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Six people arrested in Spain over suspected homophobic killing

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By Euronews
A rainbow flag with a black ribbon flutters during a protest on Monday in the Puerta del Sol in central Madrid.
A rainbow flag with a black ribbon flutters during a protest on Monday in the Puerta del Sol in central Madrid.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Bernat Armangue
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Spanish police have arrested two more people in connection with the death of a 24-year-old gay man last weekend.

Samuel Luiz was found unconscious outside a nightclub in A Coruña, after being beaten. Emergency services failed to revive him and he died on Saturday morning.

On Tuesday, Spanish authorities confirmed that they had arrested three young people from Galicia, two boys, and a girl all aged between 20 and 25 years old.

A fourth person, a male suspect, was also detained on Thursday on suspicion of "murder and misappropriation".

And on Friday, Spain's national police confirmed on Twitter that they had detained two more young suspects.

"Two new arrests, both minors and Spanish nationals, linked to Samuel's murder, bring the number of people arrested so far to six," they said.

None of those detained knew the victim, a police source added.

The brutal killing of Samuel Luiz has sparked nationwide demonstrations from LGBT+ groups across a number of Spanish cities, with many describing his death as a homophobic "hate crime".

Thousands of people gathered in the capital city, Madrid, many waving rainbow flags and others holding banners demanding "Justice for Samuel".

Friends and relatives of the victim say the nursing assistant was deliberately targeted for being gay and say his attackers used derogatory language during the beating.

Samuel Luiz, who was born in Brazil, was reportedly attacked while on a video call, by suspects who believed he was trying to record them. His death came just days after the end of Pride week in Spain.

"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."

On Monday, Spain's Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Larlaska stressed that "no leads have been ruled out, neither hate crime nor any other".

Grande-Larlaska added on Tuesday that police have not ruled out further arrests in connection with the case.

Meanwhile, authorities in the autonomous community of Galicia, where the attack took place, have asked for time to fully investigate the killing.

Jose Miñones, the government's delegate, told reporters that the police probe was in its early stages and that they were trying to establish the motive.

"Our society cannot allow the violence that took the life of Samuel in A Coruña this weekend," he added on Twitter.

"The police are working to clarify the facts and bring the perpetrators to justice. In these moments of pain and anger, I appeal for prudence and responsibility."

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.

Meanwhile, police in Madrid have also faced criticism after videos of skirmishes between officers and LGBT+ protestors have circulated on social media.

"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."

According to Interior Ministry figures, hate crimes related to sexual orientation in Spain rose by 8.6% in 2019.

LGBT+ activist groups claim that official statistics only capture a fraction of the problem because many incidents are not reported.

Additional sources • AP, EFE