Convicted for a homophobic attack in Móstoles: "I'm a legionnaire, they had to kill you all, fagots"

"Fucking fagot, they had to kill you all, you are not men, you are the shame of this country, I am a legionnaire, when I see you on the street I am going to kill you." These are some of the homophobic threats and insults that two young homosexuals heard a year and a half ago on the terrace of a bar in the Madrid town of Mostoles. The author, a former legionnaire with various criminal records, has been sentenced to six months in prison for a hate crimeanother of threats and also for disobeying the agents of the National Police who went to the place to intervene in the aggression.

The events, according to the sentence to which has had access, took place on the terrace of a bar in the Plaza de Flandes de Móstoles in September 2020. The two young people were sitting on the terrace and the defendant inside the bar . From there he began to rebuke the two for being homosexuals, making fun of them when they spoke and moving on to homophobic insults: "Faggot, you are faggots, they had to hang you all." He even spit in the face of one of them while saying things like "fucking fagot" and "they had to kill you all".

The homophobic aggression continued with the defendant saying that they were not "men" and that they were "the shame of the country", repeating on several occasions that he was a legionnaire and that he was going to "kill" them if he saw them on the street. It was the owners of the premises who called the police and it was then that the defendant confronted them, saying that "if they were going to defend some fagots, it's because they weren't police." According to eyewitnesses, they had to take him "in flight" to the police station while he shouted that he was a legionnaire and that when he came out he was going to "take a shotgun" and shoot "two shots" at them.

During the investigation, the defendant – who according to his defense sources is a former legionnaire, as he vociferously claimed – denied the facts. Later in the trial he limited himself to recognizing them, but tried to convince the court that he did not insult and rebuke his victims for their sexual orientation. He argued before the judges that the two young men were "doing handyman" and that he rebuked them because it seemed to him "conduct that was not appropriate in a public place." He pointed out that he would have done the same if they were a heterosexual couple. The insults and threats, he added, came because he was drunk: "I got hot."

The Provincial Court of Madrid has no doubt that the real reason for their attitude that night was neither alcohol nor that the victims did not keep decorum, but their sexual orientation. "His lack of inhibition was the result of his visceral rejection towards homosexual relationships", say the judges to add that "everything indicates that it was a reaction of intolerance for not admitting relationships of this nature as normal".

As stated in the public accusation of the Prosecutor's Office, which requested up to a year in prison for the defendant in the trial, the Madrid Court understands that he committed a hate crime. The insults and threats, say the judges, entailed "a humiliation, contempt or disrepute" towards the two young people, who said they are afraid to return to the same place in case they met the aggressor although they went relatively frequently. And there was no previous conflict, they point out, that led to these insults in an additional way: "He acted completely gratuitously, interfering in a conversation with others and, when the incident seemed over, provoking one of those affected in a serious and attacking way against their dignity," say the judges.

For this reason, Justice concludes in this sentence that according to the defendant's defense is already firm, that the convicted person "acted for reasons of intolerance and homophobia" and his objective was "to curtail or limit the freedom of the victims, due to their sexual condition" . The damage to their dignity, continue the judges, is "serious", and the "intimidating effect" of these attacks is great, since "the victims fear finding themselves in a similar situation and may end up eluding their presence in said places to avoid conflict".

The result is a sentence of six months in prison and a fine of 1,080 euros for a hate crime, another fine of 180 euros for a minor crime of threats and a third fine of 2,166 euros for another crime of serious disobedience. The sentence, which as explained by the defendant's defense has not been appealed to the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid and is now final, also prohibits him from approaching less than half a kilometer from the victims and disqualifies him from working in the educational field for three and a half years.

The latest annual report of the State Attorney General's Office reveals a decrease in the total number of open proceedings for hate crimes, an increase in acts allegedly committed through the internet and social networks, but also that sexual orientation is the most frequent reason behind of these attacks in 39% of the cases, according to the Barcelona Public Prosecutor's Office. Last year, according to data from the Public Ministry, 144 sentences were issued for hate crimes or with the presence of the aggravating circumstance of discrimination.

The resolution to which this newspaper has had access reinforces its conviction arguments in other sentences of the Madrid courts that have also sanctioned similar homophobic behavior. It puts on the table, for example, the sentence of half a year in prison that the Madrid Court itself imposed on a security guard at the Plaza shopping center in the town of Fuenlabrada for homophobic treatment of two young people.

It happened in April 2017, when the two boys were kissing and the security guard alerted another security guard to the existence of two "pink codes" in reference to young homosexuals. He approached them, asked them if "it seemed normal to them" and told them that "those were not forms, that there were children and families in front of them, that they were being disrespectful and that if they didn't change their attitude, he was going to end up throwing them out." He even grabbed one of them by the arm and tried to kick them out of the mall.

In the case of the Móstoles attack, moreover, the judges understand that he also directly threatened the two young homosexuals. "The defendant directed specific threats against the complainants to kill them if they were found on the street," say the judges, which is "a plus" in addition to his homophobic comments and, therefore, "deserves a separate sanction" even if they understand that he did not have a "serious and firm" purpose of carrying out those death threats.

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