Eighteen members of a now-dissolved fraternity at an elite Belgian university will go on trial over the death of a Black student during a hazing ritual in 2018, prosecutors said on Aug. 5.
A Limburg prosecutors office spokesperson told reporters that the members of white fraternity Reuzegom have been ordered to stand trial for the death of 20-year-old engineering student Sanda Dia during a two-day initiation ritual in December 2018
The former fraternity members from the elite KU Leuven university allegedly forced Dia to drink large quantities of alcohol and fish oil and to stand in cold water for hours as part of the hazing process.
Dia, whose father was born in West Africa, later died after suffering from hypothermia and organ failure.
The suspects face charges of negligent homicide, degrading treatment, criminal negligence, and intentional administration of harmful substances resulting in death.
A date for the trial has yet to be scheduled.
If found guilty of the charges in a criminal court, each suspect could face several years in prison.
The suspects also have 15 days to appeal the decision. If they decide to do so, the case will be transferred to Belgium’s Court of Appeal, where judges will determine if there is enough evidence for criminal charges to be brought.
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