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ARGENTINA | 07-02-2023 13:55

Fernando Báez Sosa’s parents: Judges ‘fell short with sentences’

Mother and father of murdered 18-year-old say their son can now “rest in peace,” though they express dissatisfaction with decision not to sentence all eight to life imprisonment.

Graciela Sosa, the mother of slain teenager Fernando Báez Sosa, said Monday that the family of the victim are "satisfied" with the sentences handed down by a Dolores court against the eight rugby players who killed her son.

However, both her and her husband said they felt the judges leading the court “fell short with the sentences” and said they would support their defence lawyers’ quest to seek harsher sentences for the three defendants convicted of being secondary participants in the attack.

Speaking at a press conference a few hours after verdicts were handed down, Sosa said that the decision to find five of the accused guilty of doubly aggravated homicide had delivered “peace and calm” to the family after a painful three years.

"I felt emotion and peace in my heart. I know who killed my son and now I feel a little calmer,” an emotional Sosa told reporters.

"There were eight of them against a defenceless man," she recalled, describing the attack on her son as an “ambush.”

"They knew what they were doing. They enjoyed murdering my son” said Sosa.

"Today I saw Fer smile and now he can rest in peace. This is what we have been waiting for for three years. It gave me peace and calm to know who murdered him," said the mourning mother, referring to the attack on January 18, 2020.

Báez Sosa’s father, Silvino Báez, had initially expressed satisfaction at the convictions in the immediate aftermath of the verdict, but he said on Monday evening the family would seek harsher sentences on appeal for Ayrton Violaz, Blas Cinalli and Lucas Pertossi, who were given 15 years behind bars for their roles in the brutal assault.

 "I think that with the other three defendants they [the judges] fell short with the sentence. I was surprised, I was expecting 25 [years] or life,” said the father. “The lawyers are going to appeal and go to [the] Cassation [Court].”

Báez said the trial had been “very hard” for him and his wife. “To see him like that in all the videos is very difficult,” he added.

"I would say to my son that we got what we were looking for, which was justice. We are happy with the ruling and we will carry Fernando with us every day," said Fernando’s father.



Asked what lay ahead for the family, both parents said the defence lawyers would file the appeal with the courts imminently.

"We are going to learn to live with the pain. Now we can smile a little," said Silvino.

Sketching out the next legal steps, Báez Sosa family lawyer Fernando Burlando said a challenge would be filed soon while complaining that the court had shown “clemency with three defendants in an irrational way."

"There were eight convictions, it's a good first step. I would have liked the justice system to have put its trousers on. This is only the beginning, it is the first step on the road to an answer that really caresses Fernando's heart," said the lawyer.

"A weak justice when it comes to evaluating sentences is not justice. We don't understand how three [of the accused] were given a 15-year sentence. We, from the technical point of view, want to go a little further," he added.

"I think they remembered to repent too late,” said Silvino Báez. "I would say to my son that we got what we were looking for, which was justice. We will carry Fernando with us every day.”

"It is very difficult to forgive them,” agreed Graciela. “They took away my son who had only gone [on holiday] to have fun. My son is back, but in a closed box from which he will never come out again. Fernando's absence is also perpetual and our pain is perpetual, forever.”

She revealed that she constantly listens to old voice messages sent by her son before his death. “I can’t give him up,” she admitted, wiping away the tears.



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