On Friday, September 30th, a Temuco Court acquit two Mapuche men – Luis Tralcal and Mauricio Huaiquilao — of a number of crimes, including charges made under Chile’s Antiterrorism Law. The case stemmed from a variety of incidents that occurred between 2005 and 2009, and the trial began on September 5th of this year. After 18 days of trial, the case concluded today and the judges gave their verdict. Despite the victory for the Mapuche defendants, there was some talk about the judgement being challenged by the prosecutor.
The two Mapuche men had originally been charged with multiple crimes. Luis Tralcal was being tried on charges of illegal possession of munitions and cartridges as well as illegal possession of explosives and materials to construct explosive devices. The prosecutors were seeking 37 years in prison for Tralcal. Mauricio Huaiquilao, on the other hand, was being charged with starting fires (arson), one of which was classified as a terrorist act. The prosecutor was seeking 50 years of jail time for Huaiquilao. In addition to the charges mentioned, both men were charged with making terrorist threats.
The defense argued that there was a lack of evidence to link either men to any of the crimes. Specifically, the defense focused on a lack of eyewitnesses and physical evidence necessary to support a conviction. Ultimately, the judges agreed that there was a lack of evidence and acquitted the individuals.
That said, it was noted in the decision that there was one vote with respect to Huaiquilao, that enough evidence had been presented to implicate him in terrorist acts. While this dissenting vote does not change the verdict, its reasoning will be analyzed by the prosecutors as they consider challenging the entire verdict.