SANTIAGO, Chile — The trial of four men accused of beating and fatally injuring a young, gay man in the Chilean capital last year began on Monday.
Prosecutors allege that Raúl López Fuentes, Patricio Ahumada Garay, Alejandro Angulo Tapia and Fabián Mora Mora attacked and killed 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio in a Santiago park on March 3, 2012, because he was gay.
The prosecution described how Zamudio was brutally attacked with bottles and other objects before having his ear cut off, burned parts of his body with cigarettes and swastikas were carved into his chest.
Zamudio died in a local hospital more than three weeks later from wounds sustained in the attack.
During the trial, Raúl López apologized to the Zamudio family and testified that the three other suspects forced him to participate in the attack while he was drunk.
Fabián Mora Mora is expected to testify on Tuesday while Garay and Tapia have used the right to remain silent.
Attorneys representing Zamudio’s family say the case is historic because the result “will clearly establish whether how far the justice system and the courts have advanced or not around the principle of non-discrimination and equality for sexual minorities,” according to a statement issued by the Homosexual Movement of Integration and Liberation (MOVILH), Chile’s leading LGBT and human rights advocacy group.
Article continues below“We are hoping for the maximum punishment for each of those responsible,” the group said.
The attack on Zamudio and his death generated widespread outrage across Chile, and renewed demands for hate crime legislation.
In July 2012, President Sebastián Piñera signed into law a hate crimes and anti-discrimination bill, nicknamed Zamudio’s Law, that includes both sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Daniel Zamudio left us a big legacy: the Zamudio law and a better social sensibility towards diversity,” Movilh said. “Our society and country are still in debt to him. The debt will only be repaid with full and total justice.”