Normunds Kindzulis, a 29-year-old gay man, died in hospital in Latvia on 29 April following a vicious homophobic attack. A neighbour allegedly doused him with a flammable fluid and set him alight.
The attack left the paramedic with burns to 85% of his body. His flatmate is also in hospital receiving treatment for burns sustained when he rushed to help.
Artis Jaunklavins protested to local Independent Tukums News after the site reported that two people received burns when a pile of clothes was burned in an apartment building.
“I am a victim of this accident,” he said.
“I woke up from a friend’s screams and cries for help at 4.00 in the morning. When I opened the door, he was already on fire! And now Normunds is in resuscitation and fighting for his life… He has 85% burns, and doctors are fighting for a friend’s life!
“But you write that a pile of rags has burned!… Did the police really give such information ?! And does that indicate that someone is trying to hide something?!”
According to other reports, Normunds Kindzulis previously moved to Tukums from Riga, the Latvian capital, following death threats.
Artis Jaunklavins said that in Tukums, he, Normunds, and another friend received constant threats from a homophobic neighbour. Artis said the man wanted them to not only leave their apartment but move out of the town.
“We reported the threat to both the police and the neighbor’s workplace, but no reaction followed.
“We had to wait for someone to be mutilated or killed!”
Police initially refused to investigate the vicious homophobic attack
In addition to not acting on those threats, local police initially refused to open an investigation into the vicious homophobic attack that killed Normunds Kindzulis. However, following his death, Latvian law requires an investigation.
But a police spokesperson appeared to downplay the possibility of homicide.
“Bringing someone to the brink of suicide is also a crime.”
But Artis Jaunklavins denied that Normunds set himself alight.
“It was not! It is not true!”
The police investigation will now take place under additional scrutiny with the Latvian president expressing outrage over the attack.
Egils Levits tweeted, “There is no place for hate in Latvia.”
Latvia is a member of the European Union and Pride organisations in member countries are following the investigation closely.
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