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Chile Moving Towards Law after Killing of Gay Man

Murder charges have been requested by prosecutors in Chile on Wednesday involving the death of a gay man who was brutally beaten. The man also had swastikas carved into his body by the attackers. The victim, Daniel Zamudio, was pronounced dead on Tuesday night at the age of 25 only a couple of days after he was assaulted. A national debate in Chile regarding hate crimes has started. President Sebastian Pinera said that his country’s government will not stop until an anti-discrimination law is passed.

Four suspects in the attack have been arrested for attempted murder charges. Some of the suspects arrested have previous criminal records for attacks on gays. Ernesto Vazquez, a prosecutor, has formally asked for the charges to be changed to premeditated murder. These charges would come with maximum life sentences if the suspects are convicted of the crime. Vazquez has said that the crime was committed because of homophobia.

Chile’s Gay Liberation and Integration Movement’s leader, Rolando Jimenez, has said that the suspects must be charged with torture to go along with the current charges against them. Zamudio was attacked in a park in Santiago back on March 3. Zamudio worked as a clothing store salesman. It has been reported that he was beaten for an hour, being burned with cigarettes and had Nazi symbols carved into his body during the beating.

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Zamudio is one of four brothers in his family and was hoping to study theater. One of his brothers, 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.”

Zamudio was in a hospital while hundreds of people were holding a vigil in his honor as he suffered from being brain-dead. Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter, said, “We are going to work tirelessly in our Congress to pass our anti-discrimination law as quickly as possible.”

The law was passed back in November but it has not come to a vote yet, even seven years after it was originally proposed. Lobbyists claim that this could be a first step in the direction of gay marriage, which is not permitted by Chile and is not included in the measure.

Illegal discrimination would be described as “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.”

Pinera posted a tweet that said “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 suspects currently in jail for the crime include Raul Alfonso Lopez, 25; Alejandro Axel Angulo Tapia, 26; Patricio Ahumada Garay, 25; and Fabian Mora Mora, 19.

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