Gay bashing suspect gets 5.5 years in Amsterdam Damrak attack

Damrak towards Amsterdam Central Station
Looking out on Damrak up to Amsterdam Centraal. 31 Oct. 2017.. (photo: Zack Newmark / NL Times)

A 28-year-old Heerhugowaard man was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison for a brutal attack on two gay men vacationing in the center of Amsterdam last year. The attack happened on the Damrak in Amsterdam last June, where a group of men began beating the victims.

The assault continued even as the two men, one of whom was dressed as a woman, lay on the ground. One of the victims is still affected by the traumatic incident. Shortly after the attack, the couple came forward publicly saying the one of the victims was hurt so badly that he needed oral surgery.

The suspect said it was not a case of gay bashing, but the court referenced a statement from a witness that the suspects were threatened earlier in the evening. "You gay people must die. Why are you gay?" was yelled out at the victims.

Determining it to be "unmistakable" as a case of "gay-related violence," the court sentenced the suspect to a a prison term far harsher than the prosecutor's demand. The prosecution called for a sentence of 40 months in prison for attempted manslaughter, meaning the court's sentence involves 65 percent more time behind bars.

Three other suspects were already sentenced before Thursday's hearing. They each were given up to 28 months in prison.