The ordeal of Sanda Dia, who died in 2018 as a result of his hazing, had moved Belgium. Eighteen comrades of the student were sentenced Friday, May 26 to community service for ault and battery that involuntarily resulted in death. Sentences of eighteen to fifty months in prison were requested in March, during the trial before the Antwerp Court of Appeal (North). But the court was more lenient, dismissing the chief of“administration of a harmful substance resulting in death”, a reference to the very salty fish-oil-based mixture that the newbie must have swallowed, and which the doctors believed was the cause of the fatal cerebral edema.
Born in Antwerp to a Mauritanian father, Sanda Dia, 20, began his engineering studies at the prestigious Catholic University of Louvain (KU Leuven) in the fall of 2018. On December 4, the day after a sale of roses in the street, from which he came out badly clified, he had to swallow a phenomenal quantity of alcohol. The investigation showed that after several beers he had drunk a liter of gin on his own, and that the objective was not to let him sober. The sink faucet in his Leuven apartment had been taped shut to prevent him from hydrating.
The next day, the trials continued around an isolated chalet on the outskirts of Antwerp. This time, the pledge had to stay outside, in the cold, in a hole filled with icy water, after having swallowed this mixture containing fish oil. When Sanda Dia was admitted to the emergency room of a nearby hospital on the evening of December 5, her body temperature fell to 28.7°C, hypothermia rendering “any blood test impossible”, said during the first trial, in 2021, one of the doctors who examined him. He was quickly transferred to the intensive care unit in another hospital, where he was declared dead on December 7. The fatal cerebral edema resulted from abnormally high sodium levels in his body, the medical records say.
Ultimately, the eighteen students returned to correctional two years after the events were all found guilty of “aults causing death without intention to give it”. Depending on the case, they receive penalties of two hundred, two hundred and fifty or three hundred hours of community service, as well as a fine of 400 euros, not to mention the thousands of euros in damages due to the civil parties.
The court also ruled out, in addition to the administration of harmful substances, the ” no istance to the person in danger “. Members of the Reuzegom fraternity, the circle – now disbanded – in which the hazing took place, “did the necessary as soon as they saw that he [Sanda Dia] was in danger”, commented a spokesperson for the Court of Appeal, citing the reasons for the judgment. After the episode of the ice water well, “they gave him dry clothes, tried to warm him up”said the spokesperson.
The court’s decision was welcomed by the Dia family with ” relief ” And ” frustration »according to M.e Sven Mary, father’s attorney. However, “there remains a great void and questions that the family will never have answers to”he lamented, lambasting the“omerta” who reigned throughout the procedure within the Reuzegom circle.
The World with AFP