A young gay man brutally attacked by suspected neo-Nazis earlier this month has been left brain-dead, according to latest reports from doctors in Santiago, Chile.
Daniel Zamudio has been in intensive care in Santiago’s Central Hospital since March 6 when he was admitted for multiple injuries sustained in the attack. His condition turned critical on Saturday and, according to a spokesman for the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (MOVILH), could turn fatal within the next 48 hours.
The 24-year old was brutally assaulted by four youths who tore off part of his ear, branded his body with neo-Nazi symbols, dropped a heavy stone several times on his stomach and used his legs as a lever until his bones fractured.
The family lawyer, Jaime Silva, told reporters that if Daniel dies, his case will be considered a “homicidal attack.”
“The Chilean legal system is considering the case as one of the most serious and therefore sets the maximum penalty, life imprisonment, which results in 40 years in prison before the accused is permitted to apply for any type of benefit,” Silva stated on Radio DNA.
Roland Jiminez, the President of MOVILH said that “it is of the utmost gravity that Chile still has groups like these neo-Nazis acting with impunity, and this is the case, among other factors, because political groups and the Chilean state have not registered the real threat these groups pose.”
The sociologist Humberto Lagos commented on the prevalence of these attacks to BBC Mundo.
“These neo-Nazi groups do not arise spontaneously but obey a logic of Nazi behaviour, internationally and nationally, and in Chile and other countries they are trying to form political parties,” he warned.
Government officials have pushed through an anti-discrimination bill, pending approval by Congress, with the aim of preventing the recurrence of such incidents.
“The anti-discrimination law is being held as a matter of urgency,” the home secretary, Rodrigo Hinzpeter, stated earlier this month. “I think that the country should also consider legislation that sanctions, as many modern democracies, incitement to hatred.”
In Chile there are allegedly 30 neo-Nazi cells in operation; the gay and Jewish community are the principle targets under threat. Senator Lily Perez received death threats during her political campaign in 2009.