3 Men Sentenced for Anti-Gay Beating in Paris

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Tuesday June 3, 2014

Three men who were accused of beating a man and his boyfriend in Paris last April were sentenced Tuesday, Gay Star News reports.

Wilfred de Bruijn and his partner Olivier say they were attacked on April 6, 2013 because they are gay. A picture of de Bruijn's beaten face went viral soon after he posted it on Facebook with the caption "face of homophobia."

"Olivier and I were badly beaten up just for walking arm in arm," he wrote. "I woke up in an ambulance covered in blood, missing a tooth and broken bones around the eye. I'm home now. Very sad. Olivier takes care of me. Forbidden to work for at least 10 days."

de Bruijn was beaten unconscious sustaining five fractures in his head and face, abrasions and a lost tooth. His boyfriend, who was also beaten, witnessed three to four men shouting, "Hey, look they're gays" before being attacked.

The Associated Press reported that de Bruijn's graphic viral photo was made a symbol for gay rights, sparking France's Interior Minister Manuel Valls to call de Bruijn to express his shock.

Over a year after the attack, de Bruijn and his boyfriend finally saw justice as K. Taieb and M. Abdel Malik, both 19, were sentenced to two-and-a-half-years in jail. They also face up to 15 months probation after their release, GSN reports. T. Kide, 21, who was found to have not been part of the violence but did nothing to stop the incident, was sentenced to six months probation.

Another attacker, who is under 18, will be sentenced at a later date in juvenile court.

"We feel very thankful. For 14 months, we have had so much support from family and friends, but also from the rest of society," he told the AFP, according to GSN. "[Now France has same-sex marriage], it proves the majority of French people are decent people."

France legalized same-sex marriage last year while the country erupted in violent protests from those who opposed gay marriage. The number of reported anti-gay attacks rose in 2013 by a shocking 78 percent, according to recent research by LGBT watchdog group, SOS Homophobie. The organization adds that physical anti-gay attacks occurred every two days in 2013, which is a 54 percent increase since 2102. On the whole, reported anti-gay acts in France rose by 78 percent last year.