Political Conviction against Mapuche Youth of Chekenko

Posted on December 5, 2013

woman confronting prison guards

The three young Mapuche Political Prisoners belonging to the Lof Chekenko Community were convicted this Thursday in the town of Angol for the murder of farmer Hector Gallardo. The injustice and racism of the Chilean courts can be seen once again within the framework of the current Presidential elections, in which the entire political class washes their hands of any responsibility.

Luis Marileo, Leonardo Quijon, and Gabriel Valenzuela, who risk 25, 30 and 10 year prison sentences respectively, were found guilty of armed robbery causing death in the events that took place on September 1st, 2012 inside Parcel 22, in the area of San Ramon.

In hearing the verdict, the family members irrupted in a flood of tears and began confronting prison guard personnel surrounding the room, where the farmer’s family was also present.

The Mapuche protest was then moved outside of the courthouse, where riot police arrived in large numbers. Many windows at the Courthouse were broken and an unknown number of Mapuche community members were also arrested.

The convicted belonged to the Wente Winkul Mapu and Jose Guiñon Communities and have been persecuted since they were minors.

This conviction marks a precedent in future trials against Mapuche community members charged by the Chilean State. There are various emblematic trials set to be dealt with by the courts between now and March, including the trial against Machi [Medicine healer] Celestino cordova and Werken [Spokesperson] Daniel Melinao, when the newly elected Chilean President is set to take power. It is quite likely that they will be convicted, since no one is willing to take responsibility for these convictions during the electoral period. These trials and convictions clearly correlate to the political persecution suffered by the communities that maintain dignified processes of resistance and reconstruction of Wallmapu.

Source: The Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu [Toronto]

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