'Victim started fight' says suspect
28 June 2006, BRUSSELS – One of the as-yet unnamed six suspects arrested in connection with the 'bashing' death of 54-year-old Guido De Moor on Saturday night claimed via his lawyer on Tuesday that the victim had asked the group on the De Lijn bus to "calm down".
28 June 2006
BRUSSELS – One of the as-yet unnamed six suspects arrested in connection with the 'bashing' death of 54-year-old Guido De Moor on Saturday night claimed via his lawyer on Tuesday that the victim had asked the group on the De Lijn bus to "calm down".
According to the suspect, the situation then degenerated when the deceased, a married father-of-two, grabbed one of the suspects by the throat and was then struck by an unspecified number of suspects.
Not all the suspects hit the victim, according to the lawyer, and there was no intent to kill him – a claim that has been supported by the other suspects. The examining magistrate has lessened the charge of manslaughter previously lodged against the suspects to one of "voluntary aggravated assault causing death".
All suspects are of Moroccan ancestry – five are Belgian citizens and one is a Spaniard – and the attack has reignited debate over ethnic crime. All six live in Antwerp and three are already known to authorities.
Police raided houses and apartments in the Veldstraat, the Pothoekstraat and the Nikkelstraat on Monday night, only a couple of hundred metres from the bus stop on the Pothoekstraat where the six suspects boarded the bus on Saturday night.
The raids and arrests followed the swift identification of the six suspects, who were identified via photos from youth criminal authorities and statements from bus passengers.
The police had tracked down the prime suspect in the case on Sunday evening, but, fearing disorder because a group of youths had gathered outside the shop in which the suspect had sought sanctuary, were temporarily unable to detain him.
Several dozen officers then sealed off the area and one suspect was taken away for questioning. Meanwhile, police raided a number of other addresses in the city and a total of three suspects were detained. The police then detained the remaining three later on Monday night.
The three minors are being held in juvenile detention centres in Everbeek (Flemish Brabant) and Mol (Antwerp province). The examining magistrate decided that the other three suspects, who are over 18, will remain in custody.
Three suspects are aged 16 and three of the suspects are adults aged 18, 20 and 22.
Some 30 police officers were involved in the investigation, conducting a neighbourhood search and asking for video footage from businesses along the route of bus line 23.
Extra "Lijnspotters" – stewards employed by the Flemish public transport company De Lijn – will be deployed on buses and trams in Antwerp during summer.
The stewards will also be deployed at weekends and will receive back-up from local police.
The new measures were announced following a meeting between Flemish Transport Minister Kathleen Van Brempt (Socialist), the Mayor of Antwerp, Patrick Janssens (Socialist), and management and trades unions from the Flemish public transport company De Lijn.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news