August 2022

Arnhem gay attack: teen suspect will make police complaint as well


One of four 16-year-old youths arrested on suspicion of attacking a gay couple in Arnhem at the weekend is going to make a formal complaint against his alleged victims.

Lawyer Gerald Roethof, who represents the teenager, told television show Pauw his client claims the fight happened after the couple acted aggressively towards the teenagers.

Roethof also denied a bolt cutter used in the attack and that the gang were all Dutch Moroccans. The sexual orientation of the couple was also irrelevant to the case, Roethof told the programme.

Roethof said his client, who admits punching one of the men in the mouth and loosening his teeth, has now asked the police to look for surveillance camera footage to show what happened.

The police arrested a 14-year-old and a 20-year-old man shortly after the attack. The four other youths, aged 16, turned themselves into the police on Monday.

The attack on the gay couple led to a storm of protest in the Dutch media on Monday, with calls for men to walk hand in hand as a sign of solidarity.

A demonstration against anti-gay violence is set to take place in Arnhem on Saturday.

One of the victims, Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes, 31, told NOS: ‘We don’t usually do that, holding hands in public, for the very reason that we don’t want to provoke people. But we’d had a nice evening, it was late and we thought we were alone. And then suddenly there was a group of six to eight Moroccan youths. Before I knew it I was on the ground fighting with three men on top of me.’

The leading Dutch gay rights organisation, the COC, called for the new coalition to take measures, including tougher prison sentences, to tackle the rising frequency of homophobic attacks.

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