Five Leiden students who defaced a ‘gaybra’ crossing in October last year have been charged by the Public Prosecutor. The Nazi salute made by one of the five students during the hazing stunt could result in a more severe penalty.
As part of their hazing, the students of the ‘Sjap Eisjedies’ society of the students’ association Quintus were given the task of pulling a stunt that would land them in the news. They decided to deface a ‘gaybra crossing’ – a zebra crossing painted in the colours of the rainbow to symbolically promote gay rights – by covering it with red paint.
In a statement from the Public Prosecutor’s office on Wednesday, because one of the suspects made a Nazi salute, the five students, all between the ages of 19 and 21, will stand trial for suspicion of vandalism and discrimination. “Some may see this as a student prank that went too far. However, due to the discriminatory nature of this act, we are taking this case very seriously”, said a spokesman.
Prison sentence ‘not appropriate'
No date has been set for the five students to appear in court. The maximum penalty for vandalism is two years’ imprisonment; for group defamation, the maximum is a one-year prison sentence.
While discriminatory statements can have an aggravating effect, the spokesman stated that it would not be ‘appropriate’ to seek a prison sentence in this case.
The five students were caught out when a video catching them in the act was made from a nearby pub and shared on social media. The resulting general outrage led Quintus to suspend the five members. The association had no comments regarding the news of charges being brought against its members.