Five Belgian teenagers arrested over gang rape of girl, 14

The 14-year-old took her own life after images of the assault were shared on social media

Leonie Chao-Fong
Thursday 03 June 2021 09:24
Five Belgian teenagers arrested over gang rape of 14-year-old girl

Five teenagers have been arrested in Belgium over the alleged gang rape of a 14-year-old girl who took her own life days after the attack.

The victim had intended to meet a friend in the Westerbegraafplaats cemetery in the city of Ghent on 14 May.

But four other youths joined and allegedly raped her while taking photos and videos of the scene.

The images were shared online and posted on social media by the alleged perpetrators, local media reported.

Speaking to Het Nieuwsblad newspaper, the victim’s father said he believed the images were “the straw that broke the camel’s back” and prompted his daughter to take her own life.

“Her entire world collapsed,” he said.

Police made five arrests after identifying the male suspects from the images: two aged 18 and 19, and three aged who are minors.

They are due to appear in court on Wednesday.

Ghent prosecutors confirmed the arrest of two adults and three minors for “events that happened a short time before the death of the victim”.

But they declined to comment on reports that an investigation has been opened for rape, indecent assault and the recording and publication of harmful images.

The major of the family’s hometown, Gavere, said he knew the victim and was shocked at the case.

“You don’t think something like this could happen in your municipality,” he said in an interview with Belgian website Het Laatste Nieuws.

The case has provoked a strong reaction from Belgian politicians, who have vowed to take action to prevent images of sexual assault being share online.

Sarah Schlitz, Belgian secretary of state for equality, said: “The distribution of such images on social media is not just intolerable, but also totally illegal. It should simply not be possible.”