Belgium: Two Dutch women raped by four men “of African descent” named as Mohamed S. (22), Tijani D. (19), Eliel B. (20) and Lamine N. (20)
— HLN.BE (@HLN_BE) 20 maart 2018
UPDATE 20-03-2018, 11:00.
Four suspects from the incident reported below have been detained by Belgium police, and are identified as Mohamed S. (22) from Antwerp. Tijani D. (19) from Temse, Eliel B. (20) from Borgerhout and Lamine N. (20) from Antwerp. Mohammed S. has stated about the incident that “one thing led to another” and that all four of them had sex with the two women. He also testified that the women had told them to “stop“, but continues that “There wasn’t any fierce resistance. While we were at it, they regularly fell asleep.” The other three suspects denied the rape and only admit to having been “near“.
As of yet, it is unclear whether the women were drugged. The previously suspected substance rohypnol has been excluded by blood tests. Additional test results are expected during the coming days.
Nederlandse vrouwen doen aangifte van groepsverkrachting in België https://t.co/qxbKi1cydZ
— NOS (@NOS) March 19, 2018
On 19 March Dutch Public Broadcaster NOS reported that two Dutch women were allegedly raped in the Belgian city of Antwerp on Friday 16 March. The version given by NOS, which claims to use Belgian sources, differs in important aspects from the version by the Belgian paper Nieuwsblad which is the source quoted explicitly by almost all other media reports, except the NOS.
According to the NOS, the Public Prosecutor in Antwerp is investigating a gang-rape “involving” two Dutch women, after they visited a party in the Antwerp discotheque Roxy. They got talking with a group of men, and were probably drugged afterwards: the women told the police they can’t remember anything from after the party. The NOS reports that three men have been apprehended and that police are searching for a fourth.
Nieuwsblad gives a different number of suspects. Their article reports five suspects. Caroline Vanderstokker of the Belgian Public Prosecutor’s office is quoted:
“One suspect was arrested on Saturday, and was lead before the magistrate on Sunday.“
Two others are also reported to have been arrested and brought in front of the magistrate on Monday, with one recognised on a picture by one of the victims. According to Nieuwsblad, other sources say a fourth suspect is also arrested. The article further speculates that the women might have been drugged, mentioning Rohypnol as the substance used. One of the men is said to have come back to the women’s room in a prestigious boutique hotel in the centre of Antwerp. Afterwards, he must have secretly let the other men in.
Both media outlets then report that a receptionist saw the men leave the next morning. The NOS simply says that “ after the staff told them about the men, [the women’s] memories returned,” and they reported what happened to the police. Nieuwsblad has more details: the receptionist was surprised when, at 8:20 five men came down and walked out, while it took until 10:30 for the women to wake. They did not know what had happened, but did notice that their money and phones had been taken. They looked disorientated and had to be told by the staff about the five men.
As the hotel manager stresses:
“It’s not like you can just walk in and out here. If five unknown men show up at night, we don’t just let them in. We work with codes. The stunned or drugged women must have – unwillingly – helped the rapists.“
It was the manager, too, that helped speed up the case. At 19:15 one of the men returned to the hotel, looking for the women. They had returned to the Netherlands by then, but the manager was not that far from the hotel:
“I went to the hotel immediately. I kept that bloke there, helped by my dangerous looking dog, until the police arrived. Those were 17 long minutes, but he wasn’t going to leave. Over my dead body.“
The most obvious omission in the NOS article, besides the fifth man, is that Belgian media mention more details about the suspects. The NOS describes them as “men”, while Nieuwsblad is more specific: they are twenty-something, “of African descent, from Antwerp and Temse.“