Filipino died a ‘hero’ in Slovakia after thugs beat him for defending women

Henry John died after being beaten up in Slovakia. Picture from a gofundme page set up to help support his family.

A Filipino man died a “hero” in Slovakia after he was attacked by a pair of men whom he had confronted in a bid to defend two women.

Henry John Acorda, aged 36, died on Thursday (May 31) five days after he was beaten up in the capital city of Bratislava, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

A 28-year-old local man, identified only as Juraj H, has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the incident.

The Philippine Embassy in Vienna said Mr Acorda was attacked by the men against after he tried to stop them harassing two women. Eyewitnesses said he was pushed to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the head.

The embassy said they had assisted Mr Acorda’s mother and siblings who flew to Slovakia at the weekend. The Philippine Consulate in Bratislava will also assist the family in repatriating his remains.

The DFA expressed condolences the family of Mr Acorda, whom they described as a “hero” for trying to rescue the women.

“We mourn the loss of another of our own who by all accounts is a hero who came to the rescue of the defenceless in a land that is not even his,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our kababayan [compatriate] Henry John Acorda.” 

Expats living in Slovakia have expressed their outrage over the assault. Black and Asian people have shared stories on Facebook about how they too had experienced racist attacks in Bratislava.

A spontaneous gathering of a few dozen people took place on Friday evening at the place where Mr Acorda was attacked. People lit candles and silently commemorated the victim of the attack.

Two bigger gatherings are planned for Wednesday (June 6) to remember the victim and also call for justice.

“The information that we have about Juraj H makes it clear that he is inclined to support the far right,” organisers have said. “Let’s make sure this brutal murder does not go without consequences for him.”

A gofundme page set up by a British friend of Mr Acorda to help his family has already raised more than £14,000, outstripping the stated goal of £11,000.

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