A gay couple was brutally beaten Monday night by around ten teenagers armed with iron bars. One of the victims faces permanent disfigurement, according to prosecutors.
The crime occurred in the Paris suburb of Pierrefitte. Court records reviewed by Le Parisien show that the victims, ages 19 and 22, made an appointment with a shop to discuss a dispute over a bag they purchased.
They went to the shop, thinking that they would resolve the problem. But when one of them got out of their car, he found himself in the middle of an ambush.
Ten young men armed with iron bars allegedly surrounded him and beat him. He was hit several times before he was able to get back in his car. The men then beat the car with the iron bars.
The men shouted homophobic insults while they beat the car, shattering the windows. The victims, fearing for their safety, managed to get out of the car and run.
One of the victims suffered severe injuries to his eye and has been hospitalized. The victims contacted the police and the case is being handled by local police.
One of the alleged aggressors, who is 17-years-old, has been arrested and is being detained for “aggravated violence that led to a permanent infirmity or mutilation,” the prosecutor’s office in Bobigny announced earlier today.
The aggravating circumstances are that the attack was accompanied by “threats to kill committed because of the victim’s sexual orientation” and that the attack resulted in “missed work that lasted eight days or less,” the prosecutor’s office noted.
The alleged assailant also faces charges of death threats, gang theft, and willful destruction of property, referring to the car that was destroyed.
Anti-LGBTQ hate crimes have sharply risen in France recently. The organization SOS Homophobie counted 231 anti-LGBTQ physical attacks in 2018, a 66% increase over 2017. In the last three months of 2018, an average one anti-LGBTQ hate crime per day was reported in France.