latin america

Gay Chilean man dies after beating

Wladimir Sepúlveda, 21, had been in a coma since October

The case is the second hate crime death to shock the country in the last two years

Santiago de Chile 7 ABR 2014 - 19:34 CET

Wladimir Sepúlveda. / Movilh

Wladimir Sepúlveda Arce, a 21-year-old homosexual man who was left in coma after a brutal attack last October, died early Sunday at a hospital from brain injuries, the Chilean daily La Tercera reported.

According to the Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement (Movilh) – the country’s largest gay collective – Sepúlveda was beaten by at least four suspects as he was walking home with a friend after swimming in a nearby river in San Francisco de Mostazal, south of the Chilean capital.

Both Sepúlveda’s family and Movilh have announced they will press charges against all the suspects under anti-gay discrimination legislation that was passed following the violent 2012 death of another homosexual, Daniel Zamudio, which shocked the country.

“This latest death just goes to show how much more we have to advance as a society,” said Álvaro Elizalde, a government spokesman, in a statement. “We hope that justice will be served, the facts of the case are cleared, and the corresponding punishment is determined.”

Sepúlveda died at the Rancagua Regional Hospital, south of Santiago. According to a friend who was with him, the young man was beaten on October 20 after he had approached a group of four men and two women to ask for a light for his cigarette.

On its website, Movilh said until now only one person has come under investigation, Cristopher Morales Flores, who claims that he acted in self-defense and only lightly punched Sepúlveda. The judge in the case, Pablo Aceituno, ruled that it wasn’t a hate crime and that it was normal for people to insult each other about their sexual orientation during a fight. He placed Morales Flores under house arrest.

Movilh has publicly come out against Judge Aceituno and claims that Morales is covering up for the other people who were involved in the attack.

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