This past Thursday, December 13th, the Court of Collipullu denied bail for the young Mapuche, Leonardo Quijon of the Chequenco Community, announcing that he will switch to a dry hunger strike in the next few days.
It should be noted that the Prosecution is accusing him of the murder of farmer Hector Gallardo, on the night of Saturday September 1st, when he had been suspiciously attacked by a group of hooded men, allegedly armed according to Prosecutor Luis Chamorro.
Leonardo will continue on the hunger strike he initiated on November 27th and evaluates leaving behind liquids in the next few days, if his demands are not met, which at least include bail. He demands a just trial, the acceleration of his judicial process and transparency, as well as that his witnesses be accepted, an end to all set ups against the Mapuche People and that the family of the deceased rectify their testimony.
Leonardo has been in pre-trial prison since he voluntarily handed himself in order to demonstrate his innocence on September 3rd of this year, and until now, Prosecutor Chamorro has never asked him testify or any of the witnesses solicited by the defense, led by Attorney Lorenzo Morales.
Regarding this issue, Lorenzo Morales pointed out that “the Bail Court of Collipulli solicited the Prosecution to investigate whether Leonardo had long hair at the time of the incident, and moreover pointed out that he did not wish any more discussion on the matter at his Court. He also gave a fixed time period in order to call the witnesses presented by the Defense to Court.”
The Attorney also added that only the alleged participation of the Defendant in the crime was discussed in the hearing. Additionally, in order to dispute the issue of long hair, the Defense presented a photo uploaded on Facebook on August 27th showing short hair, planning to move to the Community of Curaco where his partner lives.
Morales added that “Leonardo is in pre-trial prison only because of the accusation of one witness and not due to any substantial evidence. In fact, at the scene of the crime organic traces were found and we asked Prosecutor Chamorro to do DNA testing, which has not been carried out.”
To further complications, the Defense Attorney stated that he presented a letter to the Court signed in Collipulli by Leonardo to a professional at the National Institute for Rural and Indigenous Development (ANIDE), Francisca Vera, dated August 31st where he was undergoing medical therapy. After which, Francisca accompanied Leonardo in his journey to Curaco with all his belongings.
State of Health
The state of health of the young Mapuche is delicate, since he drags the consequence of a Police attack, leaving him with over 140 pellet bullets in his left leg, which still remain there, and injuries from a gunshot wound, leaving him disabled.
According to a medical report by Doctor Luis Umaña Rosales, of the Commission of Hunman Rights of the Medical College of Chile, who has visited him on two occasions this week “Leonardo has lost approximately 10 kg of weight, is conscious, hydrated, but with his spirits low, many aches and dizziness persist, insomnia and changes in sleep rhythm, on top of frequent palpitations.”
Rosales added “The hunger strike has maintained him at the border of a serious blood pressure imbalance due to his fragile physical state, especially considering his history of Cardiac Arrest during the previous hunger strike in Temuco Prison, where together with other Mapuche Political Prisoners, solicited a prison transfer in order to be closer to their family, just a few weeks ago.”
“From a medical and ethical point of view, according to the Malta Accord over the rights of political prisoners on hunger strike, signed by the Medical College of Chile, it is urgent that there be a prompt legal solution. That is why I will continue looking over his rights and accusing this serious irregularity,” stated Rosales.
Paìs Mapuche/Andrea Figueroa
Distributed by: The Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu [Toronto]