Tag Archives: daniel zamudio

4 men sentenced in beating death of gay man in Chile

Chilean judges on Oct. 29 sentenced a man to life in prison for the beating death of a gay man whose body was carved with swastikas, and gave lesser sentences to three others.

The four men were convicted earlier this month of first-degree murder in the attack on Daniel Zamudio. They burned him with cigarettes, beat him with glass bottles and broke his right leg with a heavy rock before abandoning him in a park in the capital of Santiago on March 3, 2012.

The killing prompted Chile’s Congress to pass an anti-discrimination law.

The three-judge panel gave Patricio Ahumada Garay a life sentence. Alejandro Angulo Tapia and Raul Lopez Fuentes were sentenced to 15-year terms and Fabian Mora Mora got seven years.

Zamudio’s family and friends applauded as the sentences were read out. Ahumada, the group’s ringleader, glared at the victim’s family defiantly and lashed out at the judges, accusing them of sending an innocent man to prison, before he was escorted out by police.

But Rolando Jimenez, president of the Gay Liberation and Integration Movement, was not totally happy with the outcome.

“This leaves a bitter taste in my mouth because they deserved much stiffer sentences, unfortunately Chile’s legislation doesn’t allow it,” said Jimenez. “We’re tired of fighting to end the brutal attacks on people because of their sexual orientation.

“It’s enough. How many more people must die for this to stop?” he asked.

The anti-discrimination law had been stuck in Congress for seven years, but President Sebastfian Pinera put it on the fast track after Zamudio’s murder. The law adopted last year allows people to file anti-discrimination lawsuits and adds hate-crime sentences for violent crimes.

Zamudio, a clothing store salesman, was the second of four brothers and had hoped to study theater.

Later outside the courtroom, Zamudio’s mother sobbed and said she regretted that her son’s killers didn’t receive harsher sentences.

“The four of them should have gotten life in prison because they were all part of the beating of Daniel” Jacqueline Vera said. “I just want them to rot in prison for what they did. Let them dry up behind bars.”

4 convicted in Chile in killing of gay man that led to hate crime law

Four Chilean men were convicted of first-degree murder on Oct. 17 for beating a gay man to death and carving swastikas into his body.

Daniel Zamudio’s slaying set off a national debate about hate crimes in Chile that led Congress to pass an anti-discrimination law.

As the judge read the guilty verdict, Zamudio’s mother sobbed and her son’s killers stood motionless and stared blankly at the floor.

Judge Juan Carlos Urrutia said Patricio Ahumada Garay, Alejandro Angulo Tapia, Raul Lopez Fuentes and Fabian Mora Mora were guilty of a crime of “extreme cruelty” and “total disrespect for human life.”

The judge said the attackers burned Zamudio with cigarettes, beat him with glass bottles and broke his right leg with a heavy stone before they abandoned him in a park in the Chilean capital on March 3, 2012.

The sentence will be read Oct. 28. Prosecutors are asking for jail terms ranging from eight years to life in prison.

“We’re satisfied with this ruling. There’s a before and an after the Zamudio case,” said Rolando Jimenez, president of the Gay Liberation and Integration Movement.

“It generated such outrage because of the brutality, the hate, that it helped raised awareness,” Jimenez said. “We’ve witnessed a cultural change that finally led to an anti-discrimination law.”

The law had been stuck in Congress for seven years, but President Sebastian Pinera put it on the fast track after Zamudio’s murder. The law adopted last year enables people to file anti-discrimination lawsuits and adds hate-crime sentences for violent crimes.

Zamudio, a clothing store salesman, was the second of four brothers. He had hoped to study theater.

“Nothing can change the tremendous pain suffered by Daniel’s parents,” presidential spokeswoman Cecilia Perez said. “But there’s no doubt that today some tranquility has finally reached their hearts. It’s the tranquility that comes with justice.”

Chile’s president signs anti-discrimination law

Chile’s president signed an anti-discrimination law this week that lawmakers passed after a gay man was fatally beaten by attackers who carved swastikas into his body.

The law was approved in May after being stuck in Congress for seven years.

President Sebastian Pinera had urged lawmakers to speed its approval after the slaying of Daniel Zamudio in March set off a national debate about hate crimes in Chile.

Zamudio was found beaten and mutilated in a city park, with swastikas carved into his body. The U.N. human rights office had urged Chile to pass legislation against hate crimes and discrimination after the killing. Many people in Chile refer to the new measure, which enables people to file anti-discrimination lawsuits and adds hate-crime sentences for violent crimes, as the Zamudio law.

“Without a doubt, Daniel’s death was painful but it was not in vain,” Pinera said at a recent press conference joined by Zamudio’s parents.

“His passing not only unified wills to finally approve this anti-discrimination law but it also helped us examine our conscience and ask ourselves: have we ever discriminated someone? … After his death we’ll think twice, thrice or four times before we fall prey to that behavior.”

Four suspects, some with criminal records for attacks on gays, have been jailed in Zamudio’s killing. Prosecutors are seeking murder charges.

Chile remains among the most socially conservative countries in Latin America. It legalized divorce in 2004, becoming one of the last nations in the world to grant married couples that right.

Some Protestant churches had opposed the anti-discrimination law, saying it could be a first step toward gay marriage, which Chile forbids.

The Roman Catholic Church, which retains a strong influence over Chilean society, also expressed some concerns about the law, but gay and human rights activists hailed the measure as a step toward equality.

“This law is a giant leap toward creating tools that can prevent and punish discrimination,” Gay Liberation and Integration Movement President Rolando Jimenez told the Associated Press. “There’s still a lot to be done and we need the institutions to enforce it.”

Lawmakers are also preparing to debate a civil union law proposed by Pinera that would grant inheritance and other rights to same-sex couples.

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Anti-discrimination law passes in Chile

Chile’s Congress passed an anti-discrimination law this week following the killing of a gay man whose attackers beat him and carved swastikas into his body.

The House of Deputies approved the law in a close 58-56 vote, seven years after it was first proposed. The Senate passed the law in November. Some passages remain to be finalized in a commission of senators and House lawmakers.

President Sebastian Pinera had urged lawmakers to accelerate approval of the law after 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio died March 27. Zamudio’s death came more than three weeks after he was attacked, and his case set off a national debate about hate crimes in Chile.

Four suspects have been jailed, some of whom already have criminal records for attacks on gays. Prosecutors have asked for murder charges in the case.

Zamudio, a clothing store salesman, was attacked in a park in Santiago on March 3. The suspects allegedly beat him for an hour, burning him with cigarettes and carving Nazi symbols into his body.

The leader of Chile’s Gay Liberation and Integration Movement, Rolando Jimenez, has said the suspects should be charged with torture as well.

After Zamudio died last week, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights called for Chile to pass new laws against hate crimes and discrimination.

Some Protestant churches had opposed the anti-discrimination law, saying it could be a first step toward gay marriage, which Chile forbids and which is not explicitly included in the measure. The Roman Catholic Church also expressed some concerns about the law.

The law describes as illegal discrimination “any distinction, exclusion or restriction that lacks reasonable justification, committed by agents of the state or individuals, and that causes the deprivation, disturbance or threatens the legitimate exercise of fundamental rights.”

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Neo-Nazi killing spurs hate crime debate in Chile

Prosecutors in Chile asked for murder charges on March 28 in the death of a young gay man whose attackers brutally beat him and carved swastikas into his body.

Daniel Zamudio died on March 27, 25 days after he was attacked. The case has prompted a national debate in Chile over hate crimes, with President Sebastian Pinera saying from Asia that his government won’t rest until a proposed anti-discrimination law is passed.

Four suspects have been jailed on attempted murder charges, some of whom already have criminal records for attacks on gays.

Hours after Zamudio’s death, prosecutor Ernesto Vazquez formally requested that the charges be changed to premeditated murder, carrying maximum life sentences if convicted. He said the attack was clearly motivated by homophobia.

Gay activists weren’t satisfied. The leader of Chile’s Gay Liberation and Integration Movement, Rolando Jimenez, said the suspects should be charged with torture as well.

Zamudio, a clothing store salesman, was attacked in a park in Santiago on March 3. The suspects allegedly beat him for an hour, burning him with cigarettes and carving Nazi symbols into his body.

The second of four brothers, he had hoped to study theater, his brother Diego said. “He was very loving, an excellent person and that’s why it’s so hard to believe that they attacked him with such hate,” he told reporters.

Hundreds of people had been holding vigil outside the hospital where Zamudio lay brain-dead, building a shrine on the sidewalk. Many whistled and booed when Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter, the acting president while Sebastian Pinera is traveling in Asia, arrived to share condolences March 27. The commotion ended only when Zamudio’s father appealed for them to maintain respect.

“We are going to work tirelessly in our Congress to pass our anti-discrimination law as quickly as possible,” Hinzpeter said to reporters outside the hospital after visiting the family.

An ample Senate majority passed the law in November, but seven years after it was first proposed, it has yet to come to a vote in the lower house. Lobbyists for evangelical churches said it would be a first step toward gay marriage, which Chile forbids and which is not explicitly included in the measure.

It would describe as illegal discrimination “any distinction, exclusion or restriction that lacks reasonable justification, committed by agents of the state or individuals, and that causes the deprivation, disturbance or threatens the legitimate exercise of fundamental rights established by the constitution or in international human rights treaties ratified by Chile.”

Attorney Gabriel Zaliasnik told the Cooperativa radio station March 28 that if the law had been passed, the attack on Zamudio might have been avoided.

Pinera tweeted from South Korea that the “brutal and cowardly attack of Daniel Zamudio wounds not only his family but all people of good will.”

“His death will not remain unpunished, and reinforces the complete commitment of the government against all arbitrary discrimination and for a more tolerant country.”

The jailed suspects are Raul Alfonso Lopez, 25; Alejandro Axel Angulo Tapia, 26; Patricio Ahumada Garay, 25; and Fabian Mora Mora, 19. They remain in preventive detention after blaming others in the group for the attack.

Lopez allegedly told police that he saw Angulo and Ahumada carve three swastikas into Zamudio with a broken pisco sour bottle. Ahumada’s public defender, Nestor Perez, said his client wasn’t involved in the attack and isn’t a neo-Nazi.

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Chilean leaders condemn brutal beating of gay man

A brutal attack on a gay Chilean man drew strong condemnation from political leaders and entertainer Ricky Martin.

Doctors in Santiago said 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio had been put in an induced coma while being treated for severe head trauma and a broken right leg suffered in the beating on March 3.

A swastika was drawn on the victim’s chest by the unidentified assailants, leading to speculation that neo-Nazis may have attacked him. Prosecutors said on March 6 that they had no definite evidence of neo-Nazi involvement but were continuing to investigate that possibility.

Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter posted a message on his Twitter account saying he repudiated the homophobic attack and expressed “total solidarity” with Zamudio. Hinzpeter recently said Chile should consider enacting a hate crime law to deal with such attacks.

Opposition politician Gabriel Silver also condemned the beating and urged the government to move quickly on the anti-discrimination legislation.

Martin, a Puerto Rican-born singer, also used his Twitter account to condemn the attack.

“No more hatred, no more discrimination. I hope that justice is done NOW. Lots of light to Daniel and his whole family,” the tweet said.

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