Assil Belalta, a 21-year-old medical student, was murdered in his room on Sunday night in the neighborhood of Ben Aknoun in the city of Algiers in Northern Algeria. Conflicting reports say that one or two attackers slit Belalta’s throat. The message “he is gay” was reportedly written on the wall in the victim’s blood.
Belalta’s murder was reported by the Algerian LGBTQ rights group Alouen on Facebook. The group pointed the finger at recent homophobic statements by Algerian leaders.
Wrote the group: “This vile and homophobic act occurred two weeks after the statements of the president of the Algerian Magistrates Union, Mr Laîdouni. [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.'”
Students rallied outside the Faculty of Medicine Ziania as a protest against Belalta’s murder on Monday.