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Chile: Murder trial begins for Daniel Zamudio killers

Chile: Murder trial begins for Daniel Zamudio killers

Four men accused of torturing openly gay Chilean Daniel Zamudio were brought to trial today.

Patricio Ahumada Garay, Alejandro Ángulo Tapia, Raúl López Fuentes and Fabián Mora Mora are being charged with second-degree homicide after they brutally attacked Zamudio on 3 March 2012, striking him over the head, burning him with cigarettes and carving swastikas into his chest. 

Zamudio was pronounced dead after 25 days in hospital following the attack, sparking an international outcry from gay rights activists and human rights organizations.

As a result of the public’s response to the attack, the Chilean government fast-tracked an anti-discrimination bill that had been proposed since 2005. Now, anti-gay discrimination in Chile is punishable with fines and imprisonment.

The ‘Zamudio Law,’ as it has come to be known, was put into effect just one month after passing, when a lesbian couple brought a lawsuit against hotel owners who refused to give them a room because the girls were a couple.

Chile’s leading sexual rights organization, Movilh, represented Zamudio’s family in court throughout the first hearing, which included 42 witnesses and 17 experts who contributed testimonies and evidence to punish the four suspects with sentences ranging from life in prison to 15 years and one day in jail.