Algeria is one of the 34 African countries where homosexuality is illegal. Same-sex sexual activity can receive fines or up to three years in prison. There are also no anti-discrimination laws and no laws protecting same-sex couples.
Based on reports from Metro, 21-year-old Algerian medical student, Assil Belalta returned home around 7pm on Sunday night in the area of Ben Aknoun, Algiers. Upon entering his room, two attackers followed him in and slit his throat. They also took his car keys.
The killers then left a message on the wall using the victim’s blood: ‘He is gay’.
His friends found his lifeless body afterwards and reported it to the police.
Alouen, an LGBTI activist group based in Algeria, confirmed the details of Assil Belalta’s death through a facebook post, calling the killing a ‘homophobic hate crime at the university city of Ben Aknoun in Algiers.’
“This vile and homophobic act occurred two weeks after the statements of the president of the Algerian Magistrates Union, Mr Laîdouni” The post added.
‘[He] said that human rights associations and NGOs asking for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Algeria and the fight against homophobia are “trampling on the values and foundations of the Algerian people, who do not show tolerance to homosexual people”, and that the magistrates will “face anyone who wants to establish laws against the specificities of the Algerian people”.’
According to local reports, several hundred students rallied outside the Faculty of Medicine Ziania in Algiers on the 11th of February and observed a minute of silence for Assil Belalta.