In a case that’s gripped Brazil, a gay law student in São Paulo was brutally gay bashed by two assailants. The assault happened as 27 year-old André Baliera was returning home from school on Monday evening. The men suddenly stopped their car and started verbally assaulting Baliera, O Globo reports. Baliera says he was repeatedly called “f**got,” and when he tried to talk with the men, they attacked him. Thankfully locals came to Baliera’s aid and apprehended the two attackers—personal trainers Bruno Portieri, 25, and Diego Souza, 29. Prosecutors are charging the pair with a hate crime and attempted first-degree murder. If the two are found guilty they could face fines of up to R$ 55,000 (US$ 24,632) each, in addition to an unspecified jail term. But Souza and Portieri claim that if Baliera hadn’t talked back they would’ve let him go. They alsodeny the attack was based on his sexual orientation. Some Brazilian journalists also reported the story as if Baliera provoked the men.