Gays hospitalised after attack
Original article: http://www.deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws.english/news/120720_Queer_bashers
Homosexual pressure groups and politicians alike have reacted with shock and disgust to an incident on Tuesday evening in which two homosexual men were subjected to a serious assault in a bar in the East Flemish town of Aalst. Their assailants, two brothers, punched them before hiting them will snooker cues and bar stools. The incident happened at around 1:45am on Thursday morning in Kelly’s bar near to Aalst Railway Station.
The perpetrators of the attack are two brother aged 20 and 28. Friday’s edition of the daily ‘De Morgen’ reports that they were both under the influence of alcohol and were on the lookout for gays to attack.
Their victims are a 35-year-old man from Kruishoutem (East Flanders), and a 55-year-old from Aalst. The 35-year-old victim was rushed in a critical condition to the Our Lady Hospital in Aalst, where he is still being treated for his injuries.
The 55-year-old was also hospitalised,but was allowed to return home after treatment. The bar was also damaged in the attack. Both suspects have been detained by police.
They are accused of assault and battery inspired by homophobic motives and resulting in the victims being unable to work.
“Stiffer sentences for queer-bashers”
The Federal Government hopes to introduce measures to increase sentences for hate crimes, including homophobic assaults.
The Justice Minister Annemie Turtelboom (Flemish liberal, photo) has put a series of proposals to this effect before Friday morning’s cabinet meeting.
For assault and battery with racist or homophobic motives, the maximum sentence would be increase from 5 to 30 years.
A life sentence will be given if the victim dies as a result of the attack. The proposals won’t become law until this autumn at the earliest.