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Three people have been arrested in Brazil after a gay teacher was shot and set on fire.
The body of Lindolfo Kosmaski, a 25-year-old professor, was found on May 1 in the burned-out remains of a car in São João do Triunfo.
Globo reports that local police have arrested three people, aged 20, 33, and 39, who all claimed to know Kosmaski.
Kosmaski was last seen on April 30 at a local bar, and police found his body the following day in a car next to a highway. He had been shot twice, but police can’t confirm if he was still alive when the car was set on fire.
While a motive is still trying to be determined, local activists are branding Kosmaski’s murder a hate crime. Benedito Camargo, his cousin, told UOL that Kosmaski had received death threats prior to being killed.
“He was well known in the region,” Kosmaski said. “Before he died, he paid everyone for beer and then he disappeared. His cell phone stayed at the establishment. A friend said that Lindolfo would have received a death threat days before he was murdered.”
Michel Leite Pereira da Silva, one of the officers investigating Kosmaski’s murder, told Globo that police have “several other stages of data analysis, which is a more technological stage, in order to bring together all the elements necessary to hold those responsible for this nefarious crime to account.”
In addition to teaching at four different schools in the Paraná State Education Network, Kosmaski was also an activist with Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST).
In a statement, MST called him “young, a peasant, gay, full of dreams.”
“He was a person known for affection and care; with a frank smile and an open heart, with a cheerful look, that captivate hugs and love,” MST said. “One of those beings who roam the world with a pounding heart, open to the challenge of learning, teaching and sharing. Loving with his family, his friends and his community.
“He defended life and fought for rural education, agroecology and the right of LGBT people to live and love without fear,” they continued. “A legacy this size is impossible to forget, erase or burn out.”
Earlier this month, a Latvian man died after allegedly being doused in flammable liquid and set on fire in a “homophobic arson attack.”
Normunds Kindzulis succumbed to his injuries after his roommate found him “burning like a torch” outside their home.
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