Expatica news

First “racist murderer” on trial

25 September 2007

BRUSSELS – In the criminal trial against Hans Van Themsche that starts next week the young man will not only be tried as a murderer, but as a racist murderer. It is the first time in Belgian legal history that this qualification is being used: racism as an aggravating circumstance. This is contained in the bill of indictment, to which VTM news has access.

Hans Van Themsche will have to appear before a jury on Monday. He is accused of shooting and killing Malian nanny Oulematou and her charge little Luna on the streets of Antwerp last year. Oulematou because she was black, Luna because she was crying. He then turned his weapon on a Turkish woman in Islamic dress who was sitting on a nearby bench reading a book. That woman survived the shooting with serious injuries.

His actions were motivated by racism, the bill of indictment reads. “Van Themsche had deliberately looked to shoot people of foreign background. Murder is already premeditated. Racism as motivation makes the charges even more serious. That is why the public prosecution department refers to article 405, fourth section, which was recently adapted in response to the anti-discrimination act,” the bill reads. VTM news says it is the first time that a defendant in Belgium has been charged with “racist murders.”

Van Themsche was fully accountable when he went on his shooting rampage. He had not been drinking, because he did not want to compromise his aim, the bill of indictment states.

To the public prosecution department Van Themsche is a weapon-obsessed murderer. Searches of his home turned up a hunting rifle, an air carbine, a sword, a catapult and knuckledusters, as well as a book on weapons. On Monday Van Themsche will appear in criminal court in Antwerp and could face life in prison.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news