February 22, 2011
The Tribunal of Cañete decided in favor of the 17 Mapuche accused of various felonies classified as terrorism and related to the theft of wood. Nonetheless, 4 of them were found guilty for the attack against State’s Attorney Mario Elgueta in October, 2008.
Excitement was in the air minutes after the decision of the Cañete Tribunal became known, with the acquittal of 14 Mapuche accused of illegal association and terrorist arson, and another three accused of being part of an organization for the theft of wood in the area of Tirúa.
The president of the Tribunal, Jorge Díaz, indicated that even if it were certain that the acts alleged by the Public Ministry did in fact occur and could be characterized as terrorism, they did not succeed through their evidence and testimonies to establish that the accused participated in the crimes, and therefore they were all absolved. As such, the secret witness used by prosecutor Andrés Cruz was discredited.
Of the 17 accused, only Héctor Llaitul, Ramón Llanquileo, Jonathan Huillical and José Huenuche were found guilty of the felonies “Robbery with Intimidation,” “Assault on Authority,” and “Attempted Homicide” against state’s attorney Mario Elgueta and three functionaries of the PDI (Investigative Police), however the tribunal classified these felonies as common rather than terrorist crimes.
What constituted the gravest setback for the prosecutor was the absolution of all 17 comuneros [Mapuche who live in the communities] for the felonies of theft of wood and arson targeting cabins [of tourists or the forestry company], principally in the area of lake Lleu Lleu, in the years 2005-2008.
Immediately, all the absolved comuneros, except those who have cases pending in other tribunals, walked out the door, after spending around 2 years in pretrial detention, and were reunited with their excited family members.
[during the prior two weeks, there have been multiple actions in the Mapuche territories, with an oil well being blockaded, a police eviction of reclaimed lands being repelled, an evicted territory reoccupied, and numerous new land reclamations, in both the Chilean and Argentinean parts of the occupied Mapuche territories—Wallmapu and Puelmapu]