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Amid Protests, Arrests Made in Suspected Homophobic Murder of Spanish Man

Thursday July 8, 2021
Originally published on July 8, 2021

Samuel Luiz
Samuel Luiz  (Source:Facebook)

The murder of 24-year-old Samuel Luiz early last Saturday in the Spanish city of A Coruña sparked angry demonstrations throughout the country. Luiz was attacked by a group of men who mistakenly thought he was filming them outside a nightclub. The dozen-or-so attackers used a derogatory word for homosexuals, according to Luiz's friends' version of the events.

There were protests on the streets of Asturias, Aragón, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha, Valencia, La Rioja, Murcia, Andalusia, Extremadura and Madrid.

"In the Spanish capital, thousands of people took to the central Puerta del Sol square. The slogan of the protest was: 'No more deaths due to hate, intolerance or discrimination,'" reported reported EL PAÍS.

In A Coruña the city square was filled "with thousands of people on Monday evening, expressing their support for friends and families of Luiz, who was killed during Pride weekend," reported EL PAÍS.

On Wednesday Spanish police have arrested three people over the killing of a male nursing assistant in a suspected homophobic attack that prompted protests across the country. On Tuesday, Spanish authorities confirmed that they had arrested three young people -- aged between 20 and 25 years old -- from Galicia, reported CNN.

"The investigation into the death of Samuel Luiz, 24, is ongoing and no motive has been ruled out -- including the possibility that it was a homophobic crime -- according to Jose Minones, the government's chief delegate to northwest Spain where Luiz was beaten to death on Saturday," CNN continued.

"A judge will decide if this was a hate crime," Minones told Spain's SER radio in an interview on Wednesday.

The two men and one woman who are under arrest, ages 20 to 25, were suspected of direct participation in the attack, according to Minones. "Police are not ruling out the possibility of more arrests and are basing their investigation on statements from 15 people, mobile phone video recorded at the scene, as well as video from security cameras in the area operated by municipal police and local businesses, Minones said," CNN reported.

The Spanish National Police tweeted: "The investigation remains open until the facts are fully clarified," the Spanish national police tweeted, adding that more arrests in the case are possible."

Other officials addressed the crime on social media. "All my condemnation of this hate crime," the country's Social Rights Minister, Ione Belarra, tweeted on Sunday."We want a country free of violence where everyone feels free because of who they are."

"I am confident that the investigation by police will soon find the perpetrators of Samuel's murder and clarify the facts," Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez tweeted on Monday.
"It was a savage and ruthless act. We will not take a step backwards in rights and freedoms. Spain will not tolerate it."

Also on Monday, Spain's Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Larlaska stressed that "no leads have been ruled out, neither hate crime nor any other "The next day he said that police have not ruled out further arrests in connection with the case."

Galicia police have said the investigations are in the early stages and have asked for more time to conduct it. "Police are reviewing surveillance cameras and questioning over a dozen suspects and witnesses who were outside the A Coruña nightclub on the night of the killing," reported EuroNews.