On 5 May 2018, the Criminal Court of Temuco acquitted Machi Francisca Linconao and eight Mapuche men of all charges relating 2013 deaths of the Luchsinger-Mackay couple. However, three other Mapuche community members who faced charges in this case, José Peralino Huinca, José Tralcal Coche and Luis Trancal Quidel, were convicted under Chile’s Anti-Terrorist Act. Machi Francisca Linconao and all co-accused in the case always maintained their innocence in the case.
On 4 January 2013, woman human rights defender and spiritual leader of the Mapuche people, Machi Francisca Linconao, was arrested in connection with the deaths of Werner Luchsinger and Vivian Mackay. The home in which Luchsinger and Mackay lived had been set alight before dawn on 4 January 2013 by demonstrators commemorating the fifth anniversary of the death of activist Matias Catrileo, a 22-year old Mapuche youth who was killed by the Chilean armed forces while participating in a peaceful demonstration in 2008. While state prosecution and mass media determined the incidents as a terrorist act by Mapuche communities, the responsibility of those who committed said action has remained unclear.
Although the Oral Criminal Court of Temuco acquitted Machi Francisca Linconao on 18 October 2017, the Appeals’ Court of Temuco overturned this decision on 29 December 2017, ordering the Criminal Court of Temuco to reopen the case. Machi Francisca Linconao and ten Mapuche men then faced charges of terrorism and murder under Article 474 of Chile’s Criminal Code and Articles 1 and 2.1 of Anti-Terrorist Act No. 18.314 for a second time.
The Chilean Anti-Terrorist Act has been used to criminalise Mapuche community members consistently since it was first applied to Mapuche land claims protest since 2001. In an embarasing international court decision, Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) court decision condemned the Chilean State for issuing sentences based on anti-terrorism legislation against certain Mapuche people, in the case of Norin Catriman et al v. the State of Chile in 2014. These sentences were said to have violated the principle of legality and their right to the presumption of innocence. The IACtHR also held that the sentences were based on stereotypes and prejudices, in violation of the principles of equality and non-discrimination.
While we celebratethe acquittal of our Machi Francisca Linconao, we extend our solidarity and Newen to Mapuche community members who remain behind bars for resisting the ongoing encroachment of the Chilean state and its corporate interests in Wallmapu.
Free All Mapuche Political Prisoners!
Stop the criminalization of our Mapuche communities in resistance!
With files from Frontline Defenders
The Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu