The substantive treatment of the lawsuit about a fatal hazing of a Belgian student has started in Hasselt. At the end of 2018, engineering student Sanda Dia (20) from the University of Leuven died during an out of control hazing. All eighteen members of the relevant student association Reuzegom must answer themselves in court.
First of all, a forensic doctor and other medical experts spoke in court. According to them, Dia died of swelling in the brain due to excessive salt intake.
Death sentence signed
During hazing, the student had to drink gallons of fish sauce while sitting in ice water in a hole in the ground. “The moment he‘s taken out of that hole, his death sentence was signed. His death was inevitable,” one of the doctors said at the hearing.
The elite association students will not be heard until April next year. The men are on trial for, among other things, death by guilt, failure to provide assistance and the administration of harmful substances. They risk a prison sentence of up to ten years.
Although, according to witnesses, Dia was also racially dealt with because of his black skin tone, according to the court, there is no racist motive. The verdict is expected to follow in May next year at the earliest.
The hazing of Dia and two fellow students in December 2018 lasted two days. On the first day, the student was forced to drink large amounts of beer and spirits. Dia became unconscious and in that state the other students peed over him. The students also closed the faucets in his dorm so he couldn’t drink water to recover.
On the second day, hazing took place in a log cabin in a forest near Antwerp. There Dia and two fellow students had to sit in ice water in a hole for hours while drinking urine and fish sauce. They also had to swallow a live fish.
After hours the students took Dia out of the water, his body temperature had dropped to 27 degrees. Dia fell into a coma and died a day later in the hospital. Doctors immediately found that he was hypocooled and had a very high concentration of salt in his blood. The other two students were also bad at it, but survived hazing.
After the hazing, the students knew all traces at the log cabin, in the dorm and removed photos and videos of the hazing. Apologies to the next of kin stayed out. Later, the Reuzegom association was lifted and the students were given community service by the KU Leuven. At the beginning of this year, the university decided to suspend students who had not yet been dispatched.
Reuzegom was known as an elite club, whose members come from families of successful Flemish lawyers, politicians and businessmen. The association was more often in contradiction due to extreme hazing. For example, students had to shoot a little piglet in a hazing earlier.
Reporter Thomas Spekschoor went to the place where the hazing took place a year ago: