Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Instagram/kindzulis.normunds
A gay paramedic from Latvia died last Wednesday (28 April) after allegedly being doused in flammable fuel and set alight by a neighbour.
Normunds Kindzulis, who lived in the small Latvian town of Tukums, suffered burns to 85% of his body after the attack on 23 April, described by EuroPride as a "homophobic arson attack."
The 29-year-old medical assistant died from his injuries five days later in a Riga hospital, according to reports.
"Succumbed to his injuries"
A rep for EuroPride, the European Pride Organisers Association, said in a recent tweet: "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."
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
A second man suffered burns as he tried to help Kindzulis after the incident outside their apartment building.
Kindzulis's friend and roommate Artis Jaunklavins told Latvian outlet Delfi [as per Out]: “I woke up from screams in the corridor. Normunds was flaming like a torch. 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.”
According to local media, Kindzulis had received homophobic death threats in the past and been physically attacked four times. However, Euractiv cites reports that police failed to investigate.
The outlet adds that police initially failed to investigate last month's attack, quoting a statement in which they said: “There is no full evidence that a crime took place”.
Now Kindzulis has died, police are required by law to open a criminal investigation. Deputy chief of Latvia’s criminal police Andrejs Grishins told reporters last Thursday: "Driving someone to the verge of suicide is also a crime."
Latvian leader Egils Levits has meanwhile tweeted: "There is no place for hatred in Latvia. If it is confirmed that the motivation of the Tukums criminal has been hatred towards a part of the society, then it increases his guilt. The value of Latvian society is tolerance, and such an expression of hatred is at the same time a crime against society."
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