On Wednesday, June 8th, the Chilean Government separated the four Mapuche prisoners who have been on a hunger strike for 86 days, and sent them to separate hospitals. Natividad Llanquileo, the spokesperson for the prisoners, alleged that the relocations were “violent” and that at least one of the prisoners was “beaten, handcuffed, and sedated.” Meanwhile, the latest medical reports show that the Mapuche individuals’ health continues to deteriorate and that some irreversible damage to their bodies has already occurred.
According to multiple sources, the four Mapuche individuals were sent to different hospitals in different towns in the afternoon: Ramón Llanquileo was sent to Concepción; Jonathan Huillical went to Nueva Imperial; José Huenuche was taken to Los Ángeles; while Héctor Llaitul remained at the medical center in Victoria. Although allegations of “violent transfers” were alleged for all four individuals, Llanquileo singled out Llaitul and stated that he had been “beaten, handcuffed, and sedated.”
Recall that the four individuals began their hunger strike because they claim that their due process rights were violated at their criminal trial. The Chilean Supreme Court, in a decision handed down last Friday, disagreed with that claim (although the Court did reduce their sentences on other grounds). After the decision was announced, the four Mapuche strikers quickly decided to continue fasting until they receive a new trial. On Monday (June 6th), members of the strikers’ families joined in the fasting as a sign of solidarity.
Several news sources indicated that there was concern that the Mapuche prisoners were possibly being transferred in order to be force-fed. Thus far, however, there is no indication that any force-feeding has occurred, but such measures have already been approved by the Temuco Court of Appeals and can, legally, be used in the future.