The brutal murder of Danile Zamudio, a
young gay man, has prompted a national debate in Chile over hate
crimes, the AP reported.
Zamudio died Tuesday night from
injuries he received during an attack in a park in Santiago on March
3. Police have arrested 4 suspects who have been charged with
beating Zamudio for an hour, burning him with cigarettes and carving
Nazi symbols into his body.
On Wednesday, prosecutor Ernesto
Vazquez requested that the charges against the jailed suspects be
changed from attempted murder to premeditated murder. If convinced,
the men, whose ages range from 19 to 26, face life in prison.
Hundreds of people attended daily
vigils outside the hospital where Zamudio lost his fight for life
after 25 days.
Zamudio's death, which has been
described as a clear case of homophobia, prompted President Sebastian
Pinera to pledge passage of an anti-discrimination bill which was
first proposed in 2005.
“His death will not remain unpunished
and reinforces the complete commitment of the government against all
arbitrary discrimination and for a more tolerant country,” Pinera
tweeted from South Korea.
Evangelical churches have lobbied
heavily against the proposed measure, arguing it would lead to the
eventual legalization of gay marriage.