Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mapuche community members continue mobilized in Angol prison for "fair" processes

By: Paula Correa
Wednesday November 28, 2012

This is the case of Leonardo Quijón and other young leaders who accuse persecution by the Justice. In addition, iconic leaders like Héctor Llaitul and Ramón Llanquileo who continue on a hunger strike, reported a number of irregularities, including that the leader of the CAM was denied permission to present his book in the detention center.

On Tuesday it was announced that the Mapuche community member Leonardo Quijón, would initiate a hunger strike inside the jail of Angol to demand his immediate release, adding to the pressure measurement already held two leaders of the Coordinating body of Arauco Malleco (CAM) inside the prison.

While the decision is being evaluated, Quijón the case of is complex, because the young man is in custody under the Anti-Terrorism Act for the murder of parcel holder Hector Gallardo, which occurred this past September.

However, his lawyer, Lorenzo Morales, said that the accusation is false, since witnesses are implicating a long-haired youth when Leonardo had cut his hair four days earlier. He also indicated that Quijón was at least three kilometers away from the area of the crime.

In that sense, Morales, questioned the motives of the prosecutor: "They accused the usual suspects, the police accused a certain circle, and in this case, they were wrong. He has been charged with several offenses previously and has been acquitted on all (...) he had changed his community, even, he was outside of what is called the Red Zone," he explained.

Despite his little more than 20 years, Leonardo Quijón is a renowned Mapuche leader, who has faced Justice from age 14, resulting always free. Currently, the youth has over 180 buckshot in one leg, owing to the raids and clashes which has witnessed.

For the president of the NGO Liberar, Fernando Lira, in such cases "preventive detention is being used to keep the people controlled in jail," explaining that "we often find cases where people are held in pretrial detention and then in the trials they get cleared of all charges."

"There is a list of young men who, at this time, are persecuted. Charges are being generated by any means to keep them away from their communities, of the groups that are in land recovery," said Lira.

Moreover, the historical leaders of the CAM, Héctor Llaitul and Ramón Llanquileo already spent more than 15 days on hunger strike, demanding justice, for they say that they have been tried more than once for the same reasons, violating legal principles, besides being denied prison benefits.

In this framework, the Gendarmes rejected that Llaitul participate in the presentation of his book "Weichan, talks with a weychafe in political prison," scheduled for Saturday, December 1.

According to Pamela Pessoa, partner of the community member, this action "represents a new political persecution against Héctor Llaitul, who not only was persecuted when he was free, but is still being persecuted while in prison," she said.

Previously to Llaitul was also denied the opportunity to attend the first presentation of the text, in Santiago. This measure has generated concern from a number of organizations for the defense of human rights and indigenous peoples, as it would violate their right to freedom of expression.

Nevertheless, said Pamela Pessoa, anyhow, they are evaluating to make the presentation outside the prison compound of Angol.

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