‘Hand in Hand’ – homophobic attackers get 160 hours community service

Attackers sentenced

We wrote about this story just over a year ago. When news was in about 2 men who were brutally assaulted at the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Arnhem. They were attacked by 6 Moroccan youths, for supposedly being gay. A bolt cutter was used in the attack and 1 of the victims even lost 5 teeth. Of course, this shocked us all, surely this still doesn’t go down in the Netherlands these days?! Well it does. And today 4 of the attackers have been sentenced with 160 hours of community service. Yes, unfortunately you heard right, 160 hours. 

hand in hand

Work is a punishment, how?

3 of the youths received 80 hours of community service, whilst 1 received 160. The reason for this is because they had no other criminal convictions against them and they were youths.

The evidence for the violence was obvious, the motivation, not so much. Due to lack of evidence (it’s hard to prove), this couldn’t stand in court. Despite this, the sentence is still incredibly low.

As someone who studied Criminology at master’s level, I understand that community service is a fantastic tool to keep people out of prison, who don’t really need to be there. It’s for the people who need a bit of discipline and a purpose and owe the community something back. For me, brutally attacking 2 random people is in no way solved by some unpaid labour. Please tell me if I’m wrong, but if this was banished by giving somebody an unpaid job, then there won’t be any violence left in the world. A lot of people are going to be left very angry after hearing the news and for me personally, I don’t think that the sentence was appropriate to fit the crime in this case (and I’m sure most of you would agree with that).

Recap on the event

This was an attack on 2 strangers who were doing nothing but merely holding hands. To show solidarity after the attack, people were seen taking pictures holding hands with someone of the same sex and posting them to platforms such as Twitter. You may have remembered, but a photo of D66 leader Alexander Pechtold went viral after he was holding hands with Wouter Koolmees on the way to coalition negotiations. Before you say it – no they aren’t gay, but they were trying to restore some faith in the country that it is okay.

Do you remember this viral picture?

Whether it was the true motivation or not, hopefully ONE DAY soon, gay people (or anyone in fact) can walk outside without fear of being attacked. It’s 2018 for crying out loud.

What do you think about this news? Let us know in the comments!

Emma Brown
Emma Brown
A familiar face at DutchRevew. Emma arrived in Holland in 2016 for a few weeks, fell in love with the place and never left. Here she rekindled her love of writing and travelling. Now you'll find her eating stroopwafels in the DutchReview office since 2017.


  1. I visited Arnhem and stayed for one night last summer – as I knew that there had been many cases of homophobic abuse there, I was on edge the entire time. My partner and I don’t hold hands in public anyway, but when we were there I felt like we were being stared at intently by gangs of Moroccan lads the entire time. I live just off the famous ‘Curry Mile’ in Manchester, so my local area is majority Muslim – but I never feel threatened or unsafe here, quite the opposite in fact. Arnhem was different though – sadly, I was very glad to leave 🙁


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