On April 28th, a 29-year-old Latvian medical assistant died of severe burns in the small, idyllic, historical city of Tukums, Latvia.
29-year-old Normunds Kindzulis suffered burn wounds over 85 percent of his body after he was found engulfed in flames on his front doorstep.
He was allegedly set ablaze by his neighbors for being homosexual, in the bastion of democracy and human rights that stands against the evil “Russian Empire” alongside the other Baltic states – Latvia.
A scuffle allegedly broke out in the apartment complex he lived in, and for that he had his clothing soaked with fuel and was lit on fire in what advocates are urging the police to consider as a homophobic hate crime.
Artis Jaunklavins, his roommate, woke up to discover his friend fully engulfed in flames outside their door, and suffered burns as well trying to extinguish the fire.
Latvian police aren’t investigating it as a hate crime, and they even consider that the man could have doused himself in flammable liquid and set himself on fire.
“I woke up from screams in the corridor. Normunds was flaming like a torch,” Artis Jaunklavins told local media. “I tried to put out the flames, I carried him in and put him in the bath but the burns were too severe, his clothing had fried into his skin.”
“We will investigate objectively, regardless of people’s affiliation with a certain race or group of people,” Andrejs Grisins, deputy chief of state police said. “The state police have never sorted people by any affiliation in their investigations and applications.”
Grisins told reporters Kindzulis might have been driven to taking his own life by his hateful and homophobic neighbor.
“Bringing someone to the brink of suicide is also a crime,” he told reporters.
Kindzulis was allegedly set ablaze in the early morning hours of April 22. According to an account, the neighbor reportedly not only wanted them to move out of their shared apartment building, but also out of the town as well. Kindzulis and Jaunklavins had reported the numerous threats they received from their homophobic neighbor to police, but to no avail.
“Previously, once in November 2020, the victim had reported the threats to the police,” Janeks Bach of the Tukums district said. “Following examination of this information, a decision was taken to refuse to initiate criminal proceedings and no appeal was lodged against this decision.”
Kindzulis had fled from Riga, Latvia’s capital for receiving constant death threats and moved to Tukums.
In the quiet, historic town, he was physically assaulted at least four times.
Normunds Kindzulis, a victim of the homophobic arson attack in Latvia last week, has succumbed to his injuries. Our deepest condolences to his partner and family, and to all our community in Latvia. 🖤 pic.twitter.com/IM90oTk80E
— EuroPride • EPOA (@EuroPride) April 28, 2021
Latvian President condemned the incident, saying there was no place for hatred in Latvia.
Naidam Latvijā nav vietas. Ja apstiprināsies, ka Tukuma noziedznieka motivācija ir bijusi naids pret kādu sabiedrības daļu, tad tas pastiprina viņa vainu. Latvijas sabiedrības vērtība ir iecietība, un šāda naida izpausme vienlaikus ir noziegums pret sabiedrību.
— Egils Levits (@valstsgriba) April 24, 2021
To top it all off, police initially dismissed Kindzulis as he was on fire, since they considered him to simply be a “pile of burning clothes”.
If situations such as these are welcome in a society that claims “tolerance” and “equality” as its highest values, then this means that Kiev and its Nazi rallies are sure to have a safe home in Europe.
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