Five detained in Belgium after rape victim commits suicide
Five teens are being detained in Belgium after an alleged gang rape of a 14-year-old girl who committed suicide after seeing video of her attack posted on social networks, local media reported on Wednesday.
The girl killed herself four days after being assaulted in a cemetery in the city of Ghent on May 14, according to reports citing her father.
She had gone to the site to meet a friend, but four other youths joined him and allegedly all of them forced themselves on her while taking photos and videos of the scene.
Police arrested five male suspects: two teens aged 18 and 19, and three minors aged between 14 and 16.
All were in detention pending the conclusion of an investigation, with the two adults being held in coronavirus quarantine in jail, and the three minors locked up in juvenile centres.
Ghent prosecutors confirmed to AFP the arrest of two adults and three minors for “events that happened a short time before the death of the victim”.
They declined to confirm media reports that an investigation had been opened for rape, indecent assault and the recording and publication of harmful images.
Belgium’s justice minister, Vincent Van Quickenborne, tweeted of the alleged crime: “Atrocious — there are no words for that.”
He said those responsible would be punished and urged all victims of sexual violence to press charges and to seek out specialised professional help.
The girl’s father told the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad that he believed the images posted on the internet “were the straw that broke the camel’s back” for his daughter, prompting her to take her life.
A charity, Child Focus, said that in Belgium there has been a recent rise in harmful images of minors being posted online.
It said that last year, during a first coronavirus lockdown, the number of such cases opened jumped 65 percent over the previous year.