Young Homosexual Man’s Death, From Violent Beating, Sparks Outcry for Passage of Anti-Discrimination Laws in Chile

Young Homosexual Man’s Death, From Violent Beating, Sparks Outcry for Passage of Anti-Discrimination Laws in Chile

by Emilee Gaebler
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

SANTIAGO, Chile – On Tuesday of this week, 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio passed away.  His death is sparking calls for the passage of new national anti-discrimination laws in Chile.  Zamudio, an openly homosexual youth, was violently beaten up by a gang of men in a park, 25 days ago, on March 4.

Citizens have made a memorial to honor Zamudio outside the hospital where he died. (Photo Courtesy of La Razón)

The men carved swastika symbols into Zamudio’s body and stubbed cigarette butts out on him.  News reports state that the attackers beat Zamudio for roughly an hour with bottles and rocks, cut off a portion of his ear, broke his leg and left him with severe head injuries.  Doctors at the Santiago Emergency Assistance Public Hospital worked to keep Zamudio alive but on March 19 he suffered a heart attack and his condition deteriorated.

The four men accused of the attack are members of the neo-Nazi group, Nazis del Centro (Downtown Nazis).  They are all four currently in custody, on attempted murder charges, but prosecutor Ernesto Vasquez is asking that be changed to premeditated murder, which carries a life sentence.  At least one of the men already has a prior record for assaults on homosexual individuals.

Gay rights groups throughout the country are asking that torture charges be included as well.  Jaime Parada, spokesmen for Chile’s Movement for Homosexual Liberation and Integration, spoke out about how this aggressive attack highlights the fear that homosexuals in Chile must live with.

“We are fighting for an anti-discrimination law, for changes in language so people stop treating us like we are ill and make sure that the church does not treat us like sinners and so on,” said Parada.

Seven years ago, an anti-discrimination law was first proposed, but it was never passed due to pressure from Evangelical Christian groups. Chilean government officials are promising to focus on getting that passed.  Chile’s Interior Minister, Rodrigo Hinzpeter, currently acting as President while President Piñera is in Asia, affirmed this.  Hinzpeter spoke outside the hospital, the day Zamudio died, to a hostile crowd who booed him.

“Since this aggression, Daniel’s murder happened, we have had a relative education on how we are going to construct a more harmonious society, with more love, where no one – no one – is discriminated against for any reason, because all Chileans have the same rights.  There is no-one in our society who can feel such murderous arrogance that they can attack and assault a fellow citizen for any reason,” said Hinzpeter.

There has been a general public outcry in the wake of the attack because people feel that the government is not doing enough to protect those who are victims of hate crimes.


For more information, please see;

La Razón – Asesinato de Joven Homosexual Conmociona a Sociedad Chilena – 29 March 2012

The Washington Post – In Chile, Beating Death of Gay Man Stirs Change – 29 March 2012

BBC – Chile Prosecutors Seek Murder Charges Over Gay Attack – 28 March 2012

NTN24 News – Murder of Gay Man by Suspected Neo-Nazi Group Shakes Chile – 28 March 2012

EDGE – Gay Man Brutally Attacked in Chilean Capital Remains in Critical Condition – 25 March 2012

Lugar Endorses The Magnitsky Act

Press Release
Originally sent 3/27/12

Today, U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) made the following statement at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Business Meeting:

“Mr. Chairman, several Committee Members have urged Committee consideration of the Magnitsky Rule of Law Act.  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Senator Cardin for his hard work on the Magnitsky Act.  This bill has been pending before the Foreign Relations Committee for nearly a year, and we held a hearing on the bill last December.  My office has worked with Senator Cardin’s staff to develop a revised version of the bill, which I strongly support.  Therefore, I would look forward to the opportunity for the Committee to consider this legislation at the next business meeting.”

The Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2011 (S. 1039) would impose a travel ban on and freeze the assets of persons responsible for the detention, abuse, and death of Sergei Magnitsky.  The bill provides penalties for persons who commit similar human rights abuses in the future.

Sergei Magnitsky was a young Russian lawyer working for an American law firm in Moscow, who uncovered corruption and tax fraud by Russian officials.  He was subsequently arrested, placed in detention, and ultimately died of pancreatitis after being refused medical care.  The bill would strengthen supporters of modernization and rule of law in Russia.

ICTJ In Focus March 2012 Issue 17

ICTJ in Focus March 2012 Issue 17

Al-Assad’s Regime Agrees to Peace Accord, Brings Hope To End The Violence

By Adom M. Cooper
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East

DAMASCUS, Syria–According the spokesman for UN delegate Kofi Annan, The Syrian government has agreed in principle to accept the joint UN-Arab League envoy’s six-point plan on ending the violence in Syria. This is tremendous news for the civilians of Syrian who are desperate to see the violence end and receive proper humanitarian attention.

Kofi Annan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (Photo Courtesy of Reuters)

“The Syrian government has written to the joint special envoy Kofi Annan, accepting his six-point plan, endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. Mr. Annan views this as an important initial step that could bring an end to the violence and the bloodshed, provide aid to the suffering, and create an environment conducive to a political dialogue that would fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.”

The six points of the peace plan are listed below:

1)Syrian-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people

2)UN-supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians

3)All parties to ensure provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and implement a daily two-hour humanitarian pause

4)Authorities to intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons

5)Authorities to ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists

6)Authorities to respect freedom of association and right to demonstrate peacefully

Mr. Annan is currently in Beijing on a mission to remove any skepticism about his six-point plan so that it can be approved and implemented. Annan met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who pledged his support for the tireless efforts to bring peace to the people of Syria, and Annan has also met with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Moscow. It seems that support from both China and Russia should see the plan through and have the needed assistance reach the citizens of Syria immediately.

China and Russia are both close allies of Syria and already blocked two United Nations Security Council resolutions that condemned al-Assad’s regime. Their previous blocking of resolutions has drawn harsh criticism from Western nations. China continues to oppose foreign military intervention or any type of regime change after witnessing Western forces helping in the successful removal of Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi.

Russia President Medvedev stated on Tuesday 27 March 2012 that it was “short-sighted” to believe that the solution to the crisis is Assad agreeing to Western demands to step down.

As the news of al-Assad’s willingness to agree to the plan broke, opposition forces in Syria known as the Syrian National Council (SNC) met for a second day in Istanbul, Turkey to have a meeting of the minds on common objectives for their nation’s future as the weekend’s “Friends of Syria” conference looms. The opposition in Syria is fragmented and has struggled to remain united in the face of the regime’s deadly crackdown. The talks in Istanbul are aimed at bringing the members to a general consensus and securing international recognition.

Basma Kodmani, a spokeswoman for the SNC, shared these words with Reuters.

“A peaceful transition means that the regime needed to be changed. And that starts with the removal of the head of the state. Mr. Annan’s initiative for us should lead to development of clear terms of reference for negotiation on the modalities of change. Not on whether the change should happen or not.”

While al-Assad and the opposition leaders continue to talk amongst themselves, the situation on the ground has not changed at all. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Syria forced continued their assault across the nation with at least eight people, including three women, killed overnight in battle with rebel troops. Video posted on the Internet by activists showed thick black smoke and blazing buildings in a district of Homs. There were wounded and bleeding men and women lying in a street.

The United Nations has estimated that more than 9,000 people have lost their lives in Syria’s upheaval over the past year, according to the UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry. The Syrian government has continually blamed foreign-backed terrorists for the violence and reported that 3,000 soldiers and police have been killed.

Activists in Syria have shared their skepticism for Kofi Annan’s plan, noting that the Syrian government had only partially implemented a previous Arab League-led plan to halt the violence. A rebel spokesman, identifying himself as Abu Rami, shared with Reuters from Homs, the main arena for fierce fighting between Syrian forces and protesters, that he expected the violence to continue.

“It’s like other initiatives that have been before. They did not stop the shelling.”

There is a widespread consensus among Syrians that al-Assad is simply attempting to bog down Annan and his team of mediators in a frivolous diplomatic process that will give him political cover to continue his military campaign against the opposition. One can hope that Annan’s plan and method of implementation will not allow this to happen or hope for change will dissipate. And the life of every Syrian civilian and protester will remain in imminent danger.


For more information, please see:

Ahram – Syria Accepts Annan Peace Plan – 27 March 2012

Al-Jazeera – Syria ‘Accepts’ Annan Plan To End Strife – 27 March 2012

BBC – Syrian Government Accepts Annan Peace Plan – 27 March 2012

The Guardian – Syria ‘Accepts Annan Peace Plan’ – 27 March 2012

NYT – Syria Reportedly Accepts Peace Plan as Clashes Erupt Near Lebanon – 27 March 2012

Reuters – Annan Says Syria Accepts Peace Plan – 27 March 2012

Washington Post –Syria Accepts Annan’s Peace; China, Russia Also On Board – 27 March 2012