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.”