Algerian student Assil Belalta’s dream of becoming a doctor has been abruptly cut short when two assailants murdered him in a sickening hate crime in the country this week.
After following Belalta into his room and slitting his throat, the attackers used his blood to smear “He is gay” on one of the walls before leaving the scene.
On social media, Belalta had expressed interest in both men and women, and subsequently faced condemnation because of his sexual orientation.
According to local media reports, the 21-year old junior medical student entered his student accommodation in Ben Aknoun, Algiers that evening when his attackers followed him to his room, cut his throat and left him for dead.
The suspects allegedly exited the university residence using Belalta’s vehicle.
Local news outlet Dernieres Infos D’Algerie reported that the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr. Tahar Hadjar visited the crime scene and students met with him to voice their concerns.
The next morning several hundred students came together at the Faculty of Medicine for Belalta where they took a moment of silence to honour his life.
In a Facebook post, LGBTIQ rights group Alouen shared details of the homophobic attack and said the murder was fueled by the government’s anti-gay views.
“This institutional and state homophobia is becoming commonplace,” they wrote.
“And inciting hatred against sexual minorities in Algeria is becoming commonplace for buzz and populism.
“Political leaders as well as some homophobic media are the real culprits of this homophobic crime that shook the campus yesterday.”
Homosexual activity has been illegal in Algeria under Sharia Law since 1966, with penalties of fines or up to two years in prison.