Five of the eight accused for the crime of a young man in Argentina were sentenced to life imprisonment

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The crime of young Fernando Báez Sosa, beaten to death three years ago in Argentina, shocked the country

Five of the eight accused for the crime of a young man in Argentina were sentenced to life imprisonment

Maximo Thomsen, Ciro Pertossi, Matías Benicelli, Luciano Pertossi and Enzo Comelli (NA)

Five friends between the ages of 21 and 23, colleagues in a small provincial rugby club, were sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime of the young man Fernando Báez Sosa, beaten to death three years ago in Argentina, a case that shocked the country.

The ruling for doubly aggravated homicide against Máximo Thomsen, Ciro Pertossi, Matías Benicelli, Luciano Pertossi and Enzo Comelli was read this Monday before the convicted in the courtroom in the city of Dolores, at a hearing in which the parents of Báez Sosa were present.

Three other young rugby players, Blas Cinalli, Lucas Pertossi and Ayrton Viollaz, were sentenced to 15 years in prison, being considered secondary participants.

The reading of the sentence was broadcast live on television. In Dolores, 220 kilometers south of Buenos Aires, dozens of people expressed their solidarity with the parents of Báez Sosa.

Five of the eight accused for the crime of a young man in Argentina were sentenced to life imprisonment

Fernando Báez Sosa

The trial that began on January 2 captivated the country, which three years ago had been moved by the crime of the 18-year-old law student, which occurred on January 18, 2020 in Villa Gesell, 370 km south of Buenos Aires.

In the southern summer of 2020, the convicts vacationed in that spa on the Argentine Atlantic coast, very popular among young people.

That night they were kicked out of a nightclub where a fight had started. In the street, the rugbiers isolated Báez Sosa and attacked him with their fists and kicks, in a beating that caused his death from multiple injuries.

“ Will to kill”

In the trial in Dolores, the prosecution had requested life imprisonment for the eight defendants, evoking the “will to kill” on the part of “everyone”, with a “synchronized coordination” that prevented third parties from coming in help of Báez Sosa.

The lawyer for the young man's family, Fernando Burlando, had also requested life imprisonment for the defendants.

Instead, the defense maintained that premeditation was never proven and requested that the charges be reconsidered as death in a fight with no intent to kill, which would imply a maximum sentence of six years in prison, or failing that simple homicide ( 25 years).

The lawyer for the eight players, Hugo Tomei, remarked that it will never be possible to know who killed the young man.

During the arguments, the defendants, at times between tears, had expressions such as “I apologize”, “I apologize”, “there was no intention to kill”, “there was no plan (to kill)” and “I am sorry.”

The eight rugbiers, all from the small town of Zárate, near Buenos Aires, arrested on the day of the crime, have been in pretrial detention since 2020.

Báez Sosa was the son of a caregiver for the elderly and a bricklayer, both Paraguayan immigrants. He had started a law career, after graduating from a Catholic parochial school and doing charity work.

His crime triggered a series of demonstrations in repudiation and in support of the family, with intense debates about alcohol consumption by young people, the construction of masculinity, xenophobia and racism in this country that identifies itself as descendants of European immigrants.

Rugby in Argentina is amateur and historically it is the middle and upper class sectors that play it or attend matches.

(With information from AFP)

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