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Thousands Take to Streets in Argentina to Demand Justice for Teen’s Brutal Killing by Rugby Players

Demonstrators mourn the death of Fernando Baez Sosa, who was beaten to death a month ago in the coastal resort of Villa Gesell in Buenos Aires province, during a protest outside of National Congress, in Buenos Aires, Argentina February 18, 2020. (Reuters/Matias Baglietto)

Demonstrators mourn the death of Fernando Baez Sosa, who was beaten to death a month ago in the coastal resort of Villa Gesell in Buenos Aires province, during a protest outside of National Congress, in Buenos Aires, Argentina February 18, 2020. (Reuters/Matias Baglietto)

The case of Fernando Baez has shocked Argentina and dominated media headlines after a video of the January 18 incident circulated widely on social media.

Buenos Aires: Thousands of people rallied outside Argentina's Congress to demand justice for the killers of an 18-year-old month after he was savagely beaten to death by a group of young rugby players.

The case of Fernando Baez has shocked Argentina and dominated media headlines after a video of the January 18 incident circulated widely on social media.

Thousands of people sang in unison on Tuesday at the Buenos Aires rally, which was organized by Baez's family and friends.

Another march was held in Villa Gesell -- the resort on the Atlantic coast 370 kilometres south of the capital where the incident occurred -- to urge a trial as soon as possible.

Eight of the accused, aged between 18 and 20, are in pre-trial detention after a judge said the group had acted "to consummate a previously agreed plan to kill Baez." "Justice for my son is to see the guilty made prisoners for life," the victim's mother, Graciela Sosa, said in an emotional speech outside the Congress building.

"What they did to my son is not forgiven. He was killed when he could not defend himself. He was a good boy who loved life," she said.

Protesters carried banners with a photo of Baez and posters with the legend "Justice for Fernando, let's live without violence!" The judge accused the group of acting with "malice" in the attack outside a nightclub.

Baez was knocked to the ground and beaten and kicked repeatedly. He died of head injuries caused by blows while he was prone on the sidewalk.

If found guilty the accused -- from the Arsenal de Zarate club, north of Buenos Aires -- could face life imprisonment. Like Baez, they were on vacation at the time of the attack, which happened at the height of the Argentina's summer vacation season.

Two of the 10 young men arrested after the incident were released from jail but remain under investigation.

first published:February 19, 2020, 08:12 IST