Tag Archives: Carabineros

Chilean Government Tests “Ethnic Patrols” Near Temuco

On Wednesday, May 29th, the Chilean police force unveiled a test project designed to improve relations between the police force and the Mapuche people — a relationship that, in certain parts of Chile, has involved significant amounts of violence. The project involves the use of “ethnic patrols,” which consist of trained police officers of Mapuche ethnicity who speak Mapuzungun (the Mapuche language). These patrols will also utilize specially-painted vehicles. Continue reading

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Nearly One-Quarter of All Illegal Detentions in Chile are of Indigenous Individuals

Yesterday, Georgy Schubert Studer, Chile’s Defensor Nacional (the head public defender in the country) released a number of statistics related to Chilean criminal justice in 2012 and discussed some concerns he had with them. Specifically, Studer highlighted two statistics related to Indigenous peoples living in Chile:

  • First, he mentioned that Indigenous peoples — along with foreigners and migrants — were disproportionately held in pre-trial detention (which can occur at several different points prior to trial). Approximately 7% of all cases of pre-trial detention involved Indigenous individuals.
  • Second, Studer indicated that although only 1.5% of arrests result in a finding of an illegal arrest, nearly one-quarter (23.7%) of those illegal arrests involve Indigenous individuals.

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Supreme Court Reverses Two Mapuche Convictions; Hunger Strike Ends After 60 Days

On Wednesday, October 24th, the Chilean Supreme Court unanimously overturned the convictions of two Mapuche men who had been charged with the attempted murder of Chilean police officers. The convictions were overturned on the grounds that evidence was lacking at the lower court level to prove attempted murder. Although the two men were not completely absolved of all crimes, the ruling was well-received and, on Thursday, the men called an end to their hunger strike that had been in progress for 60 days. Continue reading

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Mapuche Hunger Strikers Reach Day 40; Attorneys Argue in Front of Supreme Court

On Thursday, October 4th, attorneys for four Mapuche prisoners who were sentenced for a variety of alleged crimes, including attempted murder of police officers, went before the criminal chamber of the Chilean Supreme Court. The attorneys argued for a mistrial and dismissal of the convictions based on a lack of evidence. Additionally, arguments were made to apply the American Convention on Civil Rights and the International Labor Organization Convention 169 on Indigenous Peoples to the prisoners’ prison conditions, which could allow them additional prison privileges. The Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision with respect to these issues on October 24, 2012. Continue reading

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Military Court Reverses Conviction of Police Officer Who Killed a Mapuche Man

On August 12, 2009 a 24-year-old Mapuche man named Jaime Mendoza Collío was shot and killed by Miguel Patricio Jara Muñoz, a Chilean police officer (carabinero). The shooting occurred in the context of a land dispute over traditional Mapuche territory. Within a week, the officer was charged with using unnecessary force that resulted in death, and has defended himself by arguing that the force was justifiable given the circumstances. The courts repeatedly rejected Jara’s claims of self-defense and, after many appeals, Jara was sentenced to five years and one day in prison in November of 2011. On Saturday, August 18th, the Chilean military court system, announced that it was abandoning the earlier conviction on the grounds that Jara’s actions were done in self-defense. Continue reading

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Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (OAS) Condemns Injuries to Mapuche Children

On Thursday, August 2nd, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights — a part of the Organization of American States — issued a statement condemning the Chilean government’s actions with respect to Mapuche children. The Commission stated that multiple Mapuche children were injured during an operation by police to evict individuals who were protesting for their land rights. The body also urged Chile to “investigate the facts and sanction those responsible, and to adopt measures in order to avoid in the future the excesive use of force in these operations.” Continue reading

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More Violence Erupts in Ercilla; 7 Mapuche and 3 Police Injured

On Thursday, June 7th, another police raid erupted into violence at the Mapuche community Wente Winkul Mapu in the sector Chequenco Alto of the comuna of Ercilla.  According to the Chilean government, the police (carabineros) were ordered to arrest a Mapuche individual named Erik Montoya who is accused of attempting to kill a police officer and a farmer in an incident in October of 2011.  There are conflicting reports on how the events unfolded, but it is clear that seven Mapuche individuals sustained injuries — including two juveniles — and three police officers were also hurt in the encounter.  Two Mapuche individuals were also arrested during the raid. Continue reading

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Chile’s Supreme Court Overturns Case Seeking to Protect Mapuche Children from Police

On Friday, May 25th, the Chilean Supreme Court announced their decision in a case involving the Mapuche community of José Jineo. The case sought to protect Mapuche women and children from police abuse, and was in response to a number of police raids that occurred in that community during the month of January. Ultimately, the Supreme Court stated there was insufficient evidence to suggest that Chilean police officers had inappropriately used their powers in the Mapuche community. Continue reading

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Chile’s National Institute of Human Rights Files Case on Behalf of Mapuche Against Police

On Friday, February 3rd, Chile’s National Institute of Human Rights (Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos or INDH) filed a case with the Temuco Court of Appeals on behalf of the Mapuche children and youth living in the Mapuche community of José Jineo. The allegations are that the police have engaged in conduct which has harmed the physical and mental integrity of minors in the region. INDH has said they hope the legal action will result in the court ordering whatever measures are necessary to protect the affected youths from future violations. Continue reading

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Supreme Court Issues Another Decision Addressing Police Violence in Mapuche Communities

On January 5, 2012, the Chilean Supreme Court upheld a ruling in favor of a Mapuche youth from Temucuicui that originated in the Court of Appeals in Temuco.  The case arose following an altercation between police forces and Mapuche community members in Temucuicui on December 8th, during which the police detained Felipe Marillán Morales, a 12-year-old minor.  It is the second case in recent weeks to address the legality of police operations in the Araucanía region. Continue reading

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