Last year, 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio was brutally gay-bashed and tortured for six hours in Santiago, Chile.
Four men attacked him in a park. They broke his leg with a heavy stone, burned him with cigarettes, beat him with glass bottles, carved swastikas into his body, cut off part of his ear, and left him for dead. Zamudio spent 25 days in a coma clinging to life before he finally died.
Yesterday, the four men responsible for Zamudio’s death were convicted of murder.
Patricio Ahumada, Alejandro Angulo, Raul Lopez and Fabian Mora are now facing lifelong prison terms. The judge who presided over the case, Judge Juan Carlos Urrutia, said the four killers showed “extreme cruelty” and a “total disrespect for human life.”
The attack shocked the people of Chile and led Congress to approve a law against hate crimes that had been waiting to be voted on for seven years.
“It is typical of us, Chileans, that an accident has to happen for us to approve a law,” Daniel’s father, Ivan Zamudio, said in an interview. “My son will not come back, but this case may end up being good for Chile.”
Zamudio was in court to hear the verdict yesterday, along with Daniel’s mother, Jacqueline Vera, who was reported to have broken down sobbing as the judge read the guilty verdict. Meanwhile, her son’s killers stood motionless, staring blankly down at the floor.
When asked by a Chilean newspaper whether he could ever forgive his son’s murderers for what they did, Zamudio replied: “Of course I will not forgive them.”
The four men are due to be sentenced on October 28.
Photo credit: BBC News.