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ADL Welcomes Federal Indictment In Shenandoah Hate Crime Case

Philadelphia, PA, December 15, 2009 The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomes the U.S. Department of Justice charging as a federal hate crime the 2008 murder of Luis Eduardo Ramirez Zavala, an undocumented Mexican immigrant from Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.


The perpetrators, a group of white teenagers, brutally beat the victim to his death while yelling racial epithets.  In May 2009, a jury in state court acquitted two of the perpetrators of the most serious charges, and instead, convicted them of simple assault.


Barry Morrison, Regional Director of the ADL Eastern Pennsylvania/Delaware Region, issued the following statement:  

The Department of Justice has done the right thing by investigating and prosecuting as a hate crime the murder of Luis Ramirez.  A federal prosecution sends a clear message that violence based in hate and bigotry will not be condoned in our country. 


Hate crimes have an impact far beyond those immediately affected.  As ADL worked in Shenandoah in the aftermath of the crime, we saw just how deeply Mr. Ramirez's murder, and the message of alarm and fear it sent to the immigrant community, was felt.


Today, our country loudly declared that this xenophobia and violence is intolerable, and that all of our communities are responsible for bringing perpetrators of hate to justice.

In May 2009, ADL wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and urged the Department of Justice to investigate the murder of Mr. Ramirez as a hate crime.  ADL's Eastern Pennsylvania Regional office worked directly with the affected communities and schools after the killing.

ADL has led federal and state advocacy efforts for improved responses to hate violence.  Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have enacted hate crime statutes based on or similar to the ADL model.  In October 2009, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which, among other things, permits the Justice Department to, where appropriate, investigate and prosecute hate crimes in which the victim is targeted because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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2009 Anti-Defamation League