18 Fraternity Members Found Guilty in Hazing Death of Pledge in Belgium But Avoid Prison

Sanda Dia was forced to drink excessive amounts of alcohol and fish oil and sit in freezing water before he collapsed


Eighteen members of a college fraternity were found guilty in the death of a student during a hazing ritual, but will avoid prison sentences and instead do community service.

The incident took place in 2018 at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

Sanda Dia died in a hospital after he end two other first-year students endured two days of vicious treatment as part of an initiation into the Reuzegom student fraternity.

Dia was forced to drink excessive amounts of alcohol and fish oil.

He was also forced to sit in freezing water before he collapsed.

The students were found guilty for their role in the involuntary death of Dia and degrading treatment, but were acquitted of intentionally administering harmful substances resulting in death and willful neglect, the Associated Press reported.

Illustration shows the preparations of special safety and security measures to fight the pandemy of Covid-19, at the start of the new academic year at UAntwerpen, Friday 18 September 2020 in Antwerp. In the ongoing coronavirus crisis, students return to the colleges and universities for the september rentree. BELGA PHOTO KRISTOF VAN ACCOM (Photo by KRISTOF VAN ACCOM/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

The students were given sentences of 200-300 hours of community service and a 400 Euro fine each, AFP reported.

The prosecution had sought sentences of up to 50 months in prison for some of them.

The high salt content in the fish oil was an important element in Dia’s death and the court ruled that the students could not have known about the potentially fatal impact on the freshman.

A lawyer for Dia's family said they felt both "relief" and "frustration" after the court case.

During the trial, the victim's father, Ousmane Dia, reportedly said that putting the culprits in prison would not give him back his son.

There were allegations that Dia, who was Black, was treated more harshly because of his race.

Fraternity members were found to have worn robes similar to those of the Ku Klux Klan and also reportedly compared Dia to a monkey, according to the Brussels Times.

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