On pages 219 and 220 you can read the sentences of the four men convicted in this homicide case. One received a life sentence in prison, as he was deemed the primary aggressor and instigator. Two others received 15 years apiece for their intermediary role and the fourth was given seven years as it is claimed he acted in no manner at all. That is, he neither attempted to stop the assault or notify authorities, nor physically participated in the brutal activities in question. He watched.
I have no comment on the duration of their sentences. His own family comes down split on both sides. What I do want to point out is that the day before they were sentenced, another young man called Wladimir Sepúlveda was attacked while being called maricón (translation: faggot) repeatedly according to several witnesses. It is alleged that there were six attackers in this case. He is in a coma now, and the doctors have said they will be surprised if he comes out alive. The neurologist monitoring his progress has classified it as “null”.
Reading the different comments below various articles online, I’ve found most people to be outraged that this disgusting event has been duplicated. Of course, there must be the fools who suggest this world is a better place with one fewer maricón in it, and have the ovaries/balls/cajones large and fuzzy enough to open their big yaps, veiled in online anonymity. Another questioned the reasoning of a hate crimes law, which is nothing new. I have been conflicted about this as well; it’s easy to see both sides of the argument. Here it is known as the Ley [law] Zamudio. Another commenter mentioned that a law like this would be equally applied to all groups. For instance, if a gang of queers [I use this term with love] were to get together and beat up a straight person, the same law would hold force.
But would people ever beat someone up for simply being heterosexual? Of course not! The would be laughable if it weren’t such a terrible concept. So I have to agree. I do think that if someone were clearly the victim of aggression based on their class of person – acts so serious as to leave them in a coma, to break their bones in such a way that they jut out of the body at odd angles, bash their skull over and over again into the concrete ground and burn messages and symbols into their skin with a cigarette – the motive should be considered in addition to the outcome of the offense. This doesn’t (usually) happen in a non-hate motivated crime. Anyone – trans, straight, gay or somewhere in between – walking down the street could be the victim of this kind of hate ideology made manifest. Of course, hate crimes laws will only be useful if actually applied, as in, the police describe the case as such, which is another problem entirely. Groups like Movilh state that the carabineros [police officers] in Chile are not using the Zamudio hate crimes law as intended.
Last year in March, Daniel Zamudio was brutally attacked by four men in a park and left there after a torture session that lasted several hours late one weekend night. They urinated on him, burned him with cigarettes, drew swastikas on him and repeatedly beat his head into the ground by kicking him and throwing large rocks. This trauma to the head is what killed him. After over three weeks spent in the ICU his pain ended and he left this world. The case received national attention and Chile went through a collective sadness and anger over what happened. It lead to the passing of the hate crimes law that had been lingering for years. I spoke with several people at the vigils about how they hadn’t approved of homosexuality because it had been instilled in them by their culture or church. But now, with this grievous event they felt differently; they were taught wrongly. ¿Realmente, que me importa a mí la sexualidad del otro? Change always takes its time. Daniel will not be forgotten.
In court they said they chose him to beat up because he was gay. A year and a half later, his four young attackers will be sentenced toward the end of October, from 15 years for the one with no criminal background up to life in prison for the group leader.