January 9, 2014
The Criminal Court of Angol absolved Werken Daniel Melinao of the charges that accused him of Sergeant Hugo Albornoz’s murder in April 2012, during a violent raid in the Wente Winkul Mapu Community in Lof Chekenko. Mapuche community members gathered outside the court house to carry out a ceremony.
The decision was presented this morning after reading the verdict. The verdict was divided, two against one, in which the judges could not sustain the absurd set-up that was raised by the prosecution together with the Interior Minister to punish the struggle of Went Winkul Mapu.
We are now awaiting a rebuttal on behalf of Anti-Mapuche Prosecutor, Luis Chamorro, to have the case appealed to the Chilean Supreme Court, or have the trial annulled all together.
Daniel Melinao was charged as the co-author in the murder of GOPE Special Forces Officer Hugo Albornoz, in which young Eric Montoya, remains as the principal accused. Eric had to go underground (before he knew about being charged in the homicide case) after being convicted of charges relating to the reclamation of Mapuche territory, occupied by settler and entrepreneur, Juan de Dios Fuentes; as well as the constant harassment he and his family had suffered by the Prosecution.
According to the Prosecution, Eric Montoya had received ammunition from Daniel Melinao. However, since the case against the Werken in the murder of the Sergeant could not be proven, the second case could also be potentially dismissed by the Courts. This moreover strengthens the arguments made by the Wente Winkul Mapu Community, in that the death of the Sergeant was caused by friendly fire; in other words, by another police officer.
The Prosecution was asking for a 20 year sentence for first degree murder of a Police Officer, solicited a sentence of 10 additional years for attempted murder of other police officers during the events that took place that day, as well as a year for misdemeanor. Daniel Melinao was absolved of all charges and subsequently set free to reunite con his family and return to his community.