Source: Radio Bio-Bio
February 28th, 2014
This Friday, the Criminal Court of Temuco sentenced Mapuche Medicine Healer [Machi], Celestino Cordova, to 18 years in maximum security prison, for his alleged involvement in the arson that killed the Luchsinger-Mackay couple in Vilcun last year.
“Celestino Cordova is convicted by a majority of votes to an 18 year sentence at a maximum security facility, and the absolute prohibition in assuming public office, for having been considered the author of arson resulting in death,” declared the 120 page sentence.
The conviction was carried out under strict police surveillance in and around the courthouse, rejecting the petitions made by the Prosecution, who was asking life in prison (40 years), without any right to benefits for the severity of the charges.
Previously, Defense attorney Karina Riquelme announced they would resort to annul the trial, since Medicine Healer [Machi] Celestino Cordova was convicted for being a participant in the incident and not the author.
This past January 20th, Chilean Justice had accredited the participation of Celestine in the events that occurred on the mourning of January 4th, 2013, at the Granja Lumahue Estate, where [estate owners] Werner Luchsinger and his wife Vivianne Mackay were killed in an arson.
CONVICTED IN AGGRAVATION
At the end of the hearing, the Regional Prosecution of the Attorney General, Cristian Paredes, commented that they will completely re-examine the sentence and decide on further actions. Nonetheless, he estimated that at least Cordova had received a minimum conviction for the seriousness of the crime.
“The conviction has been set to an 18 years sentence, without the possibility of opting for alternative benefits; therefore we believe that this is minimally representative of the severity of the crimes caused to the victims. We need to review the reasons for the sentencing. There have only been some small references made in regards to aggravated nature of the charges… And therefore will have to review the content in order to decide if we will recur to annulling the trial as a whole [to ask for life imprisonment].”
Meanwhile, Attorney Carlos Tenorio, who represented the Luchsinger-Mackay family in the trial, assured that the “trial was highly complex in arguing for arson resulting in death is not easy; particularly in this region.”
“By virtue of the fact that we argue there is Terrorism in the Araucanía (which is important to note), we must read the sentence with careful attention, since we only had a small minority vote in our favour. What satisfies us is that there is someone responsible and will fulfill his sentence,“ he added.
Finally, Attorney Pablo Ortega, who defended the ancestral Mapuche authority of Lof Lleupeko, stated that Celestino “is calm. He has actually pointed out to his family, his People, and his Communities that he is prepared and in good spirits. He and his Defense are hopeful in the petitions that will be recurred to when the time comes, and we will obtain the absolute annulment of the trial as stated by the Defense.
Distributed by: The Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu [Toronto]