Monday, December 10, 2012
Appeal for Protection presented against police violence in Araucanía
December 9, 2012
By Luis García-Huidobro
"I started to bleed from the cut wound that I got in the face from the kicks I received... There were at least four policemen who kicked me... I was told to declare that the wound on my face had been an accident at work, if I went to the hospital."
At the same time that the retention of Walter Ramirez in the Carabineers of Chile, despite having killed from behind Matthias Catrileo, has caused a controversy, there was an Appeal for Protection presented in the Court of Appeals of Temuco.
We share the story of Mapuche community member Jorge Melinao as presented in court.
Story of community member in Appeal for Protection filed on December 7 in Temuco Court
JORGE LEONEL MELINAO NECULPAN:
On Monday December 3rd of this year, around 6 pm, we returned to our homes from a job of cutting wood in the community Tricauco. The van was driven by Marcelo Valenzuela Melinao and in the back, with all our tools, were traveling with me: Ivan Huenchumil Levinao and my brother Marco Melinao Neculpan. We had worked all day, from 8 in the morning, returning by the road linking inner-San Ramon neighborhood with Chequenco. One kilometer from the San Ramon booth and facing the Gallardo family property we were stopped by a police Micro (van) that was crossed on the road, with this vehicle at the scene I spotted two zorrillos, one GOPE van, at least two white double cab trucks and a red one, the latter with civilian personnel.
In total between soldiers and civilians there were around 40 to 45 policemen, it was what I could see before I was taken down from the truck and they started beating us, preventing us to look at them.
Stopping the truck, GOPE members pointed at us with submachine guns, and commanded us to get out of the vehicle and to throw ourselves to the ground, I stayed standing next to the truck and then I was attacked with punches and also with blows with the back of the gun, blows to the face and body, being insulted with racist expressions such as "Indian son of ..." and other expressions of the same rude tenor. Once worked to the ground they continued to beat me. They strapped our wrists behind our backs with a plastic strip really tight that made our hands swell. They did not take them off at any time, until I was released after 11 at night.
Until that moment they had never asked me for identification, I was asked no questions and I had even less been informed of the causes for the arrest. This direct attack lasted about 10 minutes and I noticed that my brother and Ivan also was being beaten and insulted right next to me. I did not hear that they were asked any documents or being informed of the arrest, to none of them.
I started bleeding from the cut wound that I got in the face from the kicks received, I could not say how many kicks I received, but there were at least four policemen who kicked me. I told them to leave my friends alone and tried to get up, but they kept hitting me.
At no time did I attempt to respond to the brutal aggression, in fact it was impossible because of the the inferiority in which we found ourselves.
At one time the four of us were put on our knees one after the other, as in a row, and there came some civilian officials with cameras filming us and they were taking pictures, all this by force. They stepped on our heads.
At one time were put the four of us on our knees one after the other, as in a row, and there came some civilian officials with cameras filming they and they were taking pictures, all this by force. They stepped on our heads.
At the micro of the they took us to the the carabineers headquarters of Pidima, leaving us handcuffed inside the micro in the courtyard of the headquarters for about an hour without giving any explanation, we asked that they loose the bonds and they responded with racist rudeness, prominent among them an NCO of the FFEE for his aggressiveness and violence.
They told me to declare that the wound on my face had been an accident at work, if going to the hospital. About an hour after staying in the headquarters of Pidima, inside the police bus, they freed the driver of the truck, Marcelo Valenzuela, for a return of the tools, which were not returned in full.
They took me out of the micro and made me get in to an RP where Javier Levinao was already, who was arrested in another location nearby, being taken to the police station of Collipulli where we were left in the RP for about half an hour more, all the time with the tight ropes.
After that they took me to the hospital of Collipulli to verify injuries together with Javier Levinao, it was nine o'clock in the night. The wound in my face was treated, putting a patch on it, they did not take any data in the hospital, they did not remove the ties at any time in the hospital. They made me get on the RP and they took me back to the police station, there I was locked in a cell, according to the police because they had to wait for an order of Ercilla or the prosecutor to release us or wait for another day.
At 23:00, approximately, I was released and signing the book for my departure I was informed that I had been arrested for threatening police and would be cited by the prosecution.
I submit this appeal because I want someone to give an explanation of what happened to me and because I have a fear that it could happen again if I do not denounce it as we travel that road regularly for work, I have also fears that they may misuse the recordings that they made on the road, when they had us kneeling in a row.