Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mapuche Juvenile Processed Under Antiterrorism Law

 On Saturday, April 30th, a Mapuche juvenile (either 16 or 17, depending on the report) was detained and, ultimately, arrested and processed for four crimes under Chile’s Antiterrorism Law. Specifically, the youth was processed for having violated the arson, association (with terrorists), attempted terrorist murder and armed robbery sections of the Antiterrorism Law.

Although the investigation is still pending, the Temuco Court of Appeals met on May 3rd and granted the youth his freedom. This decision upheld what the lower court had granted and came despite arguments from the Chilean prosecutor seeking continued detention as the proceedings continue.

The arrest and processing were controversial for a number of reasons, one of which is because, according to José Venturelli, the European Secretariat of the Ethical Commission Against Torture, the arrest and processing violates the commitments made by the Chilean Government to the Mapuche with respect to terrorism charges. In addition, according to Venturelli, the arrest appears to be in violation of international law.

Thus far, the media coverage of the event has been scarce and this site is aware of no comments made by any Chilean Government officials on this issue at this time.

In addition to being processed under the Antiterrorism Law, there were also allegations made by Jorge Huenchullan — the werken of the community where the arrest took place — of abuse and coercion at the time of the arrest. At the time of this writing, those allegations have neither been corroborated by other witnesses, nor denied by the Chilean Government.


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