Antwerp: Parents arrested for lesbian daughter's death
The parents of Lyala A., the lesbian Muslim teenager who died last month after a bizarre ritual in which she was seriously burned, were arrested by the investigating magistrate last week. They were suspected of being accessories to deliberately beating and causing their daughter injuries. Their arrest was confirmed by the court on Tuesday and the parents have meanwhile appealed against the decision.
According to their lawyer, Johan Platteau, the parents had taken a faith healer, since they believed the girl had been possessed by evil spirits or devils. He formally denied that her lesbian inclinations had anything to do with it, since her mother had been aware of it for a while.
"She had bellyaches, didn't eat or drink anymore and made strange faces. The girl herself also believed that something bad had settled in her. Unfortunately they immediately turned to a faith healer in place of a regular doctor."
The faith-healer, who was arrested earlier, had multiple sessions with the girl in her house in the Antwerp Dam neighborhood. According to his lawyer, he read several verses of prayer, but the parents challenge that. "The mother had also seen how he poured hot water over her," according to Platteu. The girl had burns over 9% of her body. It's not yet clear if she died from them. The police physician has yet to publicize his findings.
Platteau emphasizes that his clients only meant the best for their daughter "They've never wanted to cause her pain or harm. Even when the girl deteriorated, they really thought that it was caused by the devil. The mother was also terrified that if she told the police about the role of the faith healer, he would transfer the bad spirits to the other children. Therefore she didn't dare say anything at first."
In two weeks they'll appear in court, which would decide if they would remain in arrest.
The faith-healer, O.G., a Moroccan in his twenties, denied everything through his lawyer Abderrahim Lahlali: "My client proposed specially chosen verses from the Koran. He didn't do anything more. That is not a strange practice in Islam."
According to his lawyer it's impossible that his client was involved in a sort of purifying ritual with fire or hot water. "Burning somebody is the worst that you can do in Islam. It has nothing to do with purifying."
Sources: Telegraaf, HLN (Dutch)
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