A 21-year-old gay man in South Africa was tortured and murdered in the Belle Vista neighborhood of Ceres — and the alleged suspect reportedly invited as many as seven teenagers to watch the brutal assault, according to South Africa's LGBT news outlet Mamba Online.
Police arrested a 28-year-old man in connection with the assault Sunday, charging the suspect with murder.
David Olyn had already been beaten and tied with wire when the suspect invited a group of teenagers to watch him "kill a moffie," Afrikaans slang for "fag," according to Mamba. After the audience arrived, the teens said the suspect bashed Olyn's head with a brick, jumped on his face, then set the young man on fire.
According to Mamba's senior reporter, Maahir Pretorius, the youths did not report what they'd witnessed to police, but rather came back the next day to see if Olyn had survived. When they discovered Olyn's body, they told a local woman about the assault, and she in turn called the police.
“I spoke to those kids and they were kicking a ball around and I though that perhaps they needed help or counselling, but this was nothing new for them," Pretorius told Mamba. "They are exposed to violence on a daily basis."
Officials with the South African Justice Department told the Cape Times they were investigating the attack and considering the allegations that the murder was an antigay hate crime.
Although South Africa is generally considered one of the more tolerant and progressive nations in Africa when it comes to LGBT issues — the nation has recognized marriage equality since a 2005 Constitutional Court ruling — advocates on the ground say anti-LGBT violence is a growing problem. Lesbians in South Africa are frequently subjected to "corrective rape," and although lawmakers introduced anti-hate crime legislation earlier this year that would impose harsher penalties for bias-related attacks, such policy has yet to take effect, according to Inter Press Service.