Sanda Dia hazing death trial resumes

The trial of defendants charged in connection with the death of student Sanda Dia restarted today. Dia died after a student hazing organised by student fraternity Reuzegom for students at Leuven University.

The 20-year-old Dia was in his third year of civil engineering studies when he decided to join the Reuzegom fraternity.  Joining involved participation in a hazing ritual described as “extreme”.

In December 2018, on the second day of the hazing, Dia and other newbies, were instructed to dig a trench to sit in.  Buckets of cold water were then chucked over them.  They were obliged to eat things that wouldn’t have gone amiss on “Get Me Out of Here..”.  They also drank an awful lot of fish sauce. 

In the course of the evening Dia was taken to hospital and two days later he died.  Eighteen members of the fraternity are now standing trial.

The trial first started nine months ago, but when the judge said she would only consider events of the last afternoon and evening of the hazing Dia’s family, the prosecutor and other involved parties objected and took the matter to the appeal court.

An appeal court judge now has to decide on this matter and whether to consider the entire case herself.   

Prosecutors are seeking custodial sentences of between 18 months and 4 years against the 18 defendants.  The prosecutor said that everybody present at the hazing knew an attempt to break the new members both mentally and physically was being made: “It was inhumane and everybody knew that one day it would end badly”.

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