Thursday, February 14, 2013

Accusation of direct government intervention in case of Emilio Berkhoff, Chile

After justice revoked yesterday the precautionary measure of a fortnightly signature that weighed against Emilio Berkhoff, the Court ordered the preventive detention of the alleged member of the Coordinadora Arauco Malleco (CAM), for the offense of possession of arms and ammunition. Faced with the verdict of justice, the Government issued a public statement by the interior minister (s) Rodrigo Ubilla, who said that he is a "fugitive associated with the CAM" and that for the government it is essential to keep Berkhoff in prison during the investigation.
On leaving his home in Temuco, Berkhoff said: "I want to announce that my arrest is the result of the pressures exerted by the government to court, and I assume my political imprisonment with the greatest dignity that gives us the freedom struggle to all Mapuche political prisoners." Peggy Bocaz, his partner, in turn, said that "the preventive pressure that was imposed is due to pressure from the Ministry of Interior to the judiciary."

For José Araya, coordinator of the Citizenship and Intercultural Citizens Observatory, the governments performance in this case is tricky because, as he said, "it is obvious that there is a direct interference by the government and continued criticism of the courts and to the actions undertaken in the prosecution of crimes of violence that have occurred in the south and involving Mapuche." Araya also added that the communities are concerned, since it is precisely the government's actions which makes it possible to speak of a setup, as the insistence on qualifying events without having initiated a judicial inquiry would provide a blanket of protection to political and legal persons performing police investigation. 

Preventive detention of Emilio Berkhoff  is ordered under government pressure
February 12, 2013

Without more accusations than those of "illegal possession of weapons," the Court of Appeals of Concepción ordered the preventive detention of the member the Support Network CAM, revoking the fortnightly signature that had been determined on that charge.

Berkhoff was arrested Friday February 1 near Puerto Choque, Lake Lleu Lleu, along with his family, where according to police, he was carrying a firearm. For this he was formalized and the court of Warranty of Cañete ordered him to sign fortnightly.

At the same time, he was taken to Temuco for a pending arrest warrant to be formalized for abuse of work to a policeman after a march in 2010, cause for which he was held first in preventive detention and then only under full house arrest.

But it was the government by means of the Minister of the Interior Andrés Chadwick, who publicly condemned Emilio Berkhoff ensuring, exhibiting no background, that "he was leading terrorist actions in La Araucanía", accusations that stayed in words, because the prosecution has not presented anything about that to the courts.

Nevertheless, on Tuesday the Court of Appeals of Concepción accepted the request of the prosecution in order to revoke the fortnightly signature and order admission to preventive detention in any of the prisons of the Bio Bio region, under the same antecedents of the beginning, nothing new.

In fact, the defense accused the prosecution of not being impartial, because in other cases of persons accused of the same crime of carrying of a weapon, under the same antecedents, they have been released, even with a conditional suspension of the case.

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