Posted at 10:56 AM ET, 03/29/2012

In Chile, beating death of gay man stirs change

Daniel Zamudio, a 24-year-old Chilean man, has died after almost a month in the hospital after a vicious attack he suffered at the hands of a group of suspected neo-Nazis, the Associated Press reports.

The attackers beat Zamudio in a Santiago park with bottles and rocks, cut off part of his ear, and carved swastikas into his skin. Investigators say they believe Zamudio was targeted because he was gay.

The death has prompted a national outcry in Chile, where efforts to pass anti-discrimination laws have been shut down by evangelical Christian groups. Chilean President Sebastián Piñera has promised that the government will not rest until a law that protects Chilean citizens against hate crimes is passed.

“Since Daniel’s aggressive murder happened, we’ve been learning how we are going to construct a better-protected society with more love,” Piñera told reporters this week, according to al-Jazeera. “Where no one, no one, is discriminated against, because all Chileans have the same rights.”

Four suspects have been taken into custody in Zamudio’s beating, several of whom have criminal records for attacks on gay people, according to the AP. All four are part of a collective called “Nazis del Centro,” or the “downtown Nazis.” One of the four, Raul Alfonso Lopez Fuentes, 25, posted as his last update on Facebook before being taken into custody, “I hate my awful life.”

The prosecutors have asked for the charges to include murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment upon conviction. Gay activists in Chile say the charges should include torture, as well.

By  |  10:56 AM ET, 03/29/2012

Tags:  World, Chile, hate crime, Daniel Zamudio

 
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